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Twenty-Five Questions You Should be able to Answer…if You Want to Vote

Posted by Digger Cartwright
Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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on Saturday, 28 July 2012
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Twenty-Five Questions You Should be able to Answer…if You Want to Vote

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson considered education to be the foundation of democracy.  Furthermore, he believed that the people should be educated before they should be able to vote.  Simply, only educated people could be responsible enough to self govern in our democracy.  I wholeheartedly believe that each individual who wants to vote should be educated.  An uneducated electorate will ultimately fail to protect the democratic form of government and will fall into dictatorship, despotism, or whatever you want to call it. 

It is one thing to attend school and get a high school diploma.  That doesn’t mean that you’re educated or that you have the intellectual capacity to vote.  I don’t think that a good number of people here in the United States have the intellectual capacity to vote.  Nonetheless, those who have attained the age of 18 years old are allowed to vote

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t expect you to be an Albert Einstein in order to vote.  I do believe, however, that anyone who wants to vote should have both a minimum level of education and a knowledge of American civics before they can vote.  So, if you drop out of high school, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  If you don’t graduate with a minimum grade point average of, let’s say, 2.5, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  However, more important that this, I think that the American voters at large have a deficiency of knowledge in American civics.  How then can these voters be expected to make rational decisions as part of our democracy?  Furthermore, without a certain minimum knowledge of American civics, why should these people be entrusted with a vote that may have an impact on other people?

With voting comes responsibility.  It’s just that simple.  Would you trust your doctor to prescribe medicine to you if he didn’t have medical knowledge?  Would you trust someone to represent you without a law degree or knowledge of the law?  Would you trust a stranger to babysit your child?  I doubt any rational person would answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions.

Therefore, I think that each person should be required to answer five or ten random questions about American civics, American history, etc. before they are allowed to vote.  It’s real simple.  You go in the voting booth, but before the electronic ballot comes up, you get to answer the questions.  (If there’s any place left using paper ballots, we have a real problem!)  If you pass the quiz, you get to vote.  If you don’t pass the quiz, you don’t get to vote.

I’ve come up with a list of twenty-five questions that are representative of the type questions I think each person should be able to answer before they can vote.  Honestly, if you can’t answer ALL of the following twenty-five questions CORRECTLY, I don’t think you should be able to vote.

1.      1.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States?

2.       2.  Who was the first President of the United States?

3.       3.  How many stripes are on the flag of the United States?

4.       4.  How many states are there in the United States?

5.       5.  The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the what?

6.       6.  What year did the American Revolution begin/what year did the American colonies declare their independence from Great Britain?

7.       7.  Who was President of the United States during the Civil War?

8.       8.  What are the three branches of the federal government?

9.       9.  How many senators are there in the United States Senate?

10.   10.  How many voting members are in the United States House of Representatives?

11.   11.  How many justices on the United States Supreme Court?

12.   12.  Who is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives?

13.   13.  Who is the current Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

14.   14.  The First Amendment of the United States Constitution provides for freedom of what?

15.   15.  Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

16.   16.  On what month and day does the United States celebrate declaring its independence from Great Britain?

17.   17.  The USS Arizona was sunk on December 7, 1941 in what state, prompting the United States to enter World War II?

18.   18.  In which state is the Alamo located?

19.   19.  The number of representatives that each state has in the US House of Representatives is based on a state’s what?

20.   20.  Whose picture is on the $20 bill?

21.   21.  Only the United States _____________ has the power to declare war.

22.   22.  Whose signature appears first on the Declaration of Independence?

23.   23.  Who are your state’s current United States Senators?

24.   24.  What is the capital of the United States of America?

25.   25.  What is the capital of your state?

So how did you do with the questions…did you get to vote?  I’m not going to give you the answers here.  If you don’t know the answer to one of the questions, look it up.  You’ll never forget it after that.

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. - FDR







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