It's more than "my side wins, or else" | Oct. 28, Howard Troxler column
We need assurances election will be honest Howard Troxler has done it again. His pointed reminder of the fall of democracy in the Roman empire should be read seriously. Perhaps we are too smug to think that "this could possibly happen to us."
The truth is that I've spoken to many voters who are convinced that their vote will be violated, and some say because of that they won't vote. Accusations from both sides have instilled fear and distrust.
I'm hoping one or both of the candidates will address this and take it upon himself to reassure our citizens. We don't need to hear accusations. We need positive thoughts and actions.
It's almost scary to think that we have come to this during this exciting time to vote. Barack Obama and John McCain should now try to set aside finger-pointing. Tell the electorate that this will be an honest election, with all votes counted — correctly. Why? Because we want to preserve our democracy.
Lilyan V. Dayton, New Port Richey
Only the nonvoters have wasted their votes
After I voted for Ralph Nader for president in 2000, several people who voted for Al Gore chided me that I had "wasted" my vote. I noted that they had "wasted" their votes too — because Gore lost. When I voted for Nader in 2004, I got the same retort, this time from John Kerry supporters. The Gore and Kerry voters believed that if I had not "thrown away" my vote on Nader, I would have voted for their guy — which was not correct, frankly.
I voted for Nader because I believed he was the best candidate for president — not merely because the media told me he was more likely to win. There was no hidden "alternate" vote. I voted for him because he was on the ballot. He has a right to run for president, as do all the others.
The people who presume or insist that only two candidates should run for president are dangerously ignorant of American history and politics. These idiots want to be able to say, I voted for the winner, my team won. How simplistic that is.
In truth, there is only one person who "wastes" his vote: the person who does not vote at all.
Brett Geer, Tampa
Crist ups hours for early poll | Oct. 29, story
Crist helps, Clark doesn't
I applaud Gov. Charlie Crist for extending early voting hours. Gov. Crist made a nonpartisan decision to help all voters. Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark made the opposite decision. I think it is very unpatriotic to try to dissuade voters from exercising their right to vote. Clark should be encouraging voters by making it easier to vote. She claims she had to cut her budget. It is a flimsy excuse and does not explain why Pinellas County has only three locations to cast an early vote.
Clark needs to be voted out of office for not serving the interest of the citizens she is supposed to serve, both Republican and Democrat.
Paul Lee, Tierra Verde
Crist ups hours for early poll | Oct. 29, story
Governor rides the trend
Gov. Charlie Crist's extension of early voting hours shows he recognizes the Obama tsunami and has negotiated his surfboard to ride the crest. If there is one thing we know from watching Charlie, he is a trend spotter and wants to be at the head of the line/front of the wave.
Just a few weeks ago, he saw the trend of voting going toward Barack Obama and downplayed the "voting fraud" hysteria the neocon controllers of the Republican Party were trying to stir up. There are a few slower right-wingers who still think that, plus that Obama's a Muslim, a terrorist, a socialist, etc. Sheesh.
However, with Gov. Charlie Crist extending early voting hours, it is obvious the hard work of the Obama campaign must be paying off. Charlie is always at the head of the line. Now, if we can just get him to stop appointing all those extreme right-wing activist judges to the Supreme Court he'd really help Florida.
J. Steele Olmstead, Tampa
Divided we fall
Never before has this nation been so divided. This campaign has taken an ugly direction, and things never will be the same.
The McCain/Palin ticket is running on empty. All they can offer are attacks on their competition. They have stoked the fires of hatred, and this country, no doubt, will never recover. We have resorted to calling each other hateful names — the Republicans calling Democrats communists and socialists, and we Democrats calling them Nazis and fascists.
I truly fear what this coming election will bring us — no matter who wins! We are no longer the great nation we once were. The seeds of destruction have been planted and are taking root. I honestly hope whoever wins, he will finally make an honest attempt to heal the wounds. God help us all!
Kenneth Sturmer, Bayonet Point
12,165 now on flagged vote list | Oct. 28
Reject voter barriers
Florida is ranked as the most hostile state in the nation to new voters for many reasons. Two are the photo ID requirement to vote at the polls and the "no match-no vote" law.
Our burdensome photo ID requirement at the polls after a voter's registration application has been accepted as valid and the Florida resident has been placed on the voting rolls prevents hundreds of thousands of voters from voting by regular ballot because they do not have a driver's license due to poverty (no car), advanced age or medical condition.
It seems this voter suppression is not sufficient for Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning, who now wants to prevent and additional 12,165 voters from voting because a middle initial may be omitted from one state database but included in another, or a typo by a clerk somewhere resulted in a nonmatch for a number.
If a voter can verify his or her identity at the polls by a photo ID, however burdensome that might be to many voters, these 12,165 voters should be allowed to vote on Nov. 4 by regular ballot, not provisional ballot. Most provisional ballots aren't counted because the voter must visit the election office within two days with additional proof, which rarely happens.
The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy and freedom, and shouldn't be in the hands of partisan politicians who have a stake in the outcome of an election and pass laws restricting voting to favor their own political party.
Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg
Spoiled voters | Oct. 28, letter
Voting should be accessible
I remember when we used to have a single day to vote. The letter writer should understand that many people (yes, including a lot of Joe the Plumber types) cannot take a day off work in order to vote. The early voting procedures are much more inclusive and more democratic now that we have the ability to vote on multiple days which include weekends. It is a fallacy to think that people are being pampered simply because they wish to take part in what they are entitled to as Americans.
If we wanted truly democratic elections in the United States we would have a national holiday in order to vote, but since that is probably not going to happen, early voting is a suitable alternative.
Marc Vallin, Largo
What Obama will bring
I was heartened to see that Sen. John McCain has finally begun to include in his campaign strategy what I have personally expressed for quite a while: that a Barack Obama presidency will give carte blanche authority to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the Democratic Congress to drastically reshape America in a manner not consistent with the "hope and change" being promised by Obama.
Tax cuts? Universal medical coverage without an obscene growth in government waste and mismanagement ? Incentives for small businesses? Please.
If Obama gets to the Oval Office, he will be at the mercy of the purveyors of "old-school" Democratic dogma: higher taxes, bigger unions, more government intrusion into the private sector, including health care. All those voters who mistakenly believe Obama can deliver even a fraction of the populist promises made during his campaign are in for a rude awakening.
As for me, I'd rather have John McCain and his veto pen holding back the even bigger "big government" that the Pelosi/Reid consortium can't wait to unleash upon us all.
Robert Heyman, St. Petersburg
If Joe the Plumber had any sense, he would think twice about whom he votes for in this election. John McCain voted more than a dozen times against raising the minimum wage. And, to add insult to injury, he is in favor of doing away with the Davis-Bacon law, which was passed during the Depression to give construction workers like Joe prevailing wages on federal construction jobs.
I know because I am Jack the Plumber who was able to support a family with a decent wage and sent two children through college and was able to own a home as a beneficiary of this law.
Jack Levine, Palm Harbor