Must Voters Be Knowledgeable?

In this Wireless Philosophy video, Geoff Pynn (Elgin Community College) considers the idea of making your right to vote conditional on how much you know. One of the main reasons children aren’t allowed to vote is that they’re thought to lack the knowledge needed to make an informed choice. Knowledge requirements on voting have a notorious history in the US, since so-called “literacy tests” were a powerful weapon in the arsenal of segregationists. But are there philosophical reasons to reserve voting rights for those who can demonstrate sufficient political knowledge?
Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Elgin Community College

I work at Northern Illinois University. I teach on a wide range of topics. My research centers on epistemology. I’m also interested in creating connections between professional philosophers and ordinary people.

From 2011-2017, I was the the graduate adviser for NIU’s successful MA program in philosophy. I maintain a listing of funding at MA programs in the US and Canada.

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