To cast ballot, register by Tuesday
Elections matter. Casting a ballot for political candidates, referendums and proposed constitutional amendments directly influences the future of our cities, state and nation. But before any Floridian's voice can be heard, he or she must register to vote. And to have a voice in the November election, Floridians must be registered to vote by Tuesday, Oct. 9.
More than 11.7 million Floridians are registered to vote. If you aren't already among these voters who choose our country's leaders, it is very simple to register. Fill out a short voter registration form, which can be found online at www.election.myflorida.com, and get it to your county supervisor of elections office. Floridians who want to check to see if they are already registered can do so at the same web address using the Voter Information Lookup. Registered voters should also make sure their signature and address are up-to-date.
Once registered, Florida voters have several options to vote on their schedule. Voting by mail is already possible for the general election. Any Florida voter can request an absentee ballot from their supervisor of elections and receive and return it by mail. Additionally, Florida's new early voting hours are more flexible than ever. Early voting begins on Oct. 27 and continues every day through Nov. 3. Voters should check with their county supervisor of elections office about locations and times.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. In addition to the candidates and referendums, this year's ballot includes 11 proposed constitutional amendments, so voters will benefit from being familiar with the ballot before arriving at the polling place. Sample ballots can be provided by county supervisors of elections.
Voting ensures we can continue to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is a right that should not be taken for granted and one that symbolizes our nation's freedom. Vote and let freedom ring.
Ken Detzner, Florida secretary of state, Tallahassee
Ditch the Electoral College | Oct. 2, letter
System has served us well
I read with interest the letter about the Electoral College and don't see what is so "blatantly wrong" with it. It has worked and fulfilled its main purposes for over 200 years. We are not and never have been a democracy — we are a republic. When this country was just getting started, the smaller states hesitated to join the union since they were afraid the bigger states would always determine the outcome of the elections.
The Electoral College functions by making sure that the president has both sufficient popular support and that this is distributed throughout the country so he is able to govern effectively. It also contributes to the political stability of the country by encouraging a two-party system — can you imagine the mess if we had seven or eight parties from different areas across the country vying for their regional voters but not having any real power/influence outside of their regions, allowing the more populated regions to gain control?
Melody Norman, St. Petersburg
Gator parties called unsafe | Oct. 4
Next time, call a clown
What will they come up with next? It really is dumb to encourage kids to swim with alligators.
What kind of parent would do such an irresponsible thing? Will a kid who participates in this kind of activity lose fear of a wild gator seen in a neighborhood waterway and not flee?
Why teach kids to take animals from their environment to use for amusement? Why not take kids to the Everglades to learn to respect animals in their natural environment?
If you want to entertain kids at a party, call a clown or musician. Leave the wild animals in the wild. That's what a responsible parent does.
Jim Patterson, Tampa
A case of justice denied | Oct. 4, editorial
Facing the facts
Jose Godinez-Samperio's parents elected to violate federal law by remaining in the United States after their authorized stay. It is ironic that their son now wishes to practice law in the United States.
Many of us suffer adverse consequences on account of bad decisions made by our parents, but we learn to adapt. The legal term to describe Godinez-Samperio is "illegal alien." He should be grateful for the education provided by U.S. taxpayers. Did the fact that illegal aliens are not permitted to practice law in the United States not occur to him at any time during law school?
Donald F. Mayer, Tampa
GOP case echoes ACORN | Oct. 5
Registration done right
I have been a volunteer registering voters in Pinellas County for the past 10 months under the auspices of Organizing for America, the Obama-Biden campaign organization.
To be certified to do this, I participated in several training sessions and went out in the field with a trainer to put what I'd learned into practice. This preparation was in response to the new voter registration requirements mandated by the Republican administration in Tallahassee for any groups registering voters.
During this time, I played by the rules. I guarded the forms carefully; I treated people and their forms in the same manner no matter the party for which they registered; and I raced with completed forms down to the office so they could be submitted by the deadline.
Now I find that Strategic Allied Consulting, hired by the Republican Party to register voters in Florida as well as in six other battleground states, has not played by those same rules. And I have to wonder if this has corrupted the voter registration process to the extent that all Strategic Allied Consulting's voter registrations should be viewed as questionable.
On a nationwide basis, I think the Republican Party has been hypocritical in its focus on fraud in the voting process. We've seen strict new photo identification laws, early voting limitations and purges of voter rolls to eliminate noncitizens. This has been done in state after state in spite of little evidence of voter fraud found by nonpartisan groups looking at the issue.
Ann Queen, St. Pete Beach
Romney presses Obama on record | Oct. 4
Play by the rules
I was very frustrated with President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in their debate. They talked over the moderator and went beyond their time limits.
Why not simply turn their microphones off at the end of their allotted time? They would adjust quickly to the enforced rules.
Sara Dubbeld, St. Petersburg