In Against Democracy, Georgetown University political philosopher Jason Brennan presents his case for epistocracy.

Do any countries or states require citizens to pass a knowledge-based test before voting?

Although I'm interested in debating the merits of epistocracy, I'd like to know if any country actually employs a knowledge test.


1 Answer 1


In the Pre-Civil Rights Act South, several states implemented "voter literacy tests" which voters had to pass in order to be allowed to vote.

These test included reading some paragraph of law, writing out dictated phrases, and answering written questions about both civics and general topics.

In general these tests were really designed to be as confusing as possible for black people to deny them suffrage.

Take a look at some of these tests: https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/06/voting-rights-and-the-supreme-court-the-impossible-literacy-test-louisiana-used-to-give-black-voters.html


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    They were confusing for many white people as well, but there were always "grandfather clauses": if your grandfather had had the right to vote, you would have that right without a need of taking the test. Of course, the idea of such clause was that the grandfathers of black people would have been slaves and would have not have voting rights, while the grandfathers of white people would have had those rights.
    – SJuan76
    Jul 9, 2019 at 7:57

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