April 12th, 2011
06:04 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Voting isn't for the uninformed

New CNN columnist LZ Granderson received more than 1,000 comments last week on his column about Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Trump’s disagreement about race. This week, he responded to some of them in a video (seen above) and wrote a column asserting that voters should have to take tests to prove that they are worthy to cast ballots. The comments for this week's column are highlighted below.

Comment of the day: “Like Churchill said, the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” –biorod

Pass a test to vote

Many CNN.com readers agreed with Granderson this week:

maxemoose said, “Twenty percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. It’s no wonder we make no progress on major scientific issues. I suspect the only people who will be against this man's point of view are people who actually lack knowledge of our government and how it works. I 100 percent agree with this guy.” eddiev5 said, “This is a brilliant commentary. Probably one of the best commentaries I have seen on CNN. Both political parties would be largely reduced in size if there was some sort of U.S. common knowledge test.”

edudmis said, “As the husband of an immigrant, I have found that my wife and her family, who have all taken and passed the citizen test, have a far better understanding of our government than 80 percent of the people I talk to who are born in this country. I agree it's odd we require a test to drive a car but not for equally important tasks like voting (or even more so, having children)." Firedog51 asked, “Can we start with the demographic that watches FOX news?”

Readers also had various reasons for disagreeing with Granderson:

Wolfedg said, “It would be too easy for such a law to be twisted so that "ignorant" refers to those who disagree with certain political, social or moral viewpoints.” bdgfn said, “I agree with the premise, just not with the solution. It would be a dangerous precedent to set, inevitably leading to prohibiting someone from voting whose thoughts and ideas differ from some pre-conceived ideal.”

And some readers had their own ideas for attaining voting rights:

Dokk3n said, “Only let TAXPAYERS and people with a SSN vote. We would have a different president now.” Zebula said, “Similarly, people should have to pass an intelligence test to procreate. That would eventually eliminate the need for these other tests.” Daveinla said, “I have a better idea: only allow those who have paid taxes and served in the military to vote.”

Enough ‘soul’ in surfer movie?

How religion was treated in "Soul Surfer," the film based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton's attack by a shark and her journey back to surfing, has sparked a debate. According to some people involved in the film, the portrayal of Hamilton’s religious convictions — even references to Christian terms — was heavily debated on set.

CNN.com readers largely agreed on what they thought was appropriate:

Kat said, “I'm an atheist, but am not bothered by including her faith in the movie. From this article, it sounds like her relationship with God is very important to her and played a big role in her recovery effort. The entire movie is about her, so why wouldn't you include it? It also sounds like it would be important to include specific scripture that inspired or helped her. Again, why not? It's what actually happened.”

CSmith responded, “Thank you for that honest and rational assessment. Too many staunch atheists have, in truth, moved beyond reason and act with just as much animalistic hate toward anyone who disagrees with them as they criticize religions and the religious for doing. It's good to see there are still some who are not violently allergic to words like God, belief, faith, and religion.”

Martin also responded, “Thank you Kat. I am a Christian and I respect your right to not believe in God. I'm glad we agree about how movies that portray people of faith should reflect the reality of their life including their faith. I would also agree that a movie about the life of someone who does not believe in God should portray their live and beliefs just as accurately."

MovingMarketing said, “Everyone regardless of faith forgets that making and selling movies are a business. The movie industry is out to make money on its product, plain and simple. If they market a movie to only one group of people they are limiting its appeal to people outside of its scope.”

Romney takes step toward presidential run

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, announced Monday that he was setting up a presidential exploratory committee, allowing him to begin to raise funds for a White House bid.

Most CNN.com readers said they didn’t think Romney would win:

ConservaFascists/FUBAR said, “Good luck running on RomneyCare/ObamaCare.” Andrew said, “That's right GOP, rehash the worst of the worst. Next we need McCain to throw his hat into the cesspool.” NewRome said, “America will not vote for this Mormon Presidential candidate. The GOP knows this. Donald Trump has more chance winning because of his centrist appeal.” Kirk said, “This should be an easy win for Obama then.” But Eli said, “Mitt Romney: The adult in the room.”

CNN Poll: Trump tied for first in GOP horse race

Nineteen percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they'd support Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination; the same percentage said the same for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. What did readers think?

Rhona said, “Excellent. If he's the best the Repubs can muster, it is going to be a walk in the park for Obama in 2012." Louis said, “The stupidity of the American voter has no limits." Bob Dog said, “This is great news for America. Mr. Trump is just the ego-maniacal hypocrite we need to destroy any possible Republican chance in 2012.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. DWest

    The smartest people have voted for the worst candidates.... and vice versa.

    April 14, 2011 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. TvNYC

    The name of my business is http://www.liveweatherblogs.com

    April 14, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  3. SteveFtGreene

    Perhaps one way to keep the understanding government from being a specialty would be to change campaign rules to limit the amount of television advertising which contains little, if any, substantive information about a candidate. An emphasis on print (and online) material should make it a lot easier to know just what a candidate is about. A lot more real information and a lot less emotional appeals would result in someone actually learning information about a candidate other than how to feel about him. I shouldn't have to do special research to know a candidate's platform when millions are being spent on television ads.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Ok this is something that should have been done from the beginning because so many people vote for the wrong reasons but then again no one that we vote for does what they say they are going to do Im thinking the politicians should have to take a test in order to get into office!

    April 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I'm about to give up on voting anyway doesn't solve anything and politics has just degenerated into a cheap circus act anyway and only the politicians benefit from it so why waste my time...

    April 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Aaron

    Literacy tests were banned by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 precisely because they were being used to discriminate against minority voters; an intelligence test could be used toward the same ends, so I do not believe an intelligence test should be used to determine whether a person should be allowed to exercise their right to vote.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Henry

    you don't have to be a rocket scientist to have an opinion regardless if the person is the dumbest person you will ever meet. Our country is the land of the "free" even for the not so bright minded. This is just another tactic for leaders to strip the rights of the people. Wake up nation the truth is that the government hates all of us. They put aAmericansagainst eeach-otherby sseparation I was walking home the other day and I saw a middle school being dismissed it was upsetting what i saw LLatinoswith Latinos Whites with Whites Blacks with Blacks and race isn't the only seseparationhere were the "Tight jean guys" and the "GaGangsterants" guys. Our nation has allowed seseparationnstead of working together to change this nation. There might be minorities, but we as the people, WE ARE THE MAJORITY! We are wall street it's our tax paying dollars that are going into everything you see around you. Make a difference don't let sperseparation in between you and the bottom line. We can all come to agreement that we as the "middle class" are tired of playing the "G'ottcha Game" it's getting old!

    April 15, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      I'm not sure what the heck happened on my first comment but here we go again 🙂

      you don't have to be a rocket scientist to have an opinion regardless if the person is the dumbest person you will ever meet. Our country is the land of the "free" even for the not so bright minded. This is just another tactic for leaders to strip the rights of the people. Wake up nation the truth is that the government hates all of us. They put Americans against each-other by separation I was walking home the other day and I saw a middle school being dismissed it was upsetting what i saw Latinos with Latinos Whites with Whites Blacks with Blacks and race isn't the only seseparation there was the "Tight jean guys" and the "Gangster pants" guys. Our nation has allowed seseparation instead of working together to change this nation. There might be minorities, but we as the people, WE ARE THE MAJORITY! We are wall street it's our tax paying dollars that are going into everything you see around you. Make a difference don't let separation in between you and the bottom line. We can all come to agreement that we as the "middle class" are tired of playing the "G'ottcha Game" it's getting old!

      April 15, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dontbow

    Again blacks involve race on everything under their sun. It is true talking about race helps but it doesn't help if you always point to it as the problem or use it as a crutch like so many blacks and minorities do. This is why white people get po'd when they are forced to take diversity surveys or training where we are made out to feel like the bad guy. Perhaps some thought should go on the other side as well. Most places now days go overboard trying to not look racist. Whoopi is wrong on many account and she is more racist then most whites from alot of her comments iv'e heard. She always talks about race being the problem whatever it is. Get off it whoopi, the whining needs to stop because it doesn't help the problem at all. The point is a simple one, why cannot obama produce a valid birth certificate? We should ask this of anyone who runs for president and obama should not get a pass because he is black(turning the tables).

    Fox news is the only real news out there for people who have brains. If you want to be a tool of liberal political bs then come to cnn because it doesn't appear they employ one conservative writer and that is discrimination to the utmost. I wonder if cnn cares about real american tax payers or just bashing them for not voting their way.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. easynan

    Good such stupidity ! Shut the ......up Donald used car salesman Trump. Why does the media constantly spout this garbage.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. beam

    the author said it all- "at least two wars"

    How can the electorate make informed decisions when they don't even know how many countries they are bombing.

    April 16, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. avsecbostjan

    WHAT DO EUROPE, USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA ETC. HAVE COMMON WITH LIBYA !!? DICTATORS vs DIC TRAITORS !!! What is worse !!!? LEARN TRUTH ABOUT LIBYA AND ARAB WORLD CIVIL RIOTS WHICH NEWS/MEDIA DOESN'T WANT YOU KNOW ABOUT OR SEE AND THEREFORE LIE JUST AS ORDERED BY USA FOREIGN DPT. OF AFFAIRS http://dictatorsvsdictraitors.wordpress.com/ – http://dictraitorsvsdictators.blogspot.com/ OR CONTINUE FOR FULL VERSION OF "DICTATOR OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH – USA = SOVIET UNION"..TO LEARN WHO, HOW, AND WHY RUINED YOU…FROM 911 TO WHITE AMERICAN REFUGEES IN EXILE SEEKING ASYLUM RIGHT NOW – WHO/WHY//HOW CREATED SCHOOL SHOOTINGS(Arizona incl.) – AUSTRALIAN FLOODS – BREAST FEEDING INSANITY PROTESTS – WIKILEAKS is CIA – HUMAN FLASH EATING MACHINE – TRUTH BEHIND COLD WAR CURTAIN – MULTICULTURALISM AND SWINE/PIG FLUE SYNDROME BROTHERHOOD – TRUTH ABOUT FACEBOOK(Facebooth) – EUROPEAN NATIONALIST PARTIES OR HEAVILY LOADED WITH LIES SINKING WRECKS – ESKIMO SARAH PALIN'S "BRIDGE TO NOWHERE" – NEWS/MEDIA OR SIMPLY BIG FAT VACUUM WORLD OF LIES/DEMENTIA !!? – THE REAL DON'T ASK DON'T TELL, BUT DIE !!! NWO POLITICAL PARTIES <- not there for you, but to seal your faith for their parliament pay$$ scale !!! http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.com/

    April 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. xlion

    A test for voters, why not? Only you should be allowed to cheat and shouldn't have to answer any question you don't want to answer, just like the politicians you are voting for.

    April 19, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
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