SciFi Q of the Day: Restricting Voting Rights

SciFi Question of the Day: What secular reasons might a future society have for restricting the right to vote from certain segments of the population?

Facebook Answers:

  Al Hartman They are not legal citizens of the society. They can’t demonstrate proficiency in the official language and so cannot be informed on the issues or the candidates. They don’t pay taxes to support society, and are recipients of aid, so they should not be able to vote themselves other people’s money.

  Dave Mac What about a cult religion of older men… (comment deleted by moderator)

  AmyBeth Fredricksen ‎1) Ew and 2) doesn’t fit the “secular” requirement

  Paul Chappell ‎”Starship Troopers”, only after a period of Federal sevice would one get the right to vote… Not really restrictive to certain sectors, but secular and limiting the vote…

  Al Hartman Dave Mac: Or a bunch of secularists who murdered over 90 million people? Come on Dave! Keep your anti-Catholic rants to yourself.

  Dave Mac There are theories or philosophies that involve no spiritual component yet possess qualities similar to those of a religion, I wasn’t going Catholic because personally I believe that God created man and in turn Man created religion. If anything I was heading more in the Sandusky direction whoes own personal belief system seems a bit to counter to the general society for my taste.

If you wished to use secular in terms of a govermental system, you might run into problems of being denied the vote for partaking in the gov’t system which is why I went the cult route. Maybe a younger Hitler or Sodam before he came to full power.

Anyways Al, I expressed myself poorly but somehow I think we might be concidering the same type of guy.

  AmyBeth Fredricksen Our own system of government prohibits children from voting. There’s good reason for that.

  Al Hartman ‎AmyBeth Fredricksen: Our government originally restricted voting rights to wealthy male landowners. Because they had a stake in the outcomes, and… education was not universal. Such men were pretty much guaranteed to be educated and literate.

  AmyBeth Fredricksen Education is a good arguing point. Of course, we want the people who make the decisions (voters) to be educated and informed. But… if they are NOT educated and informed, is that enough reason to deny them the vote? Does it depend on WHY they’re uneducated?

  Eric Schmitt That they are descendent of this society.

  Dave Mac How about everybody shows up at the polls, flips a coin in front of the poll worker and that counts as their vote?

  Terry Morgan Land ownership, Citizenship (ala Starship Troopers), and education.

  Dave Mac Now I’m going to have to watch Starship Troopers again?? I must have missed all the good parts last time trying to clean up the blood splatters.

  Al Hartman Dave Mac: It goes by quick in the movie. It is discussed at more length in the book.

  Perry Willis Land ownership is not a good enough reason to deny someone the vote. Not when so many educated people remain renters in our society. If all legal citizens of a country are not able to vote their minds then we do not have a representative government. If these people need to be educated as to the issues of the day, then it is up to the competing politicians to educate. Also if a person is not allowed to vote, doesn’t that amount to taxation without representation? I believe that was one of the things that brought on the revolutionary war in the first place.

  Al Hartman Perry Willis: There was not a Federal Income tax until the 1920’s. When the country was formed, it derived its income from import duties and other fees.

  Dave Mac Al, I bought the first one and then the second, which I think is still store wrapped. It’s just not exactly my type of science fiction. Not that I’m unhappy they made it because we need different types of scify for everyone otherwise the world would be boring.

  Perry Willis But there were taxes and tarriffs before the 1920’s, and just after the revolutionary war, some states just printed more money rather than raise taxes. Imposing tarriffs still boils down to citizens having to pay for it. Besides, I wasn’t referring to then, but to now, when everyone pays taxes in one way or another. I pay the state sales tax every time I buy something. Why shouldn’t I have a say over who controls how much of that I have to pay. Same thing for renters, they pay higher rents to cover the owner’s property taxes and school taxes. Don’t they deserve a say?

  Dave Mac Hopefully when your landlord comes up with your rent amount it includes their total cost (which should inc the taxes) so in a way the renter does pay property parcel taxes.

  Geri Bressler stupidity, cussedness, crazy…Republican. Just kidding!

  Dave Mac I wish everyone would just be a bit more selfish and vote for what is best for them instead of what they are told is best for some person they don’t even know. Maybe in the end we will get what is really best for more people that way.

  Dave Mac Thank you Geri, but I’ve already been tossed from the state republican party for being a conservative

  Al Hartman Perry, I wasn’t talking about today. I was giving purely secular reasons why one might restrict voting privileges. I wasn’t talking about our country.

  Dave Mac At one time as a citizen of a state you would elect your state congress and they owned your vote for the White House.

  Perry Willis Maybe you weren’t. But from our history, when the right to vote has been limited to certain people based on land ownership, race, color, sex, eventually matters would come to a head to change the innequality. A government can find any reason it wants to limit the right to vote. It boils down to what the citizens under that government will allow. So the only valid reason to limit the right to vote, would be citizenship.

  Dave Mac I don’t think the gov’t wishes to limit any citizens right to vote, in fact I feel as if they would rather expand the right to vote (state props comes to mind) so the people elected to be accountable have more voters that only have themselves to blame when they didn’t get the straight facts on what they were voting on.

  Al Hartman Dave Mac: I own all the movies, but I read the book when I was in Public School…

  Dave Mac I was caught up in Bradbury and Tolken types, Dad (finished 6th grade) would be off watching route 66 and find me with my nose stuck in a book. I forget what I was reading but he bursts into the room accusing me of reading porn and sure enough their was some page and a half of some futurist sex encounter… After that it was nothing but good old TV for me… wholesome stuff like Dr. Killdare, police story… Man I could wait to buy him a beta copy of big bad mama for his birthday so he could see Angie dickerson in real action…. lol

  Daniel Beard to pay at least $1 more to the government than you get back in direct aid. be the payment in taxes, or other donations, it matters not.

  Mark Cash wow…scify people have much more reasoned discussions concerning politics than the morons who discuss politics on political threads. No vitriol or mud slinging, just back and forth discussion. As a political scientist and a scify geek you all bring me to tears!

  AmyBeth Fredricksen Gene Roddenberry knew… if you take it into the realm of fiction, you can discuss ideas without getting into the very real realm of he said/she said.

  Dave Mac And I was going to start off with “No Red Horned People with less than three eyes”

Google Plus Answers:

  Brooke Johnson  intelligence.

in our current society, people vote for the wrong reasons because they aren’t educated on the issues. i would suggest offering a non-biased, non-partisan political education course before voting season, or a much more difficult application (more of an exam really) to vote.

the people who fail the application exam or the political education course would be deemed unfit to vote in an election.

  Samuel Falvo II  The fallacy with this is that there’s no such thing as an unbiased source of information. I can think of no weaker link in the chain leading up to an election to control political outcomes with. Sounds like an ideal place for a plot point!

  Caz Abbott  Perhaps, instead of a single unbiased source, both sides could be presented as factually as possible, going off the candidates’ own plans as listed on their official websites.

I agree in theory, but I think it would be more complicated than it sounds.

  Jennifer Coleman  Just because someone is illiterate and would fail a written test doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t intelligent or knowledgeable.

I, for one, don’t vote because despite the fact that I am quite intelligent and knowledgeable, I don’t feel that I am able to gain a full understanding of the long-term ramifications of those decisions without a lifelong devotion to the study of economic theory, political science, psychology and sociology. Which, I think it also merits mentioning that I’m not sure voting is really the best way to put people into office or to determine crucial issues.

As for the actual question, maybe voting rights are based on community service hours that year or having served in the armed forces. Perhaps even based on a limited number of ballots that are bought, sold, inherited, stolen, et cetera.

  Caz Abbott  Oh yes, let’s offer the giant multinational corporations (which already do their very best to buy and sell Senators) a chance to legitimately buy votes…

  Jennifer Coleman  +Caz Abbott My last suggestions were for a sci-fi novel. Not reality. Hence the mention of answering the actual question at hand.

  Caz Abbott  Aren’t sci-fi novels meant to be speculative fiction based on what we know of the real world? Heinlein often said that he began from a premis of, “If this goes on…” then what? Even named a story that.

  Jennifer Coleman  Then my last suggestion is clearly the best option considering that politicians and elections are already bought and sold.

  Jennifer Coleman  And, yes, that is one theory on sci-fi, but Heinlein is not the end-all-be-all on science fiction.

  AmyBeth Inverness  I read once about a political process where a group of citizens are summoned together, like for jury duty. Dozens or even hundreds of people. Then those people spend a day or days learning about the specific issue and being presented with arguments from all sides. In the end, that small body of citizens votes on that issue, and the decision is made.

I like that. I wrote it into one of my novels, but it does have a basis in contemporary politics, I just can’t remember what country (I’m thinking Netherlands?) or what it was called…

  Jennifer Coleman  Sounds similar to Athenian democracy.

  Samuel Falvo II  It sounds somewhat similar also to a variation of Participatory Economics, which similarly has some basis in reality, albeit not at scale.

I would love to hear what you think! Even if you are reading this post a year or more after publishing, I hope you will leave a comment with your own ideas on this topic.

The previous SciFi Q of the Day is Two Claudias

The shortlink for this post is

The next SciFi Q of the Day is Convicts or Corporations

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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5 Responses to SciFi Q of the Day: Restricting Voting Rights

  1. Pingback: SciFi Q of the Day: Two Claudias | AmyBeth Inverness

  2. Would you rather have a living space ship that healed itself, was easily fed, but had a mind of its own, or a constructed ship that was under your control but required a great deal of upkeep and fuel?

    FTL, folding space, jump gates, hyperspace… what other ideas are there for interstellar travel without having too much time pass between destinations?

  3. Hmm… some question about founding a colony on good, solid, even highly-moral principles, then having a faction of people who share 1/3 of your beliefs insinuate themselves in, then that faction gives the entire colony a bad reputation…

  4. Your own society is not flourishing, but there’s a colony on another planet that is. Unfortunately, the only way to immigrate there is to be a “mail order bride” (or husband)…

  5. Pingback: SciFi Q of the Day: Convicts or Corporations? | AmyBeth Inverness

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