On Wednesday morning, the hosts of Fox News’ morning show Fox & Friends agreed that anyone who wants to vote in the U.S. should have to pass a test about American History to demonstrate that they are at least minimally cognizant of the issues they are voting on.
“We have talked many times about the state of education in this country,” said Steve Doocy. “(K)ids graduate from high school, and they don’t know squat. So there is at least one state that is suggesting if you want to pass and graduate from high school, you’ve got to pass the same 100-question test that we apply to immigrants who want to become American citizens.”
Doocy then suggested that a similar test should be instituted for Americans who want to vote.
“Okay, you’ve got to answer those questions correctly to become a citizen of the United States,” he said. “I think not only would it be great if high school students had to have a proficiency in America, but I think they should have a test before you vote.”
“That’d be great,” agreed co-host Brian Kilmeade.
During the post-Civil War, “Jim Crow” era, states in the American south that wanted to restrict black people’s access to the polls used a number of methods to keep them from voting, one of which was the nefarious “literacy test.” Some states gave tests that asked basic questions like, “Who is the Secretary of State of the United States,” but others posed extremely complicated, vaguely worded, sometimes nonsensical questions to confuse and frustrate would-be black voters.
One such test, from Louisiana in the 1960s, asked, “Write every other word in this first line and print every third word in same line (original type smaller and first line ended at comma) but capitalize the fifth word that you write.”
“Write right from the left to the right as you see it spelled here,” it said in another question. The test had to be taken in 10 minutes or less and a single “wrong” answer was enough to disqualify a person from voting.
With regards to “the state of education in this country,” Fox News viewers have been found in survey after survey to be less accurately informed about world events than people who don’t watch the news at all.
Watch the video, embedded below via Media Matters: