Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 05, 2008

ID rule protects integrity of vote

Unlike the writer of the editorial criticizing the Supreme Court for upholding Indiana's voter identification law ("A voting setback," April 30), I believe the court's decision was correct.

We need a photo ID for driving, traveling, banking, buying pharmaceuticals, etc.

I believe most people, even among the elderly and the poor, already have one to do one or more of these daily tasks.

Voting is a right and it should be taken seriously, with a little regulation to ensure the legitimacy of our votes.

D. B. Clendaniel, Bel Air

The Sun's editors fail to recognize that a greater threat to our republic than difficulty getting access to the ballot box is that fraud will render our votes irrelevant.

Every vote cast fraudulently by noncitizens or by someone posing as a deceased voter nullifies a true vote cast by a citizen. And, in a society where ID is needed to use credit cards, cash checks, board an airplane or enter the Maryland State House, asking for proof of the validity of one's vote is not unreasonable.

It is laughable for The Sun to say that Maryland has come closer to the democratic ideal than Indiana does, when our elections can more easily be stolen by invalid votes.

Wayne Smith, Glen Burnie

Courts won't allow a new poll tax

The editorial "A voting setback" (April 30) expressed concern over the Supreme Court ruling upholding Indiana's voter identification law and suggested, "It gives a green light to those who want to impose contemporary versions of poll taxes and literacy tests."

However, in 1964 the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution disallowed the poll tax as a prerequisite for voting in federal elections.

Further, a 1966 Supreme Court ruling proclaimed that a poll tax violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and thus extended this prohibition to all elections.

I hardly think that, in light of such decisions, we need to be overly concerned that any attempt "to impose a contemporary version of any poll tax" would withstand judicial review.

Chuck Marks, Perry Hall

Md. allows voters to use many IDs

Unlike the Indiana legislature and the U.S. Supreme Court, the General Assembly of Maryland has appropriately balanced making it easier for citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote and reducing the risk of election fraud ("A voting setback," editorial, April 30).

In Maryland, if your identity is challenged on Election Day, you can use several forms of identification to prove that you are who you are: a voter registration card, a valid Maryland driver's license, a Social Security card, any state- or federal government-issued ID, any employment card with a photo ID or a copy of a current bill, bank statement, government check or other government document that shows your name and current address.

This procedure is part of the Voter's Rights Protection Act of 2005, which we introduced. It was enacted over the veto of then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Efforts to deny the franchise are more subtle today than they were when peaceful demonstrators were bloodied in Selma, Ala.

They are no less harmful to our democracy.

Lisa Gladden Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, a state senator and a state delegate.

Unfair stigma faces the mentally ill

Kudos to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for his statements acknowledging the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and his efforts to remove that stigma ("Treating 'unseen wounds,'" May 2).

Having a mental illness has long been perceived as something shameful. In fact, mental illnesses are physical disorders caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.

A person who suffers from a mental illness is no more responsible for his or her illness than someone who suffers from other genetically influenced disorders like diabetes or cystic fibrosis.

We as a society need to learn that people with mental illness deserve the same compassion and acceptance that we extend to those with more obvious physical problems.

Bob Wirtz, Baltimore

The writer is a teacher and a volunteer for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Democrats cower before race-baiting

I am a lifelong Democrat who is now ashamed of the Democratic Party.

In the build-up to the disastrous Iraq war, the party cowered in the face of the right-wing media attack machine and caved in out of fear of looking weak and unpatriotic.

And many Democrats are doing so again in the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. affair.

ln the face of the barrage of phony "outrage" and the gleeful 24/7, reruns of Pastor Wright's admittedly over-the-top rhetoric, the Democratic leadership (with a few brave exceptions) has chosen once again to show no backbone.

Indeed, Sen. Hillary Clinton herself has chosen to exploit the outrage rather than stand for principle. And it appears to be working for her, if only temporarily ("Clinton gaining in key N.C.," May 2).

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