TESTING, 1, 2, 3Columnist Doug Patton thinks voters should be able to pass a basic American civics test before being allowed into the voting booth, a rather entertaining idea. Here are the test questions Patton suggests.
1.) Name the three branches of the federal government.
2.) Name the current president and vice president of the United States.
3.) How long have they served?
4.) How long are the president and vice president allowed to serve?
5.) How many members are there in the U.S. House of Representatives?
6.) How are House Members chosen?
7.) How long is their term in office?
8.) How long are they allowed to serve?
9.) Name the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
10.) Which party currently holds the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives?
11.) How many members are there in the U.S. Senate?
12.) How are U.S. Senators normally chosen?
13.) How long is a U.S. Senator's term in office?
14.) How long are they allowed to serve?
15.) Name the current majority leader of the U.S. Senate.
16.) Which party currently holds the majority in the U.S. Senate?
17.) How many individuals currently sit on the United States Supreme Court?
18.) Name three of them.
19.) How are members of the U.S. Supreme Court selected?
20.) How long can Supreme Court Justices serve?
21.) What is an electoral vote?
22.) How many electoral votes are currently required in order to elect the president and vice president?
23.) How is the president selected if he/she fails to receive the required number of electoral votes?
24.) How is the vice president selected if he/she fails to receive the required number of electoral votes?
25.) What is an executive order?
26.) How is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed?
27.) How many constitutional conventions has the United States had?
Here are the answers.
Wow...I didn't do as well as I think I should have done. I wasn't sure just what the heck an executive order was, and I didn't know how the VP was selected (I thought it was the same as for the President - hint: it's not!). The electoral college has always confused me (and I don't think the answer given really answered the question). I could name six members of the Supreme Court (you'd think I could remember Kennedy as that was my mother's maiden name!) And finally, I had no idea how many constitutional conventions have been held.
The rest of my answers were pretty well on point. How did you do?
I don't think a Civics test of some sort would be out of line. After all, we have to pass a test to drive a car, shouldn't we have to prove we know something about our government and the way it works to be able to vote? Maybe just a test of current events? Just to show the potential voter is at least aware of the world around him or her? Perhaps a test just asking who is the President, VP, and who their governor, senators, and House representative are? (Please don't make who the lieutenant governor of Florida is one of the questions!)
On second thought, maybe we should leave well enough alone. There are a lot of people who couldn't pass even such a simple test, and others who wouldn't vote if they had to take the test. Voter turnout is usually pretty poor as it is.
Speaking of which. I've already voted in the Florida primary. I requested, and received, an absentee/early voting ballot. I will be working on election day and requested a ballot for each of the elections for the next two years. I start work before the polls open and, while I could probably make it to the polls to vote, I'm not sure I'd be able to thoughtfully cast my vote. So, since I had that option, I took it. It was very easy to request. Just go to or call your county elections office, or go to the website and follow the prompts.
I'd love to see someway that voting could be done via the Internet, I think there would be a lot of people vote that way, but I see why there is objection to that method. Maybe if someone could come up with a hack-proof program with a paper trail it could gain a following. The person who could write such a program would be hailed a genius and make a ton of money. Not me, I'm not that smart. I'm logical, but programming requires a logic that I don't come close to! I took a programming course in Basic years ago. I doubt most programmers even remember Basic. Compared to the programming languages used today, it was very, well, basic.
And, I've found out (thank goodness for Google! gotta love it!) that Jeff Kottkamp is the Florida Lt. Governor. (Jeff who?)