Continuing with "What should an Educated Citizen be Able to do?
#5. Be able to think for himself/herself.
When the Founding Fathers decided upon our form of government, they were looking at the educated, land owners, males, non-slaves, and no women. They wanted the decision-makers and the stake holders who had something to lose if their decisions went wrong. Things have definately changed in today's society, economically, socially, governmentally and decisive decision makers. The vote has been widened to qualified citizens over 18. When a person goes into the balloting stall he must have his decision made up on the people and issues, based on research, discussion, reasoned thought, personal feelings, etc. But, more importantly, the voter needs to think for him/herself.
You know, the ballot didn't used to be taken like it is today. Back at the turn of the 20th Century, voters voted at an open table infront of individuals. It was not a secret ballot. Many/most of the times, your boss, the mob boss, the union boss, the precinct captains were the ones that were on the other side of the table watching you make your marks. If you wanted to keep your job and your job supervisor was on the other side of the table, you had better vote the way he wanted you to vote, or you did not have a job the next day. There was enough abuse to have entire cities run by "Tammany Hall" in New York, or the "Daily Machine" in Chicago. This abuse came to Congress' ears and they changed the way the ballot was marked. The did their research and found what is known as the "Australian Ballot", or the secret ballot as it is done today. A person receives their ballot, goes to a closed stall where his votes can be marked in secret, without intimidation.
So, a person today does not have the fear of earlier ballots and is dependent upon his own research, intuitions, pressure received, feelings, whatever is the makeup in the person's Frame of Reference, and faith. When it comes down to it, you have to think for yourself, make up your own mind, live and defend your particular decision when challenged. You should realize you do not have to explain your vote to anyone. What goes on in the voting booth is completely secret, only you can let the cat out of the bag.