There is no constitutionally guaranteed right to vote... period!
Friday, November 4, 2016
There is very little in life more frustrating than having your well-informed vote canceled out by someone who cast his or her ballot carelessly.
Trust me... I have been on the receiving end of such whimsical voting.
In 2008, I ran for the U.S House of Representatives in New Jersey's 1st Congressional District. Having decisively won the Republican primary, I was up against a nine-term Democrat incumbent with a massive war chest. He also enjoyed a lopsided edge in the voter registration rolls, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by almost 3-to-1.
I soon discovered why a Republican candidate hadn't been elected to represent that district since 1972. Basically, voters cast their ballot for a party, not a person. And so, even though I outworked, out hustled and even out-maneuvered my opponent, he rode his party's popularity - and the Obama tsunami - to a landslide victory.
One voter in particular epitomized my opponent's base. He didn't speak or understand English, and admittedly didn't know who was running or what they stood for. But he was determined to cast a ballot for my opponent - and the rest of the Democrat ticket - because he was told (maybe even paid) to do so. At least that's what he confessed to one of my campaign volunteers... in Spanish.
Fast forward to 2012. I was serving as a poll worker in Sebastian and this time, the uninformed voter was a white woman in her early 30's. But the scenario was eerily similar as she openly informed everyone at the polling place that she had no idea for whom or for what she was voting.
"I just thought I should vote," she proudly declared. Sworn to be impartial, I let out a silent scream ... and then processed her ballot.
So what is the answer? Bush vs. Gore, that's what.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the "right" to vote isn't a constitutionally guaranteed right after all. On the contrary, it is a privilege and as such, it is subject to regulation by the states providing those restrictions do not violate the 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th or 26th Amendments. In other words, as long as states do not discriminate based on gender, race, age (18 or older) or economic status, they are free to impose other restrictions.
Such as requiring a basic civics test.
No one reading this post can walk into a motor vehicle office and demand a first-time driver's license the day he or she becomes age-qualified. Every state in the union requires an individual to pass a written test demonstrating a working knowledge of the "rules of the road" as well as a behind-the-wheel test. Simply put, before you are permitted to operate a motor vehicle, the states want to make sure you can do so competently.
So why not require a prospective voter to demonstrate a similar proficiency in U.S. History and Civics before casting a vote... and influencing elections?
Nothing that requires a PhD in Public Administration, mind you. Just a few basic questions that are rotated to protect against cheating.
Name the three branches of the federal government. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence and from what country did America win its independence? Who was known as the Father of the Constitution? How many amendments are there in the Bill of Rights (and name one of them)? What are the two houses of congress called?
I trust that you responded to all of those questions correctly. If not, email me privately and I'll give you the answers... just in case my call for a national civics test is passed before the next election.