Letters

LETTERS

October 19, 2008

Making voting easier boosts democracy

Thomas F. Schaller's contention that early voting "seems fundamentally undemocratic" is absurd ("Early voting in Maryland?" Commentary, Oct. 9).

Providing Marylanders with an option to vote early would give working people a greater opportunity to cast ballots without the challenges of long lines, inclement weather, work or family obligations.

Mr. Schaller's apparent assumption that Maryland voters are not smart enough to make up their own minds and determine when they want to cast their vote is demeaning.

If voters say "yes" to Question 1 in November, they will not be forced to vote early; they will simply have the option to do so.

Question 1 would also secure for voters the option of voting absentee on demand, making it easier to cast a ballot.

In 2006, the first year Maryland allowed absentee voting on demand, 24,308 more voters cast absentee ballots in Maryland than had done so in the previous statewide election.

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters believes that giving conservation-minded voters greater opportunity to participate in the democratic process will help us tackle the environmental challenges we face.

We believe it is fundamentally undemocratic to oppose early voting and absentee voting on demand.

Cindy Schwartz, Annapolis

The writer is executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Voting patterns are far from colorblind

Dan Rodricks' column about race hit home for me because of what happened in my daughter's third-grade class last week ("Students weigh in on race in today's world," Oct. 12).

She attends a Baltimore public school. She is the only white student in her class. The teacher decided to hold a mock election. Out of 20 children in this class, 19 voted for Sen. Barack Obama and one voted for Sen. John McCain.

Do I really need to tell you who cast that one vote for Mr. McCain? Yes, it was my daughter.

So to the question Mr. Rodricks posed, "Are we there [to the colorblind nation of our dreams] yet?" I think the answer is "no, not even close."

And if 7- and 8-year-olds are casting their votes based on the color of their skin, you can be sure their parents are doing the same thing.

Helen Smith, Baltimore

Evasive Sen. Obama unfit for presidency

With each debate, I have grown increasingly uneasy about the possibility of Sen. Barack Obama becoming our president ("Third debate is most spirited," Oct. 16).

In analyzing his words, it is obvious that Mr. Obama has not completely, openly and honestly answered questions about his relationships with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former minister, his acquaintance with terrorist Bill Ayers and his involvement with ACORN, the group accused of committing voter fraud in several states.

Being as skillful and clever with distracting, evasive and, yes, dishonest words in a debate as Mr. Obama is does not translate into being a good president.

I would rather put my beloved country in the hands of Sen. John McCain, who isn't as good an orator but has a proven love of his country, served honorably in the military, has a commendable track record in government service, a proven aversion to tax-and-spend government and will serve us well as president.

Elizabeth G. Brown, Woodstock

Are there two Palins running for office?

Are there two Gov. Sarah Palins in this race? The Sarah Palin I have seen and heard with alarm can't be the same one described by the writer of the letter "All-American Palin a breath of fresh air" (Oct. 14).

The Sarah Palin I saw in (very few) interviews was unable to string five words together into a coherent sentence and convinced me that, if she is elected, she could be the first vice president to need a translator to converse with English-speaking heads of state.

The Sarah Palin I saw in the vice presidential debate used winks, grimaces, memorized sound bites and "folksy" language to try to distract us from the fact that she could not and did not answer the questions.

The Sarah Palin I see in Republican rallies is a mean-spirited, less-than-truthful rabble rouser who whips the crowd into a hateful frenzy and then stands back as crowd members yell threats and racial epithets.

Ann Power, Catonsville

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