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Ted Rall calls for literacy tests

His reasoning for doing so seems to be that Bush is winning, and he's convinced that keeping stupid people at home on election day would somehow stop that.

In the Old South, literacy tests were used to disenfranchise blacks. Alternatively, a basic political literacy test should be used to ensure that anyone who picks ESPN over CNN--regardless of race or creed--stays home on Election Day. Prospective voters should be required to answer at least three of the following questions correctly; to give people a fair shot, the test should be published in newspapers a week before an election:

1. Who is the vice president?

2. What is your state capital?

3. Name one of the following: your governor, congressman or one senator.

4. What is the capital of the United States?

5. Name one federal cabinet-level department.

Obviously, I question Rall's motives, but the example questions he poses here are perfectly reasonable. Anyone who's ever heard Sean Hannity's "man on the street" segment is likely horrified at a) how many people have no idea who the vice president is, and b) how many of those people vote. It's frustrating to spend four years informing yourself on the issues only to have your vote cancelled out by a moron.

This is a sensitive topic. It reeks of elitism and brings back bad memories of Jim Crow discrimination in the South. Still, I'm not so certain it's a bad idea, although I'm reluctant to say so in politically mixed company.

But remember the saying, "only Nixon can go to China?" Well, maybe only the Left can break the taboo on discussing literacy tests. If Bush wins reelection, there's an excellent chance that a lot of liberals may come to agree with Rall on this one. I guess I'm not 100% sure such tests are a good idea, but I think it's a debate that's at least worth having.


Ted Rall is dumber than some of the people he cites. Literacy tests are just plain wrong for a whole host of ethical and practical reasons.

Seriously, the design of the questions is so open to manipulation that either the questions have to be known in advance, which then means the answers could be typed out on cards that the voters could then take into the voting booth, or else it could be open to wide scale abuse as the party in power would try to come up with questions that would stump the voters on the other side.

And would everyone get the same questions?

"Damn. Barry just had to know the state capital, while I had to name the 18th to the 23rd Presidents in order!"

What I said about stop reading polls? That goes triple for Ted Rall. I had no idea you were such a masochist...

yo dude..........this stuff is wac!!!!!!!!they really did this junk to blacks? why man why they harm ma brothers.........

why man why they harm ma brothers.........

man im black and im gutted to know ma brothers faced this kind of sick racial hatred. im glad i live in this sociuety.......

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