Charley Reese Quote

“Unless they can pass the same test that immigrants must pass to become citizens, people shouldn't be allowed to vote. The idea that there is some public benefit in ignoramuses and morons pulling levers next to names on a ballot is one of the evil myths of post-modern America. The purpose of voting, in our country, is to select men and women with the competence and integrity to operate the mechanics of government fixed by our Constitution. For this process to have any public benefit requires that the choices be made on an intelligent, knowledgeable and reasoned basis.”

~ Charley Reese

The Orlando Sentinel, 11/03/98

Ratings and Comments

A. Jurgensen, Stuart, FL

But the constitution doesn't say anything about intelligence or having to know anything about how our government works...not that I'm aware.

KS, Queensbury,NY.

Bravo! Well said.

W. H. Wilhelm, Canton, Ohio

Isn't gonna happen. 3/4ths of the Democratic voter base would be eliminated. I do agree with Jurgensen though. Whatever happened to the rule / law you had to be a land-owner to vote? (What percentage of Americans' rent?)

Joel, Rochester, MI

Passing a test SOUNDS reasonable. And our representatives should have to pass a citizenship test before they run for office! BUT ... let's use a little "inteligent, knowledgeable and reasoned" thought for a moment. Requiring a test be passed before voting is anti-American and unconstitutional. So, Charley's quote is almost worthless.

Anonymous, reston, VA US

Those currently in power clearly agree with this too, as they are doing everything possible to dumb down our education system and concentrate power in the hands of the good-old boy rich landowner elite...

Bob, Reston

Pass a test? The way a voter can tell if they made a good choice is to live with it. Isn't that test enough?

To Anon in Reston - Concentration of power by landowners is the intent of the Senate, at least the way the founding fathers designed it! It was supposed to be balanced by the "average joes" in the House. The House members may be elite, but only to a small group in their district...

jodopo, michigan

Trust an intelligent observation on a very serious shortfall in our system to bring out the best and the worst amongst this column's readership. Reese hits the nail on the head - the dummies wind up having sore thumbs (and anxiety attacks!).

George, Troy, Michigan

Bob of Reston has the cart before the horse. The best way re voting is to have enough accurate and truthful information to make an intelligent choice amongst the candidates. Unfortunately the American people have been denied this information and opportunity for more than a century. Also, he screws up when he says - "The way a voter can tell if they made a good choice is to live with it." I think suffer would be more appropriate in light of what they must put up with today.

john-douglas, nassau

Reese is right. To bad every presidential candidate isn't subject to the same test - and must pass it with at least 80 percent right before standing for election.

Anon, Ohio

Great idea - even if I miss the boat.

Bill the Libertarian, Sarasota, FL

The success of individual liberty, which our Constitution created the Republic to preserve, depends upon individuals making intelligent choices. People make bad personal choices for themselves and they each bear the consequences, and learn to do better the next time. But if enough people make bad candidate choices, we all suffer, and very few of us will admit our mistake in order to learn from it.

Mike, Norwalk

Though the Constitution does not address qualifications to vote, the here quote's focus is sound and would hopefully increase an association to natural law, and decrease emotional voting for tyranny. Further, I would submit, because the individual is the sovereign and his servants only hirelings, that all votes should be attached to the voter's name (no secret ballets) "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." (Thomas Jefferson) With knowledge of freedom, liberty, law, and justice and a large manifest of courage the States United may be returned to We The People! ! !

Waffler, Smith

I give thumps down because I have met mucho ignoramusses who read and write and misinterpret history and facts even if though they appear to be knowledgeable. So many folk are twisted up with their prejudices and lack of common sense. Unknowing people may still have common sense.

Waffler, Smith

When Mike use s the term "We The People" he means "Him The People". If the majority of the people think differently than he then he is "We The People" and they are not.

J Carlton, Calgary

It would be nice to have a vpoter base that actually understands basoc economics and foreign policy, as opposed to "Yes we can, yes we can" morons...I blame the state sponsored education system for this.

jim k, Austin,Tx

I'm with Charley Reese on this and I would favor a poll tax. When you voted in Texas many years ago you paid a small fee to vote. I believe it was $1.75, you were given a receipt and showed it at the polling place before you could vote. This served to keep out at least some of the riff raff, you know, like people who still support Obama.

John Pettitt, Fredericksburg, va

While I agree that it is a shame that so many votes are not made by reason and facts. I dont think that it is wise to employ competency tests since they give too much power to the people making the tests.

cal, lewisville, tx

I'm with you Jim K. I remember when Lyndown Johnson stopped the poll tax and literacy test so dumb ignorants could vote for him.

  • Reply
RBESRQ    10/7/10

Obviously he didn't know about Diebold - when you have whores in the corridors of power and voting machines that are manipulated, one's vote no longer counts except to approve of the corrupt system we presently have in America. It's amazing, we call Chavez a dictator and yet he was elected by the people many times (on paper ballets) and American's think the good old USA is a democracy - what a joke. Now our covert operation in Ecuador and Bolivia is trying to overthrow Chavez - WHEN WILL AMERICANS WAKE UP to it's own third world status of corruption and demagoguery. Archer, I continued the thread... Jim, you are funny, don't you realize they all work for the same boss...

Jamie, Nelson

So, that's where "Reese's Pieces" come from? ;-]

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, FYI and for future reference, when I say: 'We The People' I mean each and/or any; a majority or minority have nothing to do with it, the meaning is individuals united. We The People includes me and you (we seldom agree) and each and every, any and all individual sovereigns, all having inherent unalienable rights.

Elaine, Oakwood

A lot of truth in that statement, but we cannot do it and call our country a Democracy, nor can we have freedom in that kind of voting. Had only good knowledgeable people voted the last go round we may have been better off but if you think about it we would have never started cleaning the House. But look what it cost us to learn that if we do not put time limits on these guys we will never get out of this mess. Everyone these days that are in politics or want to be in politics are either totally stupid and corrupt or just insane and corrupt.

E Archer, NYC

Wow -- interesting comments. Elaine, the USA is NOT a democracy -- it was never supposed to be. As W. H. Wilhelm and Bob from Reston have alluded to, the qualifications for having your vote counted for president and governor was being a land owner. The Senate was originally a body appointed by the governors of each state -- they were not elected. The House of Representatives were elected by land owners and tenants alike. The reason only land owners could be electors was because they were the ones with the most to lose as the proletariat could simply vote away the land from the land owners. By the way, only in America could a person actually own land in freehold and in allodium (in Europe all land was/is owned by the Crown) -- that is to say it could not be liened against or taxed by any one.

The constitution of the Senate changed with the Reconstruction Amendments following the Civil War as another restraint against state sovereignty and the promotion of supremacy of Washington, DC (contrary to the republican principles of the founders). There are no land owners now (except for those few who retain their land patents) -- all else is held as collateral for the federal debt -- including you as your birth certificate will attest.

The US government is operating under a state of permanent bankruptcy to the Federal Reserve with all land, property, money, people and labors held as collateral. As RBE has alluded to, it is the counting of the ballots that counts, not the casting of them. Anyone ever check into how one gets his/her name on a ballot in the first place? ;-) Incumbents need only a few signatures, new comers need thousands. Why shouldn't we have 5 or 6 choices instead of 2? After all, we do not have to choose only McDonald's or Burger King, we can choose KFC or Wendy's or sushi! It is because the ruling class can control one or two parties, it cannot control dozens of parties or millions of individuals.

And in case people have forgotten about the Electoral College, there is yet another proof that the USA is not a democracy and was intended to protect itself from popular democracy. I have often thought that at age 18 or so, one should be provided with the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution to sign oneself thus declaring oneself and acquiring the right to vote.

E Archer, NYC

RBE, I have continued our thread. Maybe the rest of the gang might be interested:

  • Reply
    RBESRQ    10/7/10

    Archer, thank you. It's nearly 9pm. I was at a luncheon with Charlie Christ today and then onto a fund raiser for Equality Florida so would you mind terribly if I got your your thread in the morning. Thanks for you patience.

    Justin, Elkland

    Far simpler than a test, those on the dole should have no vote.

    Lise, lewisville

    Too many Americans don't have even a basic understanding of our country's fundamental principle's. Many haven't read the Constitution or The Bill of Rights etc... The far left have these documents memorized so that they may use them against us by obfuscation, distortion and lying.

    Ronw13, OR

    Archer's overview of the Siege upon our Popular Republican form of government, should be the main platform for "debate" concerning this election cycle. 
    "Promote then, as an object of Primary importance, institution for general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened." Washington's Farewell Address
    WWG1WGA, MAGA moves in the right direction. 

    Jim, Albany

    As servants of us , the pols. need to be held accountable by holding them accountable to their Oath of Office, violate the oath and your not eligible for office in the future when your time is up you're done.

    E Archer, NYC
    • Reply
    E Archer, NYC Jim, Albany 10/31/18

    Most congress people do not actually sign their oaths or ever file them officially.  Notice that none are charged with violating their oaths of office.  Politicians lie continuously and avoid ever telling the truth whenever possible to protect themselves from ever testifying under oath.  Their whole currency is 'promises'  if ever caught that their word means nothing, the currency would be worthless.


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