An Open Letter to Writers of Louisiana Constitutional Amendments
Dear Creators of Constitutional Amendments,
You're trying to trick us again, aren't you? Even if you aren't it sure seems that way. Have you read those eight amendments we the people are supposed to vote on in Tuesday's election?
Of course, you have, you wrote them. That's why you wrote them the way you did. You are advantaged and I would hazard to guess there aren't too many on the committee that conjured up these amendments that would classify themselves as high school dropouts, right?
However, it's possible that almost ten percent of the voters who make a choice on these amendments are. In fact, there's a pretty good chance that the majority of registered voters in the state won't be able to completely understand these "important changes to our Constitution" because of the way they are written.
I took the opportunity to plug in the verbiage of just one amendment into an online site that determines the grade-reading level at which it is written. The site used several methods to score the passage, one method suggested the verbiage was presented at a 10.5-grade reading level while yet another said the verbiage would be more appropriate for those who read at a 13th-grade level.
Although the overall score given by the site suggested the "readability" of the passage was at Grade Level 10 the website did note the passage was "difficult to read" for students at that level.
Y'all, the majority of people in Louisiana do not read at those levels. It is estimated that across the nation 21% of adults are illiterate and 54% of adults struggle to read at a 6th-grade level. In other words, the verbiage of your Constitutional Amendments is above the heads of most of us who have the right to vote.
This means, we really don't know what we are voting for or against and if the language is written in such a way that a "No" vote actually means yes and a "Yes" vote means no. You guys are sneaky and do that kind of stuff far too often in these amendments, that's my opinion anyway.
How about this for a Constitutional Amendment?
All Constitutional Amendments shall be written for a grade-reading level that is one grade below the average reading level for the state. In other words, if the majority of Louisiana residents read at a ninth-grade level then amendments must be written at an eighth-grade level.
And if you say "we can't write amendments without legal phrases and double-talk" then make a commitment to raise the literacy rate of the state instead of opting to "fancy-talk" your way into screwing the future of Louisiana by offering these amendments that only the learned and the entitled who stand to make a huge profit understand.
Or, maybe you're content to let your arch-enemy "The Media" dumb them down. But if you do that you run the risk of a "spin" against your pet projects. So, that probably wouldn't work either.
We can't do better until we are ALL doing better. At least, that's my two cents I am sure one of you will find a way to pocket that money for your campaign fund.
Not-So-Nice Nicknames for 10 Louisiana Towns