In our Zambian Constitution, every person who is above the age of 18yrs old is eligible to vote. It does not matter whether the person with this right is able to understand and reason. As long as a person is Zambian and has reached the age of 18yrs old, they have a constitutional right to vote. It is my considered opinion that the right to vote is a very important right which ought to be given to person who have the requisite mental state to make right decisions for the country. There is need to have certain restrictions on the right to vote. This is more poignant in Zambia where a big constituency of the voters are in most cases non compos mentis. Most of our voters are literally instructed on how to vote. They are told that if they vote a particular way, they will be provided with alcohol and cigarettes. Some are given as little as K20 for them to vote a certain way. If we have to uphold the virtue of universal suffrage, we also need to consider the vice of confused, illiterates having this very important right which in the end determines the destiny of a country. It is my considered view that there needs to be some safeguards with regard to persons who have the right to vote. A person with this important right must be able to discern what is right and what is wrong. The voting rationale in our country is worrying. If people continue to vote in this way, we may find ourselves with a leadership which will be so grotesque that we shall NEVER recover as a nation. The fallacy of universal suffrage must be re-examined!Illiterate people should not vote � Zambian Watchdog
I don't live in Zambia but here I would go one step further, I would make a formal diploma for voting. The logic is simple: Not everyone can be a doctor, you have to go to school first. Not everyone can drive a car, you need to have a license. Driving a country should be no different.
It is important not to blame people who are unable or unwilling to learn how things work. These people expect other people to organize things for them. They hope other people will do a good job, that they will put the required effort into the work, that they do the job to the best of their ability, they expect carefully consideration of all the options and expect these others to keep them in mind in the process.
As they themselves do not fit that description it should make perfect sense to them. It is nice and simple like that.
One could make the system with a series of diplomas (for example 10) that will give you 1 extra vote each. A special committee can be created who make sure that the diplomas are neutral, relevant and that the majority of people can obtain all 10 with modest effort.
The first diploma could ask who won the last election and one should name all of the candidates in that election as well as the current one. Each candidate should make a list of his 2 major agenda points and the students should know these.
The second diploma could ask who won the previous 2 elections, who were electable in those and he should know 2 major agenda points of each previous candidate and 4 for the current ones. If the agenda points are clear enough, for previous winning candidate the student must know if he or she actually implemented those 2 agenda points. If the points are to vague this question is left out.
The 3rd, 3 previous elections, for those 4 agenda points, all 6 for the current ones. And again, if the previous candidates did what they promised to do.
And so on
Think about it, if one doesn't know what the current candidates stand for one can hardly be expected to know which one is best?
The extra fun is in having the candidates actually put their top 6 agenda points in writing. Normally they avoid having an opinion because each opinion costs voters.
A comment on the article describes something similar:
I suggest that votes should be weighted according to ones academic qualifications, i;e
Grade 0 to 7; Vote equal to 1
Grade 8 to12; vote equal to 2
College level; vote equal to 3
First Degree; vote equal to 4
Masters and PhD; vote equal to 6
This way, it will ensure that only well informed people can change the government, while also taking into account trivail issues from our uneducated population. Surely my Masters degree vote cant be equal to my brother's grade 5 education. Lets introduce the lower and upper vote, which our dear colonial masters applied to keep the uneducated natives from having the powers to change governments.
These colonial masters are full of good ideas! ....well....ok, maybe not.... but the fact such a system ever existed begs for research.