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Would it be in society's best interest if citizens with a less-than-average IQ were restricted from voting?

Asked by: krantz
  • In the spirit of the question, yes.

    Determining voting ability based on IQ wouldn't be appropriate, since that merely measures potential, not actual knowledge. However, I completely support the idea of qualification tests to prove you have reasonable knowledge of the system & platforms before voting. I believe that an educated voter pool would improve results of voting. We don't need mindless party-line voters, race- and gender-based voters, or popularity voters.

  • Yes it would.

    After browsing around the opinion's and debates on this site for a couple day's, I am reminded why a country like ours can come to the conclusion that we should create a law that says we can't burn a flag, that limiting "semi-auto" firearms would somehow reduce the number of gun deaths in America or that someone shouldn't be able to choose to take drugs or end their own lives for that matter. I mean, I don't think someone should have to have pass the bar exam, but should at least the comprehensive ability to understand what freedom is if they are going to have anything to do with creating legislature. The only argument I have ever heard that would even come close to enough to build an argument on, is that sometimes individual freedom's need to be forfeited for "society's best interest". It is why I have chosen to word the question above in the manner I did.

  • Yes obviously it would.

    There are just some stupid people out there. Sure education in schools has advanced so much, but it doesn't take much for people to graduate. As soon as most people graduate they forget everything! Why should have people be like 'imma vote for obama cuz hes black' it's stupid, they should vote for who would be the best leader for our country and if some people aren't smart enough to have a certain IQ they should not be allowed to choose the person who represents our country for the next 4+ years.

  • This is a good, but controversial idea.

    This would probably never get passed in America, but it would be incredibly beneficial. People with greater intelligence tend to make better choices. Even the United States military has a cutoff of 90 for entrance, that's not for deciding who is going into office - it is merely a cutoff for grunt work.

  • Mindless people ruining other lives

    If people who are mindless are voting for parties they don't even understand what they want to do ruin the lives of the citizens around them them by all means they should be stopped. A general test should be introduced to earn a vote rather tan a free handout. This would whittle the voters down to those who can choose for their own good and rid of those who don't even know if the party is benefiting them let alone the rest of the country.

  • No, it wouldn't.

    Just because some people may not have the highest IQ does not mean they do not deserve the chance to help make a change in how we run our country. As long as they live here they have every right to make a say in how things are done. It would be unfair and cruel to make an IQ limit on voting.

  • No it would not.

    Three issues: The inaccuracy of IQ tests, problems with implementation and the civil unrest due to disenfranchisement.

    IQ tests can be useful when used for general purposes. They are not able to accurately measure a person's ability to reason, their ability to place discrete packets of information into a coherent framework, nor their ability to make decisions without emotion or prejudice. It is even less useful when trying to zero in on a person's ability to make intelligent choices in the electoral process (what to focus on and what's more important? A person's grasp of geography, history, constitutional law, et cetera). Finally, IQ tests do not measure accurately across cultural, racial, ethnic and religious lines.

    The costs of implementing such a program would be whopping, requiring a new branch of government. And if we were to implement a program that is supposed to be marginally more progressive the say, the voter testing in Mississippi, 1960, then we would have to have a lengthy and involved appeal process.

    But let's say all of that can be fixed and the costs are willingly shouldered. A policy of such would remove 50% of the adult, non-criminal population from the voting roles. History has benignly granted us numerous examples of instances where large segments of the population have been excluded from the voting roles: The property qualifications upto the mid 19th century. The exclusion of blacks, of women. All of such ended up in struggle and they did not tear the country part only because they were eventually resolved by granting the vote. Remember, those disenfranchised under the IQ test scheme might be, by the goals of the test, the least able to understand a policy and the least willing to accept such.

  • Substitute "average IQ" with "average political IQ"

    Some people have more specialized knowledge (and deficits) than others. Should someone with a 120 IQ who out of lack of interest doesn't know anything about public policy at all get to vote while a person with an IQ of 80 who is an idiot savant who specializes in understanding public policy not get one? We should base the ability to vote not on general intelligence but political intelligence also known as political literacy. Politically illiterate people shouldn't get to vote. To prevent racism or discrimination stemming from this political literacy courses should be offered to the public at large for free and there should even be courses taught in different dialects such as Ebonics since we're not testing their language IQ we're testing their politics IQ.


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suttichart.denpruektham says2013-04-03T11:06:20.913
I guest that is really depended upon your definition of "less than average" and "restriction". If by saying "less than average" means mental disability I would certainly agree with you but if that's simply mean he is an idiot, then no. Voting is a right and a representation of my ownership of the country, even if I am an idiot that doesn't change the fact that part of this country is mined and I can decide what to do with it.

Even if I am a mentally disabled person, I would still need to place my decision making process to some of my guardian to vote on my behave. That's also why the "restriction" come in to concern. If "restriction" mean absolutely barred from political decision, my answer is still no, but if the vote is still have to be carried on via proxy, then that's is acceptable.
MasturDbtor says2013-04-03T16:46:02.130
So even if you are easily swayed by arguments from demagogues to create a tyranny you should get to vote?
Democracy is so sacred that we ought to have it even if the practical result were the end of liberty?
I see democracy as good but as a contingent good, it is good contingent upon the good results it tends to produce compared to dictatorships. However, it's not an end in and of itself. I rather live under a benevolent dictator than mob rule. If limiting the franchise to the politically informed were possible I'd support it. And your suggestion that all mentally disabled people have to transfer their vote to a guardian makes no sense. I have ADD and Asperger's but I'm going for a poli sci degree, you think I should have to transfer my vote? That's why we shouldn't be basing it on any kind of disability, we should not even be basing it on general IQ, we should base it strictly on political literacy which for most people is an adjustable thing. LEARN! Be informed! Why do people who know they aren't informed even bother to vote? That's not responsible, because you know you'll base your vote on unsound reasons which will ultimately give more power to propaganda than reason.
And please remember the term "mental disability" does NOT just refer to people with IQs of 50 who have to spend their entire lives in adult homes and people would do very well to STOP using the word that way. When you say things like that it makes it sound like you want to, regardless of a person's IQ(Mine is 140) or ability to function require anyone who has any kind of mental disability to automatically have to transfer their vote to a guardian. Please in the future when you speak of "mental disability" in this sense qualify it with "severe" affixed before the word unless you truly are suggesting that we do something that absurd. Then maybe you should see a doctor and get diagnosed with your own mental disability, because that's just crazy.
krantz says2013-04-03T23:24:20.557
I think everyone has misunderstood the question that was asked. I am asking, "Would society be better off...?". I am not asking whether or not we have the right to do it, I just want to know if people think the country would be better off or not. I'm not even asking whether or not you agree IQ testing is the most effective method of determining a voter's "voting competency". I simply want to know, if only the people with an IQ over 100 voted, would the country be better off?
suttichart.denpruektham says2013-04-05T10:44:06.583
Ok, it seem I've got you wrong. If your question is whether the society would be better off as a direct result of intelligent voter then. Well, my answer will simply be unknown. It is depend on how many percentage of your society is composed of lower intelligent people. I would agree that the resources will be better managed and there may be an increases in public order. However, there is no guarantee that it will be fairly distributed (especially to the lower IQ). Economy will be better off I am sure, but if your subject is society then there is more to be concerned.
suttichart.denpruektham says2013-04-05T10:51:42.200
And thanks MasturDbtor for your comment. I originally thought of mental disability to be kind of people who thought function has not been working properly. I know some of my friend from Bangladesh whose his 20 years old son is in a state of seriously underdeveloped mental faculty, he is unable to communicate using language and generally acting like an infant (can't even walk with 2 legs). Some of my council also have a some sort of mental problem where he can be extremely short temper and rely on medicine to make proper judgement. When I refer to mental disability I normally think of case such as this, which obviously not related to any kind of IQ scoring.