Most people are too uninterested/unintelligent to become well-informed citizens. It's sad but it's true. Having uninformed citizens voting is dangerous to the republic for obvious reasons. It's the same reason we don't have convicted felons, prisoners, children, and illegal immigrants voting. Therefore, I propose that not everyone should be voting, and only qualified individuals who have demonstrated their ability to comprehend the political process should be allowed to vote.
But isn't that scary? I mean, you're basically telling people they can't vote.
Yes we do that all the time. Convicted felons can't vote in many states, and neither can people in prison.
But these people haven't done anything wrong!
Neither have children. I ask you what has a legal immigrant with a green card done wrong? They're not allowed to vote, and they haven't done anything wrong. Do you agree with that?
But they're not citizens!
So what? Children are, and they're not allowed to vote. How do you reconcile that obvious contradiction? (Note: felons and prisoners are also citizens).
But children aren't competent to vote!
Aha! And here is the issue: neither are most Americans. At some point you have to acknowledge that some people under the age of 18 are competent to vote, whereas some people over the age of 18 are not. Therefore, a fairer system would utilize a test (similar to a drivers license) to determine who is allowed to vote and who is not.
Who decides what gets put on the test?
The government obviously. The same people who decide what is on the citizenship test, of which you probably have no concern. They're the same guys who decide how much taxes you will pay and how your money will be spent, and how much your life is worth should they decide to sacrifice you in order to "spread democracy."
Couldn't this system be abused, in order to disenfranchise voters?
Certainly, but then again you have that problem anywhere the government is involved. The only people who would be disenfranchised under such a system would be the incompetent, and that is a good thing. There is no reason to believe the test would be unreasonable because it would be standardized (i.e. you don't have different tests for different groups of people). The same bullshit argument could be made against drivers licenses because they favor people with cars. Yes, that is a requirement, tough shit.
So what kinds of questions are you talking about?
Basic questions about our government and the political process. For example, the Constitution. Not unlike questions you would find on a U.S. Citizenship Test. Perhaps some history as well.
Wouldn't that be easy? I mean, I could pass a citizenship test.
Don't be so sure, most Americans couldn't. The only ones who would be able to pass it would be the ones who take the time to inform themselves and keep themselves informed. The test would have to be retaken over a certain interval of time just like a drivers license.
Wouldn't people just study for the test and take it and forget everything?
This assumes that most Americans care enough about voting to inform themselves. The facts disagree with this basic premise. It's quite possible that most people would simply forego that opportunity and not vote because of the hassle. But if they did, that's fine too. There is nothing wrong with a well-informed electorate, nothing at all. After all, that is the goal here. It is not to disenfranchise voters, but rather to create a better informed public.