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Dormin111

Proper Restrictions on Voting

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In a proper state, what are the valid restrictions on voting?

I think the topic is generally considered archaic today in the West with such wide suffrage, but perhaps voting restrictions hold the key to staving off potential "public choice" problems. Off the top of my head, a few potential criteria include:

- Age

- Mental Health

- Criminal or ex-criminal status

- Wealth

- Education

- Knowlege (ie. civic tests)

- Citizenship/residency

- Civic participation (taxes or membership in state functions)

I honestly have not thought too deeply about the topic, but I have a few ideas. There should be a minimum age requirement and residency for a certain time period. Criminals of a certain degree should be prohibited from voting (would have to think more about specifics). I would like to see some for of simple civics test. I might also consider voting power being tied to wealth in some capacity.

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I've often thought there should be voting qualifications, most of the things on your list have been the types of things I would like to see included, along with perhaps landed property ownership.

But in a true constitutional republic would universal sufferage be potentially harmful to continued protection of individual rights?, which I assume is the need to qualify voting rights.

Edited by tadmjones

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Wealth and education are irrelevant. As far as knowledge, it would have to be some very basic, factual and relevant knowledge (of the Constitution, and perhaps some basic knowledge of history). The other ones are all perfectly sensible restrictions. They should all be applied, especially the one about contributions (though not "taxes", because taxes are forced not voluntary).

People who don't contribute to the functioning of the government in any way should most definitely not get to vote.

P.S. The US founders were right that a representative government is in fact a right. But that doesn't mean you have the right to have a government provided for you. It means people have the right to form their own government.

In other words, you have the right to contribute your fair share to your government, and then have a say in its leadership. You don't have the right to not contribute and have a say anyway.

Today's concrete bound approach to Politics turned the principle of self-determination (the right to participate in one's government) into the "right to vote". That is very much representative of the general dumbing down of American politics.

Edited by Nicky

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I think that only property owners have rightfully earned the privelege of voting.

In better and older times being a freeholder has a condition for having the vote. A property owner has a horse in the race and a dawg in the hunt. He is less likely to want to loot the treasury of the commonwealth.

ruveyn1

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I think that only property owners have rightfully earned the privelege of voting.

Couldn't we have a poll tax instead? I don't want taxes at all in the government, so maybe a good way to fund the government is a yearly voting fee of sorts.

I don't see how any of these ideas could ever be implimented though. Too many people would oppose them.

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Couldn't we have a poll tax instead? I don't want taxes at all in the government, so maybe a good way to fund the government is a yearly voting fee of sorts.

I don't see how any of these ideas could ever be implimented though. Too many people would oppose them.

Including me. A poll tax is an invitation for the government to extort you in return for having the right to vote.

The few taxes the better off we are.

ruveyn1

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Including me. A poll tax is an invitation for the government to extort you in return for having the right to vote.

What if the government set the poll tax so high only the very rich could vote? Then you would have a nice sweetheart deal between the government and the very rich which would screw the middle class thoroughly.

The few taxes the better off we are.

ruveyn1

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In better and older times being a freeholder has a condition for having the vote. A property owner has a horse in the race and a dawg in the hunt. He is less likely to want to loot the treasury of the commonwealth.

ruveyn1

Yes. Property owner voting prevents this:

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury."

--Alexander Fraser Tyler

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Yes. Property owner voting prevents this:

What type of property? Would a jumbo jet qualify? Is only real property acceptable? Some non-real property is more valuable than most people's homes, and generates more wealth to boot.

A poll tax of $2 million ought to limit things, but would it be reasonable? Where is the cut-off. If there is no objective cut-off, then the poll tax rate is not objective.

Okay, so surely crazy people shouldn't vote. But what if we have a regime that defines anyone who doesn't provide community service to be insane, or some such criterion? In the Soviet Union, you could be committed for opposing the regime.

I think that the only objective criterion is citizenship, though I would oppose minors having the vote, and that is not an objective criterion.

If you have non-citizens voting, why not ship millions of Mexicans north every election cycle and have them elect whomever they wish. Wait, we don't need to ship them north. They are already here by the millions. They have been in residence for a long time. They haven't sworn to follow the constitution or allegiance to the country, but hey, they ought to vote, right? Lol! Sorry, without an oath of citizenship, there should be no vote.

The vote isn't really the problem. The problem is that the constitution is not followed, especially concerning the 10th amendment. In addition, there is no requirement in the constitution that laws be so constructed as to constrain the government to follow the rule of law. Obama care does not follow the rule of law. Most governmental regulations do not follow the rule of law. We are no longer governed by law but by bureaucrats. In addition, congress can pass laws that benefit the few, violating the principle of the rule of law. As long as special interests can line the pockets of those in power, and as long as the politicians can pass laws benefitting those contributors at the expense of everyone else, the government will continue to swell to unsustainable proportions. Take the money out of Washington and there will be no need to worry about corruption or the people voting themselves the treasury. We would still need to deal with the bit about the rule of law, however.

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I think that only property owners have rightfully earned the privelege of voting.

That would be everyone. Even the homeless guy on the corner owns property. Except the naked one, I guess he might not. Oh wait, he has a cigarette in his mouth. And it looks like it's his cigarette, I don't think anyone would ask a naked homeless guy to hold their cigarette for them.

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Why would someone who owns a shack in Mississippi get a vote, while a business executive who rents in Manhattan doesn't?

Because he's a land owner. Even a shack entails the responsibilitites of property ownership. Any decent prosperous business executive who rents in Manhattan owns at least one vacation home. If he doesn't, he's either new to business and will own property, or he's no good at business and shouldn't vote.

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Because he's a land owner. Even a shack entails the responsibilitites of property ownership. Any decent prosperous business executive who rents in Manhattan owns at least one vacation home. If he doesn't, he's either new to business and will own property, or he's no good at business and shouldn't vote.

Yeah cause that's objective...

Now certainly we can appreciate the intent here, which is to foster a better political structure with incentives to tend towards the protection of individual rights. But any such proposals have to be constrained by individual rights themselves. I don't think any of the foregoing suggestions would pass that test. There seems to me only one restriction on voting that could be proper, and that is that no one can vote for anything that violates rights. But this would mean the end to majority rule, since no one would be able to force anyone to abide by results where no prior contractual agreement existed.

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Any decent prosperous business executive who rents in Manhattan owns at least one vacation home. If he doesn't, he's either new to business and will own property, or he's no good at business and shouldn't vote.
When you stretch an argument, saying something absurd to try to bolster your point, you show yourself as lacking in credibility and in honesty. If you do not have a fact-based response to something, you should rethink your position. If you really want to stick to your position regardless, you'd do yourself a favor by not responding, instead of becoming a caricature.

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When you stretch an argument, saying something absurd to try to bolster your point, you show yourself as lacking in credibility and in honesty.

I would appreciate it if you would tell me exactly how I am being dishonest, when I'm drawing from decades of my own personal experience in the business world. There is no businessman with whom I deal who does not own property. In fact almost all own both commercial, and residential properties. If you believe that this is a lie, well then there is nothing which can be done about that, this being the virtual world.

If you do not have a fact-based response to something, you should rethink your position.

How is what I said not fact based when it is drawn from my own direct personal real world experience? Is there something you find distasteful about owning property? It seems to be such an odd reaction to a simple statement of opinion of who should vote. There would be a completely different government today if Americans earned the right to vote by working to own property.

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I think that only property owners have rightfully earned the privelege of voting.

What about people who earn every cent their receive and do useful and honest labor? Why shouldn't such people have a vote?

ruveyn1

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What about people who earn every cent their receive and do useful and honest labor? Why shouldn't such people have a vote?

ruveyn1

Ah, those are the Americans who have the best prospects of owning property. If voting was an earned merit, people would vote for a small government that lets them keep what they work to earn...

...but when voting is an unearned entitlement as it is today, the political majority have voted to create a big government which dispenses to them unearned entitlements.

Edited by moralist

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I honestly have not thought too deeply about the topic, but I have a few ideas. There should be a minimum age requirement and residency for a certain time period. Criminals of a certain degree should be prohibited from voting (would have to think more about specifics). I would like to see some for of simple civics test. I might also consider voting power being tied to wealth in some capacity.

Personally, I consider this sort of thing to be locking the barn door after the horse was stolen--too late, and missing the point. Nothing can fix human nature, and ultimately nothing can create or preserve a good culture but a good philosophy. Draconian voting rules will neither help create it nor retard its decay. Politics is a derivative, not a primary, and thus can't be fundamentally manipulated via a top-down enforced approach. There's a reason why "grassroots" is such a big deal--once there is a popular movement about something, attempts to fight it are doomed.

I grant that my personal sphere is pretty small, but from what I've seen in many areas we're living in the lag time between a growing cultural change and the political adoption of that change. (Of course, you could probably say that about any time.) I suspect it's probably also true that there's more than one cultural change going on at a given time and which one will ultimately win cannot be known. But I still think that while the political trend is bad, that doesn't always mean that the cultural trend is equally bad or even the same as the political trend.

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Personally, I consider this sort of thing to be locking the barn door after the horse was stolen--too late, and missing the point. Nothing can fix human nature, and ultimately nothing can create or preserve a good culture but a good philosophy.

Wouldn't you agree though that, if only the people who contributed to the federal government in the past four years were allowed to vote in the 2012 federal elections, tomorrow we'd be inaugurating a different President?

Draconian voting rules will neither help create it nor retard its decay.

Why is it draconian to restrict voting for the leadership of a government to the people who contribute to that government?

I understand why everyone's rights should be protected by a standing government. But why should free riders not only get the benefits of having a government, but get an actual say in who runs that government?

I can't think of a single reason why that should be.

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Personally, I consider this sort of thing to be locking the barn door after the horse was stolen--too late, and missing the point. Nothing can fix human nature, and ultimately nothing can create or preserve a good culture but a good philosophy.

...and good people.

It's generally believed that if the government could be improved by laws regulations and other means, the society would improve. When the truth is that if people refined their own lives, they would improve both society and government. This is because the government is nothing more than the realized demands of the majority.

Edited by moralist

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Why is it draconian to restrict voting for the leadership of a government to the people who contribute to that government?

We all contribute to government, most of us do at gun-point.

The government should serve the citizens who ordained its existence in the first place.

The citizens do not -serve- the government. That would imply the government is their master.

Heaven forfend!

I like what V said in the movie: The citizens should not fear the government. It is the government who should fear the citizens.

And one of these days, Guy Fawkes might just succeed.

ruveyn1

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We all contribute to government

Blatantly false.

The government should serve the citizens who ordained its existence in the first place.

If you expect service without someone paying for it, "ordained" (in the religious sense) is the right choise of words there.

The citizens do not -serve- the government.

No, they contribute to it. Which is the word I used. Too bad you felt the need to change my words before arguing against them.

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