I am tired of having my well-considered vote neutralized by someone who really should not be voting at all. Why should my ballot be counterbalanced by someone who thinks the Presidency has the most power in our government, who when asked if women’s suffrage should be abolished answers in the affirmative in order to end females in pain, and when questioned takes the third because supposedly they do not want to quarter soldiers in their house.
The Founding Fathers would be aghast at the idea of a universal right to vote. While admittedly mixed in with some racism, the Framers realized that voting cannot and must not be a universal right. The opportunity to vote was initially restricted to land-owners. By 1840 the property requirement had all but disappeared, and by 1964 universal suffrage for all citizens was the law of the land.
I think, though, that we have missed the point of the early restrictions on voting. Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and crew were among the most progressive statesmen of the day, but they also knew that an unlimited Democracy would never work. “Democracy,” opined Franklin, “is four wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” In steering away from a Democracy to a Republic, the writers of the Constitution also wanted to be sure that those who participate in the voting booth have a stake – financial and otherwise – in the outcomes of those polls. Because they wanted to only be left alone and be free, these Americans kept in check the ever Weberian tendency for government to expand and grow beyond what was initially intended.
Keeping these things in mind, I think we need a radical look at exactly whom we let in to create hanging chads. While land-ownership certainly cannot be a requirement today, as many well-qualified voters rent, I think the underlying assumption that came from owning land would still apply. In other words, what if we make voter qualification based on civic responsibility?
Consider, then, R.K. Sample’s four-step guide to voter qualification. All four must be met in order to be allowed entrance into the voting booth:
- A United States Citizen, with a photo id to verify.
- Over the age of 18 and who is not claimed as a dependent on his/her parent’s income tax.
- Employed full-time, is self-employed, or whose spouse is employed full-time or is self-employed, or who is retired after 30 or more years in the workforce or whose spouse is retired after 30 or more years in the workforce.
- If retired, no more than 20% of monthly income is sourced by Social Security.
The outcomes? Those who want to exercise the privilege of voting will need to prove citizenship – taking away from the possibility of foreign influence in our elections. Students – who while working hard to get an education but have no real responsibility – will not be able to cancel out the vote of those whose hard work enables them to be in school. Individual initiative and responsibility through employment will translate into more limited government at the polls because it would be felt directly in the wallets and pocketbooks of taxpayers. Finally, those who rely substantially on the government will not be allowed to influence policy, nor can they be pandered to for a vote to keep the paychecks coming.
So – become a citizen of the greatest country on earth. Grow up. Get a job and take responsibility.
Then go vote.