VOTING IN MINNESOTA
Election judges vouch for integrity of system
Kudos to Jeff Davis ("Why is it easier to vote here than it is to register a boat?" Nov. 9) for the luxury to be able to afford and register a boat and to haul it around in his SUV. As a Ramsey County Registration election judge over the past five years, I have seen firsthand the challenges in providing the necessary documents to register to vote.
Lack of even the $18 to change an address on a state ID, or the fact that renters do not receive an electric or water bill, make the voucher system a savior for those who wish to partake in their democratic right.
Economic hardship and unstable residency should not prohibit someone from having his or her equal say in the election process. I am proud to live in a state that works hard to assure the right to vote to all eligible citizens.
BETHANY WHITEHEAD, ST. PAUL
I was an election judge in two national elections. In the 2004 election one person came into the precinct I was working and vouched for people he said were his mother and father three different times. When I questioned this, I was told I could file a protest, but we had to let the people register and vote.
With all the ways to preregiser, there is no need to have same-day voter registration. The elimination of this inefficient and time-consuming process would make the voting process much more efficient and put some integrity into the voting process.
PETER KLICK, MAPLE GROVE
Jeff Davis states that "there was no verification by election officials that the information on the registration card was accurate," and he complains that no photographic identification is needed. But election officials are not supposed to verify same-day registration information; verification is provided by the friend or neighbor who vouches (using a sworn statement) that the voter does live in the precinct. Davis also complains that 100,000 addresses on the voter rolls were "vacant" or "undeliverable." Well, people do move or die.
Davis then suggests that it's easy to cast multiple ballots by pretending you are a dead person or you are someone who has moved because all you have to do is obtain the voter registration records. In the first place, age is checked when you sign the preregistration roster. Since it's fair to assume that most dead people were older when they died, Davis is suggesting that there is a conspiracy of senior citizens who are going from precinct to precinct committing voter fraud. Second, if an individual tries to pretend they are someone who has moved, that individual would not be able to prove residency in the precinct and would not be able to vote.
I am offended that Davis states that because I know of deficiencies in the system (no system is perfect), therefore I know that illegal voting is occurring and I want it to continue. I spent 15 hours in a polling place on Election Day carefully observing the same-day registration table. I sincerely believe that all who registered that day (and many were turned away by the election judges) do live in that precinct.
JONATHAN O. SCOTT, MINNEAPOLIS
INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING
It's sour grapes. No, it's better democracy.
Full disclosure: I am the brother of the winner in Minnesota House District 41A, Keith Downey.
Lori Sturdevant's incessant crying about the loss of Ron Erhardt is proof positive of her liberal media bias. She cannot seem to accept that Erhardt's time has passed and the voters elected a new representative via a plurality, which is how our democracy works.
Sturdevant's speculation about instant runoff voting (column, Nov. 9) is nothing more than sour grapes that her candidates did not win. IRV is akin to asking for the ability to vote twice. Vote as many times as you like until my candidate wins. Look for her next proposal of only allowing candidates on the ballot that she approves. Cuba, Venezuela anyone?
BRUCE J. DOWNEY, EAGAN
To Lori Sturdevant's thoughtful and specific piece on instant runoff voting, i would add two notes.
The most compelling aspect of IRV is well-portrayed in this year's results, which is, that in three key races, one can't say for sure how the scales would have tipped had, and who would have been our final winners had IRV been in place. One of the beauties of IRV is that it's impartial and nonpartisan. Moreover, we can be sure the winner would have been the candidate preferred by more than 50 percent of the voters.
Don't we want a democracy in which most of the people are satisfied with our winning candidates, and, consequently, with our government? If more than half of the people are unsatisfied with the "winner," do we have majority rule? Most people who promote instant runoff voting do so because they hold fairness above ideology. IRV also leads to competency over ideology, which is a good trade to most of us, too.
LARRY LAVERCOMBE, MINNEAPOLIS
Let Zeituni Onyango stay in this country
I did not vote for Barack Obama. I do not like the man's policies or philosophies. I believe that he will likely do damage to our country.
Nevertheless, he is our president-elect. His aunt is being deported. This is wrong. Somebody find a way for the president's aunt to not be deported.
THE REV. GREG STONE, ST. PETER, MINN.