I voted absentee this year for the first time in many years. When the August primary election ballot arrived, I carefully read and reread the instructions, filled it out and mailed it in. I was surprised when about four days later I received the ballot back in the mail. Enclosed was a note explaining that I had missed filling out a section of the outside signature envelope. The note asked me to correct it and mail it back. I was delighted to have the opportunity to correct my unknowing mistake, and remember thinking how well run Minnesota elections are (and how glad I was that I sent my ballot early!).

I read that one of President Donald Trump’s primary legal arguments in trying to invalidate Pennsylvania votes was that voters were allowed to correct their ballots. Clearly he would consider my vote fraudulent. This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that our election system is strong and designed to protect my right to vote.

Lisa Pannell, St. Louis Park


Of turkeys and men

U.S. presidents traditionally pardon Thanksgiving turkeys that finish up in animal sanctuaries rather than on the dinner table. This act of contrition for the millions slaughtered for this festive occasion is all very well, but when a community like Bloomington comes to know a wild turkey and give him a name (Penny) and the Department of Natural Resources shoots him, where is our compassion and empathy? (“Thoughts for their Penny: Did DNR have to shoot him?” Nov. 21.) Penny could have gone to an animal sanctuary.

The DNR’s action is a moral injury to all who cared for and respected Penny regardless of his alleged foibles. Friendly wild turkeys will even give courting displays to humans — so let’s start seeing other creatures in their own light, respect their rights and not treat them as objects and degrade our own humanity in the process.

Michael W. Fox, Golden Valley

The writer is a veterinarian and animal behavior scientist.

• • •

Lately it seems the DNR stands for “do not rescue.” It gives permission for a so-called sportsman to kill a lethargic young alligator and recently shot and killed Penny, the erstwhile turkey at 90th Street and Penn Avenue. The DNR says it takes time and resources to catch and relocate, but isn’t that part of their job? A few phone calls would have placed the alligator, and the turkey was a fixture in the neighborhood and pretty tame. I respect and support the DNR (although I think trapping is cruel and should be outlawed on public land) but taking the easiest or laziest way out should not be the norm.

Maureen Reynolds, Ramsey


Thankful for the inimitable Sack

Congratulations to cartoonist Steve Sack for winning the Berryman award! He is exceptionally talented and a real creative genius. There is always a sense of anticipation turning to the Opinion Exchange page and finding a new Sack cartoon. His images create a clear message that is almost always followed by a laugh, and many times then shared with others who enjoy his humorous wit. He is a real asset to the Star Tribune and to Minnesota!

Tate Preston, Chanhassen


No masks in S.D. adds patients here

Dear South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem: As a Minnesotan, I feel strongly that you need to be aware of the impact your policies have beyond the borders of your state. Your refusal to implement a mask mandate is reckless and affects many people outside of South Dakota.

I am a doctor in Minneapolis, and when residents of South Dakota become so severely ill with COVID-19 that they need specialized care, they are flown to Minneapolis to receive care that is not offered in your state.

My profession is rooted in science, not law, but I know enough about our country’s founding documents and I respect states’ rights to govern themselves. However, COVID-19 knows no boundaries and will only be suppressed if we listen to the experts and put on masks. We Minnesotans are doing the right thing by graciously accepting South Dakota residents with COVID-19, and it’s time for you to also do the right thing by mandating the wearing of face masks.

This is a matter of life and death for all Americans.

Elizabeth Uchitelle, Minneapolis


You want to live your life? So does everyone else. Stay home.

The other night, on a TV news program, a woman was interviewed while heading out to travel for Thanksgiving. She stated that she wanted to go, that, “I’ve got my life to live.” The whole reason that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that we not travel now is so that all of us will have our lives to live for many more Thanksgiving holidays and all the other holidays to come, year after year. One person’s actions can obviously affect that person, but with COVID, one person’s actions can affect many others. Hang tight. The vaccine is coming — and when it’s here, please get vaccinated.

Peter Berglund, St. Paul

• • •

I’m a rule-respecting person and I’ve supported Gov. Tim Walz’s COVID response, but this latest directive misses the mark. No indoor or outdoor gatherings are allowed, except with immediate household members.

This directive basically means that small households of one or two or three people are doomed to a lonely holiday and the next several weeks alone. But wait ... we can shop, we can buy a car, we can go skiing — note the picture in the paper Tuesday of skiers lined up breathing in each other’s faces.

The rule is incredibly arbitrary: business nearly as usual for retail — wouldn’t want to curtail the money interests. People are intelligent enough to have small gatherings outside. Walz needs to rethink this arbitrary and money-driven directive.

Walz needs to learn to admit when he’s wrong and change the policy. We’ve had four years of a president who couldn’t admit when he was wrong. Let’s hope our governor is more mature.

Karen Storm, Minneapolis

• • •

I have told young people that when you look back on this COVID time, it will be a very small part of your lives. The governor’s public health orders to mask, distance, stay away from crowds, etc., are a small thing to do to protect the health of your family, neighbors, community and yourselves. Not that much is asked of you but to sit on your couch, delay partying outside your household, stay away from crowds, etc., for a few more months and to stay safe.

As a Vietnam-era veteran, I sacrificed over three years of the prime of my life to serve our country. It was not what I wanted to do with my life at that time, but I am thankful that I was not sent to Vietnam. Veterans who served in wars really sacrificed more. They fought for your right to say you are against masks and other public health orders, but not to disobey them. These orders are similar to wearing seat belts, obeying stop signs, etc. Many lives can be saved by doing the lawful and right thing.

Gary Thompson, St. Paul

• • •

Thanksgiving Day 2020 (with no apologies to Lydia Maria Child):

“Over the carpet and through the house

To Grandfather’s Zoom we go;

It will be fun

To tell tales, homespun,

And play for them our ‘floor show.’

Over the carpet and through the house,

Excitement builds, I’d say;

It’s great to see

All our family, on pan-

demic Thanksgiving Day!”

David Colwell, St. Paul

We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.