Who gets to vote for officers of a club? Club members, of course. Who gets to vote for corporate executives? Stockholders, of course. Who gets to vote for the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus? Member of the caucus, of course.
You get the point, only those participants with “skin in the game” are allowed to choose their leadership. They are participating in the operation of the group and are thereby qualified to select the leaders of their group.
National elections are a bit different, in that every citizen has skin in that game. So why do so many citizens choose to reject that opportunity to have an impact on who governs the country? Too many of our citizens are passive when it comes to their vote. By their apathy, they give up their standing as a participating citizen by either choosing not to vote or by voting for a candidate based on spurious reasons, e.g., a familiar name or because he or she “looks nice.”
Let’s look at these two groups. The first are the ones who don’t bother to vote at all. In my view, they’ve relinquished their right to vote in the next election by their inaction. They’ve been begged and pleaded with to vote countless times leading up to an election, and yet they still don’t vote. Why not apply a “use it or lose it” rule to voting?
The second variety is infinitely worse than the first group of nonvoters. These are the people who do vote but know little or nothing about the candidates except perhaps that one is the incumbent or that he/she has a familiar name. That uninformed vote can cancel out an informed vote – yours or mine.
Why then, do we allow the leadership of our country, responsible for the well-being of over 326 million citizens, to be affected by the votes of uninformed people?
I know that some will say that the right to vote is precious and everyone has a voice in the selection of our leadership, and that’s all true, but where is the fairness of having your studied and informed decision cancelled by a crackhead or a criminal who might just as well pick someone because of the number of vowels in their name or their skin color? That defies logic.
Our vote is precious because it gives each citizen the right to have a say about who is chosen to govern the country. What happens when we don’t take care of our precious things? We’re subject to losing them. And so it should be with our precious vote.
I wonder how many votes were cast for Hillary Clinton simply because her name was “Clinton” and for no other reason. I wonder how many votes she would have received if her name has been Hillary Schwartz? Ms. Schwartz could have had the same qualifications, the same achievements, the same education, etc. but instead of Clinton, her name was Schwartz.
I’d venture to guess that millions of votes cast for Hillary Clinton would not have been cast for Hillary Schwartz.
We profess that we’re all equal in the eyes of the law and that we value liberty and justice for all. If we run afoul of the law, we’ll expect to be tried by a jury of our peers. We are all bound by the laws and mandates that are enacted by our national leadership – we’re all in it (the U.S.) together.
And, we should be expected to devote at least a de minimis effort to cast a ballot intelligently. Is it wrong to expect that some level of consideration is given to the selection of leaders whose decisions and actions will affect us all?
What company do you know who lets cleaning staff or entry level clerks select new department managers, much less the company’s top executives? Letting uninformed (and likely disinterested) individuals elect our leadership is no less ridiculous.
I know it goes against our “one man, one vote” concept, but I really believe that idea is obsolete and the time has come for us to upgrade our national elections. Shouldn’t we, the citizens, desire the best possible people to manage the country’s operations on our behalf?
We should require some level of participation in the activities that are part of our country’s operations and that should start with paying taxes. An analysis of a tax return could easily identify any one of a number of triggers that might be present, any one of which would result in the individual being issued a voter authorization. I’d expect that the IRS could administer this part of the qualification process with only minimal software modifications.
Owning assets would be a trigger. This could apply to real estate or investments. Cash in a savings account, ownership of stocks or bonds, 401k, etc. would qualify. In real estate, a tiny cabin or a massive estate would qualify – there would be no difference in voting rights.
Owning a business might be another. Note that there would be no difference in the voting rights of a real estate mogul and a taco cart vendor, just that the individual is engaged in the commerce of the country. Getting a business license could trigger the issuance of a voter authorization.
Our military, both active and veterans are all automatically qualified by virtue of the sacrifices they’ve made on behalf of the entire citizenry.
Voting itself would guarantee a vote authorization for the next election. A vote in one election would automatically qualify one to vote in the next election. Not voting in one would remove the automatic qualification for the next election although one of the other criteria could still trigger an authorization.
In the absence of other triggers, taking (and passing) a citizenship exam could qualify someone for a voter authorization. A homeless bag lady could qualify by passing her citizenship exam.
Obviously, those wouldn’t be the only criteria; they’re merely examples of qualifying criteria that could cause the issuance of an authorization to vote certificate.
We could exchange an authorization to vote certificate for a chip-embedded card (with picture) that would be a real voter ID card. The card would be good until canceled (for cause) or until a non-vote without an override of other criteria would deactivate the card. Of course, the card would contain a computer-generated passcode encrypted at the time of issuance and paired with a matching passcode stored in the state’s electronic voter records for that individual.
And then we require that voter ID card in order to vote.
This is just a starting point, I know that there will be holes in the system, but that’s what peer review is for – to look for problems and find solutions.
I also know that a plan like this doesn’t have a chance of becoming law. The democrats would cry “foul” and rant on about everyone’s right to vote – only because they are the recipients of the mindless voter’s votes. An informed electorate won’t vote democrat. Unfortunately, informed voters don’t have a choice, we’re almost required to vote Republican, regardless of the ineptitude of the G.O.P.
This essay is simply fleshing out some of the thoughts I’ve had just following an election. I understand that those with a different perspective have just as much right to vote as do I, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s those brain-dead idiots who vote for a candidate not knowing what he or she stands for or how they might govern that gripes me. I’d just like for the country’s leadership to be elected by an informed electorate of those who participate in the economy and commerce of the nation. What’s wrong with that?