I have never been an advocate of the popular notion that "everyone should vote." Some people look at me as if I am somehow un-American when I say that I am not in favor of encouraging people to vote who would otherwise never darken the door of a polling place. I really don't want someone on the streets of Hollywood, who just failed to identify the vice president of the United States on one of Jay Leno's "Jay-Walking" segments, helping to select the person who will lead my government for the next four years.
So here is a basic, common-sense test that every American wishing to exercise the right to vote should answer (I'm sure in this dumbed-down era in which we live we will have to come up with multiple choice answers to make it easier, but here are some preliminary questions):
Â Â 1. Name the three branches of the federal government.
Â Â 2. Name the current president and vice president of the United States.
Â Â 3. How long have they served?
Â Â 4. How long is the president allowed to serve?
Â Â 5. How many members are there in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Â Â 6. How are House Members chosen?
Â Â 7. How long is their term in office?
Â Â 8. How long are they allowed to serve?
Â Â 9. Name the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Â 10. Which party currently holds the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Â 11. How many members are there in the U.S. Senate?
Â 12. How are U.S. Senators normally chosen?
Â 13. How long is a U.S. Senator's term in office?
Â 14. How long are they allowed to serve?
Â 15. Name the current majority leader of the U.S. Senate.
Â 16. Which party currently holds the majority in the U.S. Senate?
Â 17. How many individuals currently sit on the United States Supreme Court?
Â 18. Name three of them.
Â 19. How are members of the U.S. Supreme Court selected?
Â 20. How long can Supreme Court Justices serve?
Â 21. What is an electoral vote?
Â 22. How many electoral votes are currently required in order to elect the president and vice president?
Â 23. How is the president selected if he/she fails to receive the required number of electoral votes?
Â 24. How is the vice president selected if he/she fails to receive the required number of electoral votes?
Â 25. What is an executive order?
Â 26. How is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed?
Â 27. How many constitutional conventions has the United States had?
If a potential voter could not answer at least 18 of these questions (two-thirds), he/she should not be allowed to vote. How did you do? Need to study up? Answers are below:
1) Executive, Legislative, Judicial;
2) George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney;
3) Since January 20, 2001;
4) Two four-year terms (or no more than ten years if serving the remainder of a previous term);
6) By popular vote within their state congressional district;
7) Two years;
8) No limit;
9) Nancy Pelosi;
11) 100 [two from each state];
12) By statewide popular vote within their state;
13) Six years;
14) No limit;
15) Harry Reid;
18) the nine [in no particular order] are: John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, David Souter, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Paul Stevens, Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy;
19) Nominated by the president, approved by a simple majority of the U.S. Senate;
21) Each state receives one electoral vote for each member of its congressional delegation;
23) By a vote of the U.S. House of Representatives;
24) By a vote of the U.S. Senate;
25) a presidential decree requiring no congressional approval;
26) By a vote of two-thirds of the congress and three-fourths of the state legislatures or through a constitutional convention;