The last time the United States had any kind of pre-voting tests was prior to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Blacks were required to take “literacy tests” before they could register where registrars were basically given free reign to approve or deny people. Eventually, these were deemed unconstitutional and overturned with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The literacy tests were created with the specific intent of blocking certain people, blacks, from voting; creating knowledge tests would be doing essentially the same thing. The current qualifications should remain as they are because it is impossible to ensure everyone has enough information available to them to pass the test, it is impossible to determine what qualifies as sufficient knowledge, and it is impossible to find unbiased registrars to run the process.
In the age of technology; lack of a television, computer, or internet seems far fetched. However, there are still cases in America where people are without TV, cable, and internet or really any other means of educating themselves on the candidates and their positions. Of course, the argument is to weed out these very people. If there were to be some form of qualifications, the government would be certainly required to provide these people with television or internet or programs to educate these people, which would be an absolute waste of spending. It is also well within the rights of Americans to consciously object the use of these objects or even consciously object to learning anything about the candidates (if they so chose) and go out and vote strictly based on party alliance. The point is, it is difficult if not impossible to make information and education available to every American and from a spending aspect it would cost way too much.
Next, it is impossible to determine what constitutes sufficient knowledge on the subject. Does one need to know health care policy in and out or what about abortion? It is impossible to set a standard for what someone needs to know in order to vote. Issues across the board are so polarizing and they all have different answers so how does someone new to the process know which answer is correct on the test? If the test is strictly based on candidates positions on the issues and not the issues themselves then how do uninformed people know which side to pick if they only learn the candidates positions and not the issues. The fact is, there is no standard for what someone needs to know to vote, therefore, there can be no intelligence qualifications to vote.
Finally, nationwide, it is next to impossible to find people that are completely unbiased. So the question becomes, how do you find workers that will work within the system and be fair. Much like the literacy tests of the 60’s, people could potentially deny voters on the basis of party allegiance or even race. When it comes to grading the tests, unless it is graded by computer, there could be cheating. In such a case that it was taken and graded by a computer, the system could be cheated by people memorizing answers and passing them on. Also, providing computers for this test to every county, in every state in the country would be another unnecessary spending spree for the government.
The idea of having minimal qualifications for voting is in theory a good idea. No one can deny that having all voters educated on the issues and the candidates is a good idea. However, it is not feasible and is inherently unconstitutional. It would deny the under-privileged and poor Americans the right to vote, which would certainly be a violation of the voting rights act. Everyone has the right to vote no matter what they choose as their reasoning.
Verdict: Bad Idea. The voting qualifications in America should remain the same.