No winner till Saturday | Nov. 9
To avoid delays, cast vote by mail
Much has been said in recent days about the long lines Florida voters had to endure in order to cast their vote in the 2012 election. Some see it as a plot to suppress the vote, while others see it as a technical problem that must be fixed. Both views are nonsense — a fix already exists, and has existed for years.
All Florida voters may cast their vote by mail-in ballot; one no longer needs a documented reason to obtain a so-called absentee ballot. Requesting one through your supervisor of elections is simple and can be done online, in person, by telephone, or in writing. I never fail to cast my vote, and I never leave the comfort of my own home to do so. No more lines. No more blistering Florida heat or drenching rain.
Best of all, the ballot arrives weeks in advance of Election Day, so one has plenty of time to study the wording of proposed amendments and referenda. If you wait in a long line in the future, you will have no one but yourself to blame.
Scott A. Boulding, Palm Harbor
No winner till Saturday | Nov. 9
Too few tabulators
I was a poll watcher in Fort Myers Beach, where I observed voting at the three precincts. The lines were long at each and it took an average of over three hours to vote.
The cause of the delay was very specific and easily observed. While the polling stations were well organized and efficiently run, the vote tabulator machine took an average 45-50 seconds to tabulate each vote, if no mistakes were made. And there was only one machine at each precinct.
Thus no matter how fast one got through the ID check and actual vote completion, all had to stand in line to wait for the tabulator, and the entire process was controlled by the machine. This should have been corrected by testing the tabulators and sending more than one machine to each precinct.
Leo Cecchini, Fort Myers Beach
Voters see past cash, chicanery | Nov. 9, Daniel Ruth column
Big money on both sides
It is interesting that Daniel Ruth enlightened us on all the big-money guys pouring millions into defeating our president. I think it is only right to counter that information with the half-billion dollars contributed by labor unions in critical swing states, anchored by Ohio. The AFL-CIO president said, "Without organized labor, none of those states would have been in the president's column."
If I were president, I am not sure who I would rather be indebted to: the union bosses or the rich guys.
Perry J. Dahl, Tampa
Bills will come due | Nov. 8, letter
Giving and taking
On a Fox News rant, Bill O'Reilly restated Mitt Romney's infamous "47 percent" remarks. O'Reilly said that the Barack Obama voters wanted "free stuff" and the Republicans provide the funds for that "stuff" with their hard work and taxes.
Now this letter writer throws in that Obama voters will "get theirs (health care insurance) free." This is a less than subtle belief that the majority who cast their vote for the president are lazy, shiftless, unemployed leeches.
If the writer checks the blue bits and red bits on the voting map he will see that the confederacy of red states are the same ones who collect far more in government assistance than do the blue ones. They take more than they contribute. And they vote Republican overwhelmingly.
Thomas Maciocha, Tampa
Summing it up
The election can only be described as: Wow! The winners were: women, Obama, weed.
Jim Day, St. Petersburg
Shed the tea party
You have to govern with what is possible, not what is ideal. The GOP will either adapt to reality or it will die. It needs to shed the tea party. Let the tea party become a third party. They can perpetually capture 15 percent of the vote.
Harry E. Hackney, Spring Hill
Playbook for 2016
Now that the 2012 election is over, preparation for 2016 should start now for the Democrats. Make no mistake, the Republicans will rebound and make adjustments.
First, the economy must continue to improve if the Democratic Party is going to have any chance at retaining the White House.
Second, Barack Obama and the Democrats must aggressively push forward immigration reform; it is a win-win situation for them. If it passes, they will get the credit; it if fails, the Republicans will be blamed.
Third, the candidate: Hillary Clinton. She will be strong with women, African-Americans, Latinos, the young and blue-collar Americans. Additionally, her biggest asset is her husband. A vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill Clinton.
Last, but not least, if the Republican Party's ideology continues to intrude into America's bedrooms, it will continue to lose national elections.
Al Suarez, Odessa
Attach conditions to aid to Israel Oct. 28, Bill Maxwell column
Aid better spent at home
As Congress reviews the allocation of our tax dollars, foreign aid will be on the table. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act forbids military aid to countries that consistently violate human rights. Bill Maxwell's excellent column noted the concern of many religious leaders that exceptions are being made for military aid to Israel.
As leader of a United Methodist study tour, and on independent trips to the region, I have witnessed the human rights violations that gave rise to this concern.
It is inconceivable that struggling American families should be asked to send $8 million each day to a government that is routinely destroying homes, roads and water cisterns that other families depend on. The use of American money to expand and defend illegal settlements built beyond Israel's internationally recognized borders must be stopped. The $30 billion Congress has approved for aid to Israel over 10 years could be better spent here at home.
Susanne Hoder, Interfaith Peace Initiative, Punta Gorda