Term limits for voters

Given the conventional wisdom that Republicans, particularly older ones, are the most reliable voters in terms of never missing a chance to do so, this idea would skew the results slightly leftwards.

Notwithstanding this, I’m absolutely against such an idea. Except for one or two purely local elections I couldn’t get worked up about, I’ve voted in every election since I attained voting age. In California we have propositions nearly every time, and there are always at least one or two that I feel very strongly for or against. There are also countywide measures to vote on. I was strongly in favor of the L.A. County transit tax measure, and just as strongly against Prop 8. I couldn’t imagine not having the chance to vote on those questions. OTOH, among the dozen or so propositions and measures we have to decide on every year, there are always some that I just skip over. Sometimes I simply don’t care enough either way.

It seems to me that adopting either of the proposals of L’il Nemo and XT would violate a central premise of democratic government, that it’s legitimate because people consent to it. If you can’t vote then you can’t give your consent. The very moral underpinning of our laws is swept away. Why would you feel obligated to obey laws imposed on you from without?

Terrible idea. The biggest problem - other than the fact that there is no need for this whatsoever - is that it would be difficult to know when your vote is going to be the most valuable. You can guess at how valuable it is in a current election, but deciding whether your vote would be more valuable now or in two to four years would be close to a blind guess.

How? If you think voting is an annoying chore, you’re probably not voting in the first place. Those people would only be discouraged if you add the extra complication of making them decide if this election is important enough for them to expend one of a limited number of votes. That’s the kind of thing that makes people say “screw this, it’s too complicated.”

You also don’t make it clear if this is intended to apply only to federal elections or only to local ones. There are local elections every year or two, and it’s difficult to get people to turn out for them as it is. If you make them compete against federal elections participation in those is going to drop to almost zero.

I think the best way to get people to the polls is to have far fewer elections. People in this country confuse “elections” for “democracy”.

I bet you, ever two/four years, if people were simply choosing for Democratic or Republican governments on the state and federal levels, we’d get a lot more voters, and a lot more educated votes.

Instead, in one four year period we vote for President/Vice President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor, State Upper House, State Lower House, numerous other statewide executive positions, judges, initiatives, etc. How can we expect the electorate to be fully informed about all these candidates? Hell, I’m the biggest political news junkie there is, and even I’m not making an informed vote in some of these races.

We get the politicians we deserve. If people want to continue voting for people that give it to them in the shorts and they’re OK with that, they deserve whatever they get.

I loved Starship Troopers when I read it as a kid (still do), back then that system looked pretty good.

Then I realized the potential for abuse inherent on that system, once a given political ideology gets to appoint the instructors in the IM training campos and the civilian alternatives they can effectively refuse the right to vote to anyone who does not agree with them.

You think the death penalty is wrong!?, give me 500 laps around the base!.

You think we should kill all non-human races in the galaxy!?, go fetch me a cup of coffee, pronto!.
Or if the other extreme gets it:

You filthy recruit, are against abortion!, go clean all the units latrines with your tongue!.

You monkey, think that we should provide abortions on demand up to the ninth month!?. please be so kind to go and fetch me some diuretics to “help” the other recruit with his task…
Since most potential voters with the “wrong” ideology would not get the vote, things would be impossible to change.


Not really. We’re just angry that retards vote and get to clutter everything up. If you believe, as a fair few people do, that Barack Obama is a stealth black nationalist Muslim who wants to kill whitey, then you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. You’re too ignorant. I’m sure you can come up with questions that’d weed out nutters on the extreme left as well.

:dubious: Right. So there’s a test, but birth trumps it? Then the test is unimportant.

But no one can be refused. Oh, they can be encouraged to quit, so like I said, the devil is in the details and how you implement it. But all democracies have ways of limiting the franchise, in the end…and all can be abused if enough people go off the deep end. I don’t see anything inherently wrong with the concept of earning the franchise through some means or other.

And the same can happen with any system where things break down. It has happened periodically with our own system, after all…and could very well happen again in the future. No system is really open, after all, and all of them are subject to abuse if enough people allow such abuse to happen.


IMHO, the OP’s idea and XT’s idea are monumentally bad–I believe that everyone should get to vote at every opportunity.

The interesting (and somewhat distressing) part of this to me is that I can’t articulate exactly why I feel that way. I guess I think that a country is either a democracy (i.e., everyone gets to vote at every opportunity) or it’s not, and I prefer democracy. After all, it’s the worst system of government, except for all the others.

I agree with you. Voting is something everyone should be allowed to do, those we agree with and those we disagree with. You or I may think the person is wrong (or stupid or evil heh heh), but that does not give us the right to deny them their say. Voting is a right, a privilege, and a responsibility. Let’s not be so eager to trash it.

So…you think that children should be allowed to vote? People of impaired intelligence? Criminals? Non-citizens who live in the US? What encompasses ‘everyone’, IYHO and all? Where do you draw the lines on the franchise? Literally everyone, regardless of any circumstances at all? How will the new born vote? How about people in a coma?

I don’t think that the OP’s ideas are ‘monumentally bad’…just pretty bad. My own are probably equally bad, though I wouldn’t characterize them as ‘monumental’, even with the qualifier of ‘bad’ tacked on. :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s all in where the lines are drawn, and how one grants the franchise and to whom. All democracies draw lines, and all limit the franchise in some way or other. I’m not sure about the OP, but I’m certainly not advocating anything that’s all that different than our current system…only suggesting that there might be better ways to grant or limit the franchise.


Yeah, good point that my “everyone” didn’t mean “everyone” exactly. I guess I agree with current law as I understand it, which would be: no, yes, no (for certain criminals), no . . . no.

Yeah, I could live with not allowing the criminally insane vote, or convicted terrorists, or mass murderers, known enemies of the state, or toddlers, etc :eek:

The current law is fine, and if it is violated, we have laws to deal with that.

The point is that some of the limiting restrictions on the franchise are and always have been arbitrary. What’s so special about 18 years of age? Why should a brilliant 17 year old not be able to vote, while an idiot 30 year old COULD vote (but probably won’t anyway)? Which criminals should or shouldn’t vote…and for how long? And why? Why should some guy picked up possessing pot be disenfranchised, for instance?


Hell if I know, all I can figure is, they (whoever they are) thought at 18 a person matured enough to make intelligent and informed decisions :rolleyes:
I think it used to be 21, but got lowered to 18 and yeah, it was going to be our doom (or something). As for which type of criminals can vote, that seems to vary from state to state.

Added on edit: the roll eyes was because some people are idiots, no matter how old they are.

Crazy, but entertaining.

I think 18 is the cut-off age because traditionally that is when children leave home. Up until then one can make the case that their parents will vote with their children’s well-being in mind. (This argument was also made by slave owners as a reason that slaves didn’t need to vote yet still count as constituents for congressional numbers, so some people may find it dubious.)

Personally I think that every citizen older than 18 should have the right to vote; that includes rapists and murderers. The number of murderers is a very small percentage of voters and I’m not sure how much sway they’d have in elections. On the other hand, letting all felons vote is a (slight) protection against the government trumping up charges to keep people from voting. I don’t expect that to happen in the US–I’m more arguing in principal.

Non-citizens are a bit trickier. In the end, though, it’s their decision to come to a country where they know they won’t have the right to vote (until the become citizens) so I’m less concerned. Some of the framers of the US government thought that all tax-payers should have suffrage (a left-over from “no taxation without representation”); I’m not sure if that included non-citizens.

I also think felons should be allowed to vote. Why not? Are we afraid they’ll suddenly make murder legal? (Besides, for more controversial felonies, there is a kind of catch-22 (of perhaps marginal statistical importance, but ethically unsettling) in criminalizing behavior and then denying the franchise to those who who exhibit the behavior and would disagree with the criminalization of it)