Poll: Mandatory HSE for people’s right to vote

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Vegosiux:
Because all social groups need to be represented, simple as. So that the people who are unemployed can vote for whoever promises more jobs. So that people without a high school degree can vote for whoever promises a better/more affordable education plan for adults should they decide to continue.

If we have a democracy, we have a democracy. Restricting the right to vote is a slippery slope to jump from and a dangerous precedent to set. We may not like the election results, but that's just the way it is. Besides, in order to make in informed decision you really don't need to do in-depth research.

Yes, I know what a democracy is. (And what we have, at least in America, is not one, it's merely based on democratic values.) It's not unreasonable to suggest we might do something different.

The problem with "representing" those social groups is that any talking head can promise more jobs and more affordable education, but unless you have the knowledge to know whether what he's proposing is even plausible, you might as well being wishing on a star for all you can bet it'll work. Their opinions are important. I think the opinions of children and the severely handicapped are important too, but we still don't let them make decisions for themselves. They aren't fit to.

summerof2010:

The problem with "representing" those social groups is that any talking head can promise more jobs and more affordable education, but unless you have the knowledge to know whether what he's proposing is even plausible, you might as well being wishing on a star for all you can bet it'll work. Their opinions are important. I think the opinions of children and the severely handicapped are important too, but we still don't let them make decisions for themselves. They aren't fit to.

As I said, if you are actually going to vote when you don't have to, I'm inclined to believe you know what you're voting for and why.

And, as I said, less campaigning, more factual debates, that'd help too. It would give that context and scale of plausibility to promises, no?

summerof2010:
Yes, I know what a democracy is. (And what we have, at least in America, is not one, it's merely based on democratic values.) It's not unreasonable to suggest we might do something different.

The problem with "representing" those social groups is that any talking head can promise more jobs and more affordable education, but unless you have the knowledge to know whether what he's proposing is even plausible, you might as well being wishing on a star for all you can bet it'll work. Their opinions are important. I think the opinions of children and the severely handicapped are important too, but we still don't let them make decisions for themselves. They aren't fit to.

Children and severely mentally disabled people aren't allowed to vote, but they are also not (usually) considered responsible enough to stand trial or serve on a jury or sign legal contracts. They lack both the rights and responsibilities of fully-functioning adults. Fully-functioning adult non-high school graduates (or otherwise stupid people or whoever else you want to include) are not excluded from any other government run social institutions. They have the same legal responsibilities as everyone else so they deserve the same rights as everyone else, including being able to vote for the representatives they want to write and change the laws that will govern them.

ten.to.ten:
Hypothetical: let's divide the population into two halves, those who have a high school diploma and those who don't, and those who don't have a high school diploma are barred from voting. What's then stopping the half who do have a high school diploma who now make up 100% of the voting pool voting for higher taxes on non-graduates? Or to conscript non-graduates into fighting a war? Or to de-fund public schools to make it harder for people to graduate from high school in the first place so that their voting powers don't become diluted? The uneducated already lack many of the opportunities that those with more education take for granted and the only result I can see from ripping their voting powers away is permanently entrenching a section of the community into a sub-second class citizen status. In the past it's only after groups like women and racial minorities were allowed to vote that their civil rights and standards of living approached that of what you would expect for yourself.

Also, as has been pointed out, there are a lot of idiots out there who are university graduates and a lot of bright people who never graduated high school. Not to mention that drop-outs, idiots, and yes, even Greens voters, deserve representation in parliament just like anyone else, as long as they follow the principles of democracy and the constitution.

I'll give you a little bit of my own personal story here. I'm a high school drop out, I only have a grade 10 education because of a chronic illness that was undiagnosed at the time, and I've yet been well enough to make it through a year of high school equivalency because of that illness. I also plan to vote Greens at the next federal election, mainly, but not only because, my local Labor MP has already announced that he will vote against marriage equality in parliament and Tony Abbott has already ruled out a conscience vote for the Liberals. Lack of marriage equality continues to cost me and my family thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache that we would not have to go through if I was straight. Tell me why I don't deserve to vote?

What's to stop people from enacting laws legalizing the rape of the mentally handicapped? Or harvesting orphaned children for body tissues and organs? Just because someone doesn't have voting rights doesn't mean they aren't protected under the law.

Your anecdote, however, has moved me. But it doesn't upset the core principals I'm arguing with. I still think that only rationally capable and informed people should be allowed to vote, I just have to work around extraneous circumstances preventing otherwise educated people from completing high school. Maybe I should take my earlier driver's license metaphor further - there could be a voting license, and you just have to take a test to get one. It would be relatively simple, almost anyone could pass it - assuming they are rational adults that have high school equivalent knowledge. There's room for corruption, yes, if the tests are made unfair, but I think that's an issue that could be worked out. I think the bigger issue is that it would kill voter turn out. It's hard enough to get people to vote without prefacing the whole ordeal with a freaking exam. I imagine it would take a certain kind of person to actually take a test to vote, and this could create bias.

I think this can be broken down into at least 3 options:

1. If we leave it as is, silly people get to vote, and this unreasonably biases elections towards handsome, articulate people with a knack for advertising.

2. We can make a HSE a prerequisite to the right to vote, and this excludes some legitimate voters, like yourself.

3. We can contrive some standardized test to determine who gets to vote, though this will reduce voter turn out and possibly create bias in the polls.

None of the options are ideal, but surely one is better than the rest. Personally? I'm still on board with the HSE thing. Your case is unfortunate, but it's still an exception. It's by no means an ideal, but I still think it's better on the whole. Fewer silly people voting to oppress homosexuals and appease their God when there's a war on. Democracy is about putting everyone in charge, but that sort of thing is infeasible on this grand of scale, which is why we don't practice pure democracy anymore. We restrict it, and give disproportionate power to individuals and groups so that we can better organize ourselves and accomplish our shared goals more effectively. That's what I'd hope this sort of change would accomplish - it would make it easier to accomplish our shared goals. It's not perfect, no, but I still think it's a good idea.

Vegosiux:
As I said, if you are actually going to vote when you don't have to, I'm inclined to believe you know what you're voting for and why.

And, as I said, less campaigning, more factual debates, that'd help too. It would give that context and scale of plausibility to promises, no?

That makes sense, and as I understand it there's even research to support that claim. But wouldn't it still be better if the few people who are voting for some reason, despite being glib and uninformed, weren't allowed to intrude on the decisions of more rational people?

The second part is true and I agree, but it's irrelevant to this discussion.

ten.to.ten:
Children and severely mentally disabled people aren't allowed to vote, but they are also not (usually) considered responsible enough to stand trial or serve on a jury or sign legal contracts. They lack both the rights and responsibilities of fully-functioning adults. Fully-functioning adult non-high school graduates (or otherwise stupid people or whoever else you want to include) are not excluded from any other government run social institutions. They have the same legal responsibilities as everyone else so they deserve the same rights as everyone else, including being able to vote for the representatives they want to write and change the laws that will govern them.

I agree, with reservations. Their opinions are important, but you're missing my point. I'll try to illustrate:

Andy is uneducated and unemployed. Bob is also unemployed, but graduated high school. Paul is running for governor. Paul reaches out to the unemployed with sympathetic speeches about his hard childhood, while blaming homosexuals and jews for the woes his future constituents now suffer. Andy is moved, but Bob sees through these shenanigans, realizing that Paul's stories and blame-laying aren't going to improve the job market. Bob places his vote elsewhere. Andy gets his friends to vote for Paul too, and soon Paul is governor. And no one gets any jobs.

Both Andy and Bob want things and deserve to have their voice heard, but Andy is incapable of determining how he should actually vote in order to get those things. It's an issue of practicality. They have a right to get what they want from the government, but they can't do it through voting - they can't see what's best for their own interests, and they usually vote wrong. And then they complain when things don't turn out like they planned.

EDIT: I just realized when I reposed that story I said "Pat" the first time. Woops.

How about you just stop making it mandatory to vote?

Seams simple enough to me.

Not G. Ivingname:
How about you just stop making it mandatory to vote?

Seams simple enough to me.

How about you read the thread or look up the laws of the country in question. There is no law that requires you to vote in Australia.

no, it's a terrible idea, the key behind the voting system is same some behind the legal/judiciary process, i.e: no exceptions or presumptions are made.

Not G. Ivingname:
How about you just stop making it mandatory to vote?

Seams simple enough to me.

but it isn't mandatory to vote, its only mandatory to show up get your name ticked off of the list (and even then its only a $50 fine for not doing that), after that no one no one really cares what you do with your vote.

don't know why people keep saying its mandatory to vote here because it isn't

summerof2010:
That makes sense, and as I understand it there's even research to support that claim. But wouldn't it still be better if the few people who are voting for some reason, despite being glib and uninformed, weren't allowed to intrude on the decisions of more rational people?

no, it wouldn't. just because they are 'glib and uninformed' does not make their opinion any less valid, and it certainly does not warrant shifitng the goalposts as it completely runs counter to the rule of law

besides, by whose standard do you determine whether someone is 'rational' or 'glib and uninformed' as both are highly subjective things?

blind_dead_mcjones:
no, it wouldn't. just because they are 'glib and uninformed' does not make their opinion any less valid, and it certainly does not warrant shifitng the goalposts as it completely runs counter to the rule of law

besides, by whose standard do you determine whether someone is 'rational' or 'glib and uninformed' as both are highly subjective things?

I agree that their opinions are valid, and I don't mean to suggest otherwise. What I'm saying is that some lack the capacity to make decisions which further their goals and work in line with their opinions. I wrote something just a little while ago to illustrate what I'm talking about:

summerof2010:
Andy is uneducated and unemployed. Bob is also unemployed, but graduated high school. Paul is running for governor. Paul reaches out to the unemployed with sympathetic speeches about his hard childhood, while blaming homosexuals and jews for the woes his future constituents now suffer. Andy is moved, but Bob sees through these shenanigans, realizing that Paul's stories and blame-laying aren't going to improve the job market. Bob places his vote elsewhere. Andy gets his friends to vote for Paul too, and soon Paul is governor. And no one gets any jobs.

A little training in critical thinking and economics would make it much less likely that people like Andy would get suckered.

"Rational" vs "glib and uninformed" in this case are not subjective, but in fact normative. There is no precise way to decide that one person is rational and informed while another is not, but there are some who are clearly more so than others. We can't know perfectly who is and who isn't, but we can hedge our bets by forcing people to fulfill a standard of education before we let them vote.

Another thing I wrote earlier to help explain my position was the driver's license metaphor. You don't need a driver's license to be a good driver, and having one doesn't make you a good driver, but anyone would feel more comfortable if the person behind the wheel (knowing nothing else about them) had one rather than not. In the same way, we can't know for sure that someone with a HSE is rational and informed, but we have good reason to think that's likely; someone without a degree is similarly unlikely to be rational and informed.

summerof2010:
What's to stop people from enacting laws legalizing the rape of the mentally handicapped? Or harvesting orphaned children for body tissues and organs? Just because someone doesn't have voting rights doesn't mean they aren't protected under the law.

Other than whatever constitutional restrictions there are, I don't think there is anything stopping people from enacting laws like that. It wasn't that long ago that it was lawful to beat and rape your wife, and it's still legal in a lot of developed countries to beat your children to varying degrees. It's also legal in some developed countries to carry weapons around with you and to kill people with them if you're defending yourself from attack, and in some cases even theft. It's even still legal in some jurisdictions of developed countries to kill a gay man in "self defense" if he propositions you. In a few developed countries it's even legal for the government to execute its own citizens if they've been convicted of a serious enough crime.

Past and present there has been legally sanctioned violence prevelant in our societies. It's always been the voting majority and the social attitudes of the day in whichever jurisdiction that decide which violence is okay and which isn't. Perhaps this is your point, but at least in the cases you've outlined, I don't think the public of any developed democracy would be anywhere near bloodthirsty enough to want them enacted. And no matter what violence you want and don't want sanctioned, the laws have been put in place almost exclusively by highly educated, wealthy men. Shouldn't they be held just as responsible as the people voting for them, and who are also a part of that same society and often believe what the majority do?

Similarly, something that I was going to bring up in another post but decided against it because it was going to be too long is that, in the 1950s, the Australian prime minister at the time outlawed the Communist Party of Australia. This decision was overruled by the High Court and in response the PM proposed a constitional amendment that would have given the federal parliament the ability to outlaw comminust parties and organisations. This amendment was rejected by the Australian public, and 1950s Australia as you might imagine was a pretty conservative place. Australia was one of the first countries in the entire world to grant women the right to vote, allow women to run for office and elect a woman as a representative in a legislature. We have mandatory voting, which isn't just to get lazy people to the polls, it's also one of the best things a country can do to prevent disenfranchisement. In the spirit of all this, I don't think the Australian people would ever stand for anything less than full voting rights for all capable citizens. In fact I can't think of any developed democracy in the world that would vote to remove voting rights from a section of the community.

summerof2010:
Your anecdote, however, has moved me. But it doesn't upset the core principals I'm arguing with. I still think that only rationally capable and informed people should be allowed to vote, I just have to work around extraneous circumstances preventing otherwise educated people from completing high school. Maybe I should take my earlier driver's license metaphor further - there could be a voting license, and you just have to take a test to get one. It would be relatively simple, almost anyone could pass it - assuming they are rational adults that have high school equivalent knowledge. There's room for corruption, yes, if the tests are made unfair, but I think that's an issue that could be worked out. I think the bigger issue is that it would kill voter turn out. It's hard enough to get people to vote without prefacing the whole ordeal with a freaking exam. I imagine it would take a certain kind of person to actually take a test to vote, and this could create bias.

I think this can be broken down into at least 3 options:

1. If we leave it as is, silly people get to vote, and this unreasonably biases elections towards handsome, articulate people with a knack for advertising.

2. We can make a HSE a prerequisite to the right to vote, and this excludes some legitimate voters, like yourself.

3. We can contrive some standardized test to determine who gets to vote, though this will reduce voter turn out and possibly create bias in the polls.

First of all, no need to patronise me. Honestly, I would consider you a "silly person" for advocating the disenfranchisement of a whole section of the community based on the fact that you don't think some of them are smart enough to be able to vote sensibly, especially while recognising that you're advocating for a system where countless people who you'd otherwise consider fit to vote would be swept into the cracks. Surely you'd agree that there'd have to be at least some high school graduates who also shouldn't qualify to vote too? In which case then where do you decide that one group has enough silly people in it to disqualify the rest of them from voting? How would you even quantify that? And why not go further and only give voting rights to university graduates to eliminate even more potential bad voters?

Addressing point 3, the problem with a test is that it has the potential to elminate people based on systemic biases rather than on their knowledge of the political system or their capacity to vote. It's well documented that blacks score lower on IQ tests when the person grading knows their race and higher when the person grading doesn't know their race, for example. The test would probably be designed by the government of the day which would almost without doubt result in it being at least a little bit slanted to try to eliminate that party's undesirables. In some places, particularly countries like the US and Australia with high immigrant populations, it would likely result in the disenfranchisement of otherwise intelligent people who don't speak English well.

summerof2010:
None of the options are ideal, but surely one is better than the rest. Personally? I'm still on board with the HSE thing. Your case is unfortunate, but it's still an exception. It's by no means an ideal, but I still think it's better on the whole. Fewer silly people voting to oppress homosexuals and appease their God when there's a war on. Democracy is about putting everyone in charge, but that sort of thing is infeasible on this grand of scale, which is why we don't practice pure democracy anymore. We restrict it, and give disproportionate power to individuals and groups so that we can better organize ourselves and accomplish our shared goals more effectively. That's what I'd hope this sort of change would accomplish - it would make it easier to accomplish our shared goals. It's not perfect, no, but I still think it's a good idea.

One last thing, and I'll try to keep this shorter than the rest of my points, but if you look at voter demographics there really isn't huge trends towards people with a certain education voting for certain candidates or policies. Maybe non-graduates are less likely to vote for socially progressive policies or whatever else, but I've never seen a poll where level of education indicated an overwhelming propensity to vote in one particular way or believe in a particular policy, and certainly not more of a propensity than someone's race or religion would indicate on a poll either. I don't have it with me but I'm reminded of a poll I saw where people indicated their support for Barack Obama, support actually fell the higher someone's education level was, until it reached those with a postgraduate qualification where it sharply rose. Drop-outs and PhDs had more in common with each other there than any other group had. This links to your next post...

summerof2010:
Andy is uneducated and unemployed. Bob is also unemployed, but graduated high school. Pat is running for governor. Paul reaches out to the unemployed with sympathetic speeches about his hard childhood, while blaming homosexuals and jews for the woes his future constituents now suffer. Andy is moved, but Bob sees through these shenanigans, realizing that Paul's stories and blame-laying aren't going to improve the job market. Bob places his vote elsewhere. Andy gets his friends to vote for Paul too, and soon Paul is governor. And no one gets any jobs.

Both Andy and Bob want things and deserve to have their voice heard, but Andy is incapable of determining how he should actually vote in order to get those things. It's an issue of practicality. They have a right to get what they want from the government, but they can't do it through voting - they can't see what's best for their own interests, and they usually vote wrong. And then they complain when things don't turn out like they planned.

And what about the university educated businessman who votes for candidates that supports lowering taxes for himself and raising them for low income earners, or votes to deny the legal recognition of gay families because his church told him to, or votes against extending access to healthcare because he can afford it and the more people who can't afford it mean lower waiting times for him, or votes against women's reproductive rights because he'll never have to worry about carrying an unwanted pregnancy, or votes down funding of public transit because he has shares in an auto manufacturer, or any number of other things?

This graduate = good, drop-out = bad binary is ridiculously short sighted and narrow minded, and plain wrong.

Education level is not as black and white as you think it is. I don't think uneducated people are any more or less likely to be sucked into a candidate's marketing hype either, that kind of thing has been refined into a science and millions of dollars are spent every year with the purpose of influencing both voters and legislators into supporting certain political positions. Everyone is suceptible.

Not G. Ivingname:
How about you just stop making it mandatory to vote?

Seams simple enough to me.

Like I mentioned above, mandatory voting has one big up side, which is making it impossible for vulnerable people to become disenfranchised like you often see in the US, where electoral rolls go "missing" in poor, black neighbourhoods and that kind of thing. Like any other free democracy, voting is done in secret, another thing pioneered here, hence the name "Australian ballot". If you don't want to vote or object to voting or object to the candidates on offer or whatever else there's nothing stopping you from putting an empty ballot into the box. It's also not hard to get out of voting, the electoral commission will grant you an exemption for any number of reasons, and the fine for not voting without giving a reason would be much less than even that of a speeding ticket. The point is that it places the respnosibility on you to opt out, no one else can stop you from voting.

ten.to.ten:
Like I mentioned above, mandatory voting has one big up side, which is making it impossible for vulnerable people to become disenfranchised like you often see in the US, where electoral rolls go "missing" in poor, black neighbourhoods and that kind of thing.

You know it wasn't uncommon until the late 80s for sealed ballot boxes (meaning the ones with votes in them) from Aboriginal communities to go missing, especially in NT territorial government elections and QLD state elections.

And that's not even counting the various parts of Australian history where either nationally or on a state basis that Aboriginal people were disenfranchised.

RhombusHatesYou:
You know it wasn't uncommon until the late 80s for sealed ballot boxes (meaning the ones with votes in them) from Aboriginal communities to go missing, especially in NT territorial government elections and QLD state elections.

And that's not even counting the various parts of Australian history where either nationally or on a state basis that Aboriginal people were disenfranchised.

I'd never deny that this country has treated aborigines disgustingly throughout its history, and denying aboriginal suffrage is really the one big blotch we have on our record of universal democracy. But I also think that Joh's Queensland is long gone and it wouldn't happen today even under the most scumbag LNP government.

summerof2010:

Loner Jo Jo:
I would argue that's different as the ability to think critically or think abstractly is not developed until puberty. Politics involve some very abstract ideas and opinions, and one does need some experience in order to formulate their own opinions.

... Only if a person has been deemed incompetent, or to relate to my previous point, having the mental capacity of a child, by the courts are they denied their right to vote. ...

Education does not mean that a person cannot think rationally. People without a high school degree make rational choices all the time. Furthermore, education, in terms of degrees acquired, do not point to understanding of politics or related topics. Will a person who has a doctorate in Bio-Chemical Engineering understand politics perfectly? They certainly could if they desired, but it does not mean they do. Should we deny the vote to anyone who doesn't watch all the debates? Should we deny the vote to anyone who doesn't thoroughly research their choice? It would certainly lead to educated decisions, but it would cut out the majority of the populous. In short, education does not necessarily denote an ability to think critically about politics.

You seem to be making my point for me in the first two paragraphs. I'm trying to say that capacity is an important factor when deciding who we allow to vote. What I'm suggesting is that many people who can vote in fact lack capacity, since they are not aware of the even the basic background of contemporary issues, nor are they familiar with fundamental critical thinking skills. I think that these things are critical to a person's ability to make legitimate decisions about politics, rather than flights of fancy based on advertising and social pressure.

I agree that having an education does not necessarily show that a person can think rationally (though that's not the only thing I would want an education to give - actual information about economics, history, and politics itself are important). This is a sad fact about the educational system, at least here in America. Still, I think it's a good indicator. Even the person with a degree in bio-chemical engineering had to take civics in high school and econ in college. It's that baseline level of understanding that I want all voters to have. Think of the education I'm talking about like a driver's license - not everyone with a driver's license can drive well, but you'd still expect them to have one before you let them behind the wheel.

You make the point that expecting a certain level of competence and familiarity with the subject matter would exclude a lot of people from the vote. But I ask you, why would we want people who are incompetent and don't even know what they're talking about to vote? The consent of the governed is important and all, but if you let the children run the class, they'll never learn anything.

There's a difference between capacity and knowledge which you are not distinguishing between. The best way I can explain this is by example. I am a history/political science major. If you place a calculus problem in front of me, I can't do it. Yes, I took calculus in high school, but it's been 4 years with no practice so I don't remember. (You made mention that everyone must take civics classes, but I would argue that either it's been decades since an adult, educated or not, has taken one of those course - barring political science intellectuals - or that the classes they took were lackluster, at best. I've heard and seen some real horror stories about what kids were "taught".) However, just because I can't solve the problem doesn't mean I don't have the capacity. If I were taught the information, gaining the knowledge base again, then I could do it. The same goes for critical thinking. You can't punish the individual for a broken system if you believe the education system to be the cause. (How could a victim of the system demand a better one for their children or fellow Americans if they can't vote? In a democracy, a politician wouldn't listen to someone who can't vote for them.)

Children do not have the capacity to think critical because, as I said, the ability to think abstractly does not develop until after puberty. The same goes for those with severe intellectual disabilities. Adults (for the most part) have the capacity, even if some may be lacking the knowledge.

But regardless their voices matter. It's when we stop listening to everyone that injustice occurs. "They don't understand; they are inferior so let's deny them their vote. They'll just mess things up anyway," is the same argument made against black people and women in the United states for over a century. To relate to your argument, yes, we need leaders. A class run by the kids will not succeed. However, if a student complains of bullying going on with other classmates, or not enough supplies to go around, or unfair treatment by the teacher him or herself, or that they don't understand the lesson, shouldn't the teacher still listen even though the child is not trained to be an educator? Any teacher who didn't listen to the students to investigate and rectify any issues presented would immediately be considered a terrible teacher. How can they help if they don't know the problem? Voting is the easiest way for a person to voice concerns by affiliating themselves with the person they believe most aligns with their values. Sure, they may not understand the intricacies of politics, but they do know when there are no jobs to be found, or that their wages are not fair, or that food/gas/etc costs too much or whatever else they feel needs to be fixed. A lack of a high school degree does not deny a person the right to demand a better system. We wouldn't be having this conversation if it was about women or minorities, so why are uneducated individuals any different?

Bear with me for a moment while I make a bunch of petty gripes and quick comments that will mostly be made irrelevant in a minute:

ten.to.ten:
It's always been the voting majority and the social attitudes of the day in whichever jurisdiction that decide which violence is okay and which isn't. ... And no matter what violence you want and don't want sanctioned, the laws have been put in place almost exclusively by highly educated, wealthy men.

Contradiction.

ten.to.ten:
In the spirit of all this, I don't think the Australian people would ever stand for anything less than full voting rights for all capable citizens.

My whole point was that the people I'm talking about shouldn't be considered "capable."

ten.to.ten:
First of all, no need to patronise me.

Don't think I'm being funny when I say I am genuinely upset that you thought I was trying to patronize you. I'm sorry I came off that way.

ten.to.ten:
Honestly, I would consider you a "silly person" for advocating the disenfranchisement of a whole section of the community based on the fact that you don't think some of them are smart enough to be able to vote sensibly, especially while recognising that you're advocating for a system where countless people who you'd otherwise consider fit to vote would be swept into the cracks.

Countless? I was operating under the assumption that cases like yours, where someone cannot obtain a diploma because they are physically incapable or are otherwise stopped by something other than mental incompetence, are exceptional.

ten.to.ten:
Surely you'd agree that there'd have to be at least some high school graduates who also shouldn't qualify to vote too? In which case then where do you decide that one group has enough silly people in it to disqualify the rest of them from voting? How would you even quantify that? And why not go further and only give voting rights to university graduates to eliminate even more potential bad voters?

I know I addressed the first part, but I'm talking to multiple people in this thread and I'm not sure if I said anything to you about it. The driver's license thing - it's no guarantee, but it's a good indicator. I decided that people who did not have a HSE would be silly more often on average than those who do because I figured that people who are silly would fail out of high school more often than those who were not silly. All in all, not an unreasonable conclusion, don't you think?

Also, a major element of my proposal was that this level of education would be available to everyone. Lots of people can't go to university for irrelevant reasons, while comparatively few can't go to high school, so that's why I wouldn't expect a university education for every voter.

ten.to.ten:
One last thing, and I'll try to keep this shorter than the rest of my points, but if you look at voter demographics there really isn't huge trends towards people with a certain education voting for certain candidates or policies. Maybe non-graduates are less likely to vote for socially progressive policies or whatever else, but I've never seen a poll where level of education indicated an overwhelming propensity to vote in one particular way or believe in a particular policy, and certainly not more of a propensity than someone's race or religion would indicate on a poll either. I don't have it with me but I'm reminded of a poll I saw where people indicated their support for Barack Obama, support actually fell the higher someone's education level was, until it reached those with a postgraduate qualification where it sharply rose. Drop-outs and PhDs had more in common with each other there than any other group had.

I am not surprised this happened, because during the Obama campaign, I noticed a disturbing trend among my classmates. They wanted to vote for Obama, but almost none of them could tell me anything he was doing or planning, and most had never even seen him speak. They voted for him because he is black. I'm not exaggerating; that was the entire reason. Some even told me that to my face. So while I would need substantially more information to actually show it, the research you mentioned fits my theory perfectly. Even if Obama was a good choice, people voted for him for the wrong reason. They voted for the guy that made the best story, and made them feel the best about liking him. It felt like they were fighting something and winning. Which, while moving, is a stupid reason to vote someone into office. And what if Obama was a raving idiot (well, as I understand it, some people think he is after all)? They still would have voted for him. I did make it sound like uneducated people always vote for what's bad for them, but that's not true. They just vote for the wrong reasons, so them actually getting what they want is a crap shoot. Sometimes it works out, but that doesn't mean that they should vote that way.

But as I said, all that is irrelevant because...

ten.to.ten:
And what about the university educated businessman who votes for candidates that supports lowering taxes for himself and raising them for low income earners, or votes to deny the legal recognition of gay families because his church told him to, or votes against extending access to healthcare because he can afford it and the more people who can't afford it mean lower waiting times for him, or votes against women's reproductive rights because he'll never have to worry about carrying an unwanted pregnancy, or votes down funding of public transit because he has shares in an auto manufacturer, or any number of other things?

This graduate = good, drop-out = bad binary is ridiculously short sighted and narrow minded, and plain wrong.

Education level is not as black and white as you think it is. I don't think uneducated people are any more or less likely to be sucked into a candidate's marketing hype either, that kind of thing has been refined into a science and millions of dollars are spent every year with the purpose of influencing both voters and legislators into supporting certain political positions. Everyone is suceptible.

You're completely right about this. People are selfish, irrational, and gullible across the board, regardless of education. My plan wouldn't change a thing, and it would unfairly exclude people like you. I wanted it to work though, I really did. I long for a world where people uniformly work for the good of the whole (in a political sense - economically that gets a bit dodgy), and they think rationally and within their limits, do research on things they don't understand, and communicate openly with others to reach workable compromises and novel solutions. I still think that better and more widespread education is instrumental to the creation of this world, but you can't really count on it. It's a shame...

Oh well. I concede. And I really hope no one else replies to me. It's always awkward and sort of weird to explain to them that someone else won their argument for them, especially if they don't quite see it the same way...

God I hate long posts

Loner Jo Jo:
But regardless their voices matter. It's when we stop listening to everyone that injustice occurs. "They don't understand; they are inferior so let's deny them their vote. They'll just mess things up anyway," is the same argument made against black people and women in the United states for over a century. ... We wouldn't be having this conversation if it was about women or minorities, so why are uneducated individuals any different?

I agree with most of your post and ten.to.ten has convinced me to retract my position, but I'll still argue you about these points. It is not the same argument made against blacks and women. As I have said before, race and sex are completely irrelevant to a person's ability to make rational decisions, where an education is relevant. That rational ability is relevant to whether people should be allowed to vote, in my opinion. (You have offered the alternative, that the relevant aspect in children and the handicapped is their biological inability to possibly develop rationality - I was just disagreeing with it.) Therefore, a person's education is relevant to his right to vote. If a person doesn't know anything about the topic at hand, he's inevitably going to make bad decisions, and bad decisions are bad for everyone.

Imagine the nation is a pokemon battle, and there are 11 people trying to decide which moves to use. Your Dragonite is fighting a Charizard. The 11 people include you and 4 friends who play pokemon, plus 6 people from the old folks home. Everyone's pretty much ruled out using Fly, but you and your friends are going back and forth between Outrage and Thunder. The old people, however, have become set on Fire Blast, because, not knowing anything about type advantage and abilities, they think it sounds like the most powerful one. Even if you and your friends unanimously agree on Outrage, you end up using fire blast, and then Charizard fucks your shit backwards with one of his own after he gets his ability boost. My point is, a person with no HSE probably doesn't know enough about global warming to not get burned alive if the world is left to him. So why are we letting him help decide green energy legislation?

That was my point anyway, and it was fun inventing the analogy. But ultimately that sort of plan does more harm than good, and it wouldn't solve the problem I'm really trying to fix anyway.

EDIT: I have got to stop doing that.

Sonic Doctor:
What the fuck.

Seriously.

What.
the.
fuck.

Okay, now I actually do feel sorry for you. If professors aren't held accountable for abusing their positions or not doing their fucking job, it's no wonder people complain about the US educational system being shit.

My old history teacher talked about the political parties that evolved in the first half of the 20th century and, in that context, asked people if anyone happened to vote for party X, Y or Z, partially to compare their politics today with their politics then. The students told the principal about this, and the teacher got a warning. It wasn't his intention(as far as I know) to know who specifically voted what, but that information can be abused.
There was a student strike a week ago from a teacher not showing up (and smelling alcohol when he did), and the principal got everything sorted out for that reason.

We've also got enough active students organizations to actually give feedback that the universities are willing to listen to. There's been shitty professors that have been replaced or reschooled, slow/insufficient feedback on papers and exams is not accepted anymore, entire courses have been remade because of complaints and suggestions on how to improve them... and so on. You guys don't have any of that?

pyrate:

Not G. Ivingname:
How about you just stop making it mandatory to vote?

Seams simple enough to me.

How about you read the thread or look up the laws of the country in question. There is no law that requires you to vote in Australia.

It is mandotory to turn up and cross your name of the list and write on a ballot,seem's a lot like voting to me.

ten.to.ten:

RhombusHatesYou:
You know it wasn't uncommon until the late 80s for sealed ballot boxes (meaning the ones with votes in them) from Aboriginal communities to go missing, especially in NT territorial government elections and QLD state elections.

And that's not even counting the various parts of Australian history where either nationally or on a state basis that Aboriginal people were disenfranchised.

I'd never deny that this country has treated aborigines disgustingly throughout its history, and denying aboriginal suffrage is really the one big blotch we have on our record of universal democracy. But I also think that Joh's Queensland is long gone and it wouldn't happen today even under the most scumbag LNP government.

Our history with the Aboriginal has been one off the biggest black marks in our history, you will head no word to the opposite from me. There are Bad eggs in every faction though, one off the main reasons I hate Bob Brown is for his support of Michael Mansel. He was a Tasmanian aboriginal activist who visited Libya to make them boycott trade with us, that and Mansel view on women are up there with an Iranian radical cleric. Bob brown is the reason the greens are dead in the water next election, He has done nothing but contradict himself at every turn. "I want green power" "now I blockade the very river a hydro dam is built on" " I want green transport" "oh the commercial planes are not flying due to volcanic ash? Better borrow the PMs plane to get to Canberra then for a meeting with my party" The man is A labor supporter with a red coat of paint.

ten.to.ten:
Hypothetical: let's divide the population into two halves, those who have a high school diploma and those who don't, and those who don't have a high school diploma are barred from voting. What's then stopping the half who do have a high school diploma who now make up 100% of the voting pool voting for higher taxes on non-graduates? Or to conscript non-graduates into fighting a war? Or to de-fund public schools to make it harder for people to graduate from high school in the first place so that their voting powers don't become diluted? The uneducated already lack many of the opportunities that those with more education take for granted and the only result I can see from ripping their voting powers away is permanently entrenching a section of the community into a sub-second class citizen status. In the past it's only after groups like women and racial minorities were allowed to vote that their civil rights and standards of living approached that of what you would expect for yourself.

Also, as has been pointed out, there are a lot of idiots out there who are university graduates and a lot of bright people who never graduated high school. Not to mention that drop-outs, idiots, and yes, even Greens voters, deserve representation in parliament just like anyone else, as long as they follow the principles of democracy and the constitution.

I'll give you a little bit of my own personal story here. I'm a high school drop out, I only have a grade 10 education because of a chronic illness that was undiagnosed at the time, and I've yet been well enough to make it through a year of high school equivalency because of that illness. I also plan to vote Greens at the next federal election, mainly, but not only because, my local Labor MP has already announced that he will vote against marriage equality in parliament and Tony Abbott has already ruled out a conscience vote for the Liberals. Lack of marriage equality continues to cost me and my family thousands of dollars and a lot of heartache that we would not have to go through if I was straight. Tell me why I don't deserve to vote?

In response to summerof2010 agreement to your view, I offer a counter point.
First of the bat let me say this, yes I knew in my hypothetical scenario would put people In certain cases like yourself in a bad situation, You seem educated at a level that your credentials do not do you justice. I know this idea needs ironing out but it is but a simple germ of an idea at the moment, you can only judge one book by its cover(Mein Kampf The only book so bad that its cover is one of an ugly little Austrian and inside pure hate at everything but Hittler himself) and I believe that if we could find a clause that allow people in the same circumstances to be able to vote then the idea is a plausible one.
I nearly did not finish high school for the fact of a medical reason so I know the feeling. I had PTSD from being I a plane through a thunderstorm and every day was hell, due to bullies, not because of the academics work I had to do. This is another reason why high school is the ideal test, It made me less hurt by insults and in general made me a get a world viewpoint. One where the intellectuals who care for a better tomorrow are at the lead while those who mooch of our work are left to change themselves for the better, academics is one part of a bigger picture.
Yes the "smart people" have voted only in their interest but then so to have the gullible, plus In non-democratic society who are the first people eliminated?. Mao and Stalin both had the University professors who did no agree with their view on communism shipped of to the end of the world or just shot. I agree in letting them have A party, closing it down was...excessive to say the least but letting to much socialism in is what is generally a catalyst for communist revolution and I am sure you would rather live in a democracy right?.
Russia is now more behind than ever in scientific innovation, sure they beat the Americans to some aeronautics but the scientists and other intellectuals they did keep were only of use to the states armed forces. Communism is self-destructive, suppressive and only light socialism has been sustainable
In America the best thieves in the world are the Ivy league law school graduates, who have stolen so much from the us treasury that it has left the country scrapping for change but it was the right wing bible bashing middle states who got the man truly responsible for this mess, George bush.
Obama is just left with his mess and the mess of the stupid people who burrowed to much at rates which any sane man would not have done, Any Americans want the people who brought your country to it knee's financially to be able to continue on its current course? Australia is about to do the same, economic stagnation is all but inevitable if we get labor back in any form next state election, the bastards have no Idea how to run a sound economy.
Sorry f r late and long post BTW

James Ennever:

pyrate:

Not G. Ivingname:
How about you just stop making it mandatory to vote?

Seams simple enough to me.

How about you read the thread or look up the laws of the country in question. There is no law that requires you to vote in Australia.

It is mandotory to turn up and cross your name of the list and write on a ballot,seem's a lot like voting to me.

I am actually technically wrong in saying there is no law that requires you to vote. There is a law, it is however not enforceable and the government fully admits this.

It is essentially a loophole. Since it is a secret ballot it is impossible to prove you have not voted if you say you have, thus the only legal requirement is to have your name marked to say you have voted. So it comes down to it not being mandatory to vote, it is only mandatory to say you have voted.

lacktheknack:

High school doesn't make you suddenly know politics.

That. Plenty of high school grads are morons. And there are a good number of dropouts who are very smart. And everyone has the right to vote.

The OP smacks of elitism. At least that's the way I read it. I agree that having a post graduate education does not make one person's vote more important or necessary than another. This almost smells like a college graduate who is pissed off that a homeless person might have the same rights as him or her.

I almost envy your system of mandatory polling. The bad part of freedom is that we in America always seem to have a piss poor voter turnout no matter what level of election we're having. People taking their freedoms for granted is the result of having it too good for too long.

But everyone gets a vote and all votes are equal. At least that's the way it should be. Strange that that upsets a lot of really smart people. I can't imagine why.

Naeras:

We've also got enough active students organizations to actually give feedback that the universities are willing to listen to. There's been shitty professors that have been replaced or reschooled, slow/insufficient feedback on papers and exams is not accepted anymore, entire courses have been remade because of complaints and suggestions on how to improve them... and so on. You guys don't have any of that?

Well, there are many many student organizations, at the two universities I went to, sports, fraternities, sororities, ones for every type of subject that has a class, ones for the major political parties and some for the minor ones, academic clubs, writing clubs and clubs of just random things, heck, my first university gave a group of students 3000 dollars to start a university poker club, though the university saw it as an expense that might get people away from the unofficial campus drinking night.

These organizations may have made recommendations to those universities, but considering that most places of "higher" education in the US, don't see themselves as that but rather places of business, they don't take many suggestions to heart, because it won't be good for the university budget.

The standard curriculums(the stuff that is required besides what is required for specific majors) are so full with so many mandatory required classes from the main subjects, some double requirements and others triple requirements, the actual supposed years to get curtain degrees don't match up anymore. The national average in the US for how long it takes to get a standard 4 year degree is 7 years. I beat that number by one year; I started in 2004 and finished in 2010.

I remember last year sometime there were protests in the UK when the prices at universities went up an extra 3000, to something like 9000.

It usually doesn't go up that much all at once here, but the price of attending universities goes up between 500 to 1000 dollars every year. When I started in 2004, it cost me around $13500 a year and for the year I graduated in 2010 it cost near $17500 a year. I'm glad I didn't want to go to a private university, because I know that people that went to the one near me paid at least $24000 a year.

But back onto being able to give complaints to the university about bad professors, at the end of each semester, the students in each class were given professor evaluation forms. The professors would leave the room and the students would anonymously evaluate the professors performance, and they would gathered up by a student and taken up to an office. Though I have never heard of an evaluation ever harming a professor or a professor being reprimanded because of one. Though the professors that usually got worst evaluations were the professors that have tenure. But as I said in the post before this, tenured professors pretty much have to physically harm students before they are in danger of losing their jobs or receive any kind of punishment. The reason I would say that even non-tenured professors don't see much reprimanding from the universities, is because it probably would cost the university more money in the long run to fire a professor and hire a new one, than it would be to just inform the professor of the evaluations and say, "Will you see yourself straight, pretty pleeease", and then both parties have a good laugh and nothing gets done.

everythingbeeps:

lacktheknack:

High school doesn't make you suddenly know politics.

That. Plenty of high school grads are morons. And there are a good number of dropouts who are very smart. And everyone has the right to vote.

Exactly...for my HSC I did English, Maths, Ancient History, Modern History and Physics.

At no point during my last two years of high school (you finish at year 12, but can leave after year 10) did I magically gain new insights into the current state of Australian politics.

Hell, could you imagine the outcry if the State government announced it was going to start teaching kids about politics and who to vote for?

(Admittedly, in English, we were taught how to say that poem X proves that multiculturalism is the best, poem Y proves that "us white people" (cause everyone doing the HSC would be white) should be guilty about what our ancestors did and poem Z proves that the Russian or the Chinese are evil. That's sorta political, I guess)

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