Proving Knowledge in Governance

In our society today, you need to take and pass an exam for a good deal of things. You need to pass an exam to enter college or graduate school, and thereafter, an exam to earn a license to become a doctor, lawyer, electrician, plumber or even a hairstylist.

However, you don’t presently face an exam to run for office.

That is something the Alliance Party would change through a proposed Official Election Exam, which would be a test that every prospective candidate would take before running for office, with the results posted for public review.

Each question within this test would have definitively correct answers, and would cover material from government structure, the Constitution, history, geography and general knowledge on science, technology and the humanities. If you’re seeking to run our government and society, we believe you ought to demonstrate your knowledge about government and society to the people who will be impacted most by your job performance.

While we would propose the test by way of legislation to be voluntary across the board, under internal Alliance Party rules, all future prospective candidates running on the Alliance Party ticket would be mandated to take the test and publicly post the results.

In this model, the Official Election Exam would serve two primary functions:

First: Inform the public of how knowledgeable candidates are on the subjects they will be passing laws on – a question that should carry far more weight than it does presently. Voters should have unbiased data to assess a candidate’s aptitude to represent their interests in government – they shouldn’t be forced to rely solely on PR spin, flashy television ads and sound bites.

Second: Determine the order of presentation in debates and election ballots, as opposed to alphabetical order by last name – the way candidates usually appear today. In this model, candidates who scored highest on the exam would appear first, and would descend based on score. This way, voters would initially see and consider the best and brightest first.

As stated earlier, this test wouldn't be mandated for other parties, but it doesn’t need to be, either. If a candidate wants to explain to the public (most of whom must take tests to get hired for work) why the same is somehow beneath them, they’re free to do so. But as poor leadership is perhaps shown clearest through hypocrisy, we're content to let that action speak for itself.

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