Thursday, January 11, 2007

Help me

If elections in America are to be free and fair, where does the government draw the line for those not allowed vote? Mainly I'm thinking about people with really low IQ's or severe mental retardation. Is someone with severe Down Syndrome or other form of severe mental handicap restricted from voting? If so, why? And where is the line drawn for those that can vote and those that cannot?

1 comment:

Dave-o-ramA said...

Well, the constitution prohibits barring voters based on race, sex, and age, and prohibits the requirement of a specific tax on voters.

The Voting Rights Act also establishes a number of prohibitions on voting restrictions, including literacy, 'citizenship tests' etc.

My guess is that the value of eliminating severely retarded voters cannot outweigh the problems of determining whether a person is or is not mentally handicapped at the polling station. Especially, how do you distinguish between severe physical handicap (for example, Steven Hawking) and severe mental handicap.

It's better to leave voting as free as possible and accept that some uninformed votes will be cast, than to establish rules that may accidentally disenfranchise voters who should be qualified.