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October 24, 2012 Click here to mail this page to a friend.
Ignoring Clint Eastwood's advice in "Dirty Harry" that opinions, like certain body parts, are best kept to yourself.
Should Everyone Vote?

A quick Google search of ''nursing home'' + ''voter fraud'' will give you hundreds of situations where elderly people voted in elections, and most were unaware they had done so.We've all become used to the idea that everyone should be able to vote, a God-given right in our country. But, is that really accurate or right?

The 15th Amendment, prohibiting each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" (for example, slavery), was not passed until 1870.

The 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote was defeated in Congress several times, until it was finally passed in 1920, making it the law of the land.

The 26th Amendment, adopted in response to student activism against the Vietnam War, barred the states or federal government from setting a voting age higher than eighteen. If you were old enough to go to Vietnam and die for your country, you should be allowed to vote. But, of course, you are not old enough to buy beer.

In 1948, Lyndon Johnson became a Senator when 202 people lined-up in alphabetical order in Alice, Texas and voted.  And, they all owned fountain pens with green ink. Requiring voters to have identification is a current hot issue in several states. Those for it say you can't cash a welfare check or get on an airplane without identification, so polling places aren't out of line to ask for it. Those against having to show proof of who you are say this discriminates against the poor and elderly. Well, banks and TSA agents at the airport must also be discriminating against this group of people, and most of us would agree they should.

What about Felons? Nearly 6 million U.S. citizens with a felony conviction are prevented from voting, a condition known as disenfranchisement. Proponents of felon re-enfranchisement, including me, say that once the felon's debt to society has been paid, as they say, voting rights should be restored. This group says disenfranchisement is undemocratic, unfair, and politically or racially motivated.

Those for keeping the vote from felons seem to feel that these people have shown poor judgement and cannot be trusted to vote. Maybe they're still mad about the crimes that were committed. But, if exercising poor judgement in the past is a reason to refuse voting rights, nobody would be showing up at the polls.

So, other than convicted felons being wrongly refused, or people without identification in some States, it seems that all U.S. citizens over the age of 18, who can make it to the polls or fill-out an absentee ballot, can vote. But is this right? Shouldn't there be some requirement of knowledge on the issues or candidates, no matter how small, or some glimmer of knowing what is going on around you?

Even the Catholic Church only allows Cardinals under the age of 80 to vote for the next Pope. But, somehow we think it is ok to wheel gramma to the polling place, telling her on the way which candidates to vote for, or for friendly volunteers to help nursing home residents, many of whom cannot even recognize family members, fill out absentee ballots.

What do you think?


Global Air Aviation Referral Service


I welcome responses, and will be glad to post them here. Email your remarks to ron@global-air.com
This skirts the real issue in the current voter ID campaign, which obviously targets those who would more likely vote Democratic. You're trying to sound so reasonable but don't address the issue. Jeanette - Avon, MN

A good editorial but you did not go far enough. If the deadbeats continue to have the vote, they will make us all deadbeats. Libs continue to buy votes by catering to the non-produceers. I'm for limiting the vote to property owners like the founding fathers suggested. Dave - Lake Placid, FL
Interesting article. I think we should allow people to vote if they want to vote, but we should not force people to vote. If grandma wants to vote, she should be allowed to. Just because someone is old, and a little bit slower, doesn't mean they have lost their ability to reason. Sarah - St. Paul, MN
Thank you for the interesting question. I lack the motivation and brainpower to consider each example on its merits, although I suspect this is exactly what legislatures should do through reasonable discussions. I am including a link to a separate but related question, on whether it is even rational for anybody to vote. The writer's conclusion is that it is a rational activity (countering another writer, whom you can also read), and there's the argument that voting "is the only tangible way, apart from jury duty, that Americans connect directly to the political process of their polity." This could be positively beneficial and restorative to an ex-felon, or even current felon.

Given the stakes, however, I might support a basic evaluation of a person's sanity & sobriety before letting him or her into the voting booth. The thought of the nurse's senile patient cancelling out my vote rankles me a bit. It cheapens the hard-won democratic process, in my opinion, when people mark their ballots willy-nilly.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/10/presidential-election-0?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/irrationaltovote
Cheers, Eric - Germany

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