The problems with voting in the U.S


Adam Lamparello, J.D, Asst. Professor of Criminal Justice

Some people should be denied the right to vote. Indeed, the notion of “one person, one vote” is utterly ridiculous and deleterious to a properly functioning democracy. One need look no further than my experience at a polling station several years ago to understand the basis for this sentiment.  

  • One voter, while standing in line, loudly stated, “I only come here for the free food” (the polling station was serving free donuts, with the poll workers devouring them at an alarming rate). 
  • Another voter, no more than twenty years old, paused before entering the voting booth and asked his girlfriend, “honey, who am I supposed to vote for?” 
  • Then, a woman who looked like she was 150 years old, was told by her children, “granny, just push the buttons for the Republicans.” 

I was mortified.  

This “democracy” in the United States. This is how we elect our leaders. This is how we determine who makes economic and social policies that impact hundreds of millions of citizens. And this is why the United States is riddled with incompetent leaders and intractable leadership. It has to change – now.  


Put simply, morons should not vote.  

The weed-smoking high school jock (jerk) who is obsessed with the captain of the cheerleading team and barely maintaining a D average should not vote. The oblivious frat boy who believes that his blood alcohol level is more important than his IQ, who thinks Coors Light is a dietary supplement, and who accidentally wanders into a voting booth, should not be allowed to vote. Members of the KKK, and racists generally, should not vote. Homophobic and sexist jerks should not vote. Chronic alcoholics, who have spent only seconds of their lives with a blood alcohol level under .08, and drug addicts who spend every second of their lives praying for another line of cocaine, should not vote. The physically and emotionally abusive narcissist, who makes a career out of ruining others’ self-esteem, should not be allowed to vote.  

Why? The question should not even have to be asked.  

Democracy only works when you have an educated citizenry. A citizenry that can make informed choices regarding matters of public policy. A citizenry that can make discerning judgments concerning who should be selected to lead this country. The individuals described above are the antithesis of an informed citizenry, and their vote only serves to promote the ignorance that they embody and that so much of our politics today encompass. Instead of being allowed to vote, they should be shipped via Federal Express to North Korea.  


If you don’t like this idea, then consider the proposal that some votes should matter more than others. Think about it: should Justice Elena Kagan’s vote be equal to the vote of the weed-smoking jock who thinks that Judge Judy is a Supreme Court justice, or that Elvis is still alive? Or the conspiracy theorist who believes that the moon landing was a hoax? Should Bill Gates’ vote be equal to the vote of a KKK member or Neo-Nazi?  Or the ignorant citizen who believes that the Milky Way Galaxy is a candy bar?  

Of course not.  

Let’s face it. There are many idiots – and bad people – in the United States and elsewhere. Allowing them to vote – or giving their vote equal weight to more informed citizens, is a prescription for democracy’s deterioration.  

As such, the concept of “one person, one vote” should be rejected. Instead, citizens should be required to show a minimal level of knowledge regarding the structure and function of government, and of current political and social issues, to be allowed to vote. And they should be required to have a certain degree of moral character – one that eschews, among other things, racism, sexism, and homophobia.  

Otherwise, we will continue to elect leaders —  and promote policies – that reflect that ignorance of the voters and the insidiousness of politicians who capitalize on ignorance and malevolence to gain power.  

That should stop – now. The real threat to democracy is not fascism. It is morons.  

Forget democracy. It’s time for an epistocracy.