I voted early the other day and it is safe to say I was the only one there under the age of 60. Everyone else in line was looking at me like, "Is he lost?" It was pretty sad to tell you the truth.
But when I really think about it, I don't know why I was upset because it's not as though I really expected to see many young people there in the first place. That's just the way it has been, election after election. And judging from my experience the other day, it's the way it will continue to be for years to come.
As far as the younger crowd is concerned, it seems to me they are thinking: Who wants to spend 15 minutes voting when they can spend the same 15 minutes watching Who Wants to Marry My Mom? (or whatever the kids are watching these days) on TV? That might be a little harsh but I just hate how every election, the older crowd decides who will be the next president because they are the only people who actually get out and vote.
I'm not saying there is something wrong with the "older" crowd, by any means. I'm just saying I wish more people my age would get out there and vote so we can more effectively gauge the wants and needs of our country as a whole as opposed to those of a certain age group alone.
So I just want to tell my peers to get out and vote! You can even vote early if you want to get it over with. This way you can avoid longer lines on Election Day. (I waited in line for 5 minutes max.) It's easy. So the next time you have 15 minutes to spare, go vote!
Matt Faust, Port Richey
Pinellas needs more sites for early voting
With such an important election on the horizon in November, many voters in Pinellas County will decide to cast their ballots early. Others however, might not be able to. Last Monday marked the first day of early voting in Pinellas County, and we have already seen record numbers and long lines at the polls across our county and state.
I, along with many of my constituents and colleagues, am disappointed in the lack of expansion of early voting sites to accommodate voters from all across the county for this election.
I don't think anyone is asking that the Pinellas County supervisor of elections increase sites to 20, 15 or even 10 sites, but we do need more sites and we need them strategically placed. Voters in north Pinellas and west Pinellas, along the beaches, or in the Tyrone area, would have to take significant time away from work or school to drive to either Clearwater, Largo, or St. Petersburg to cast their ballots. This seems like an inequitable situation.
The bottom line is: Do you support early voting? If the answer is yes, then we must do it right. Other counties with similar or smaller populations have more sites open than Pinellas. Nassau County with only 47,000 registered voters, compared with Pinellas' 644,440 registered voters, has more sites open than Pinellas. This is embarrassing.
I encourage the supervisor of elections to look at expanding early voting sites to include north Pinellas areas such as Oldsmar and Safety Harbor, as well as west Pinellas on our beaches. Everyone's vote matters in this important election.
Charlie Justice, state senator, District 16
A chance for involvement
By voting early, I have freed up not only myself but many others I know to be able to participate on Election Day by volunteering for one or another cause at the polls. By voting ahead of time, one can use the time one would normally have assigned for fulfilling your civic duty and translate it into volunteer hours on that day.
You can now volunteer for your candidate/candidates of choice or for a signature-collection effort or thoughtful advocacy for a few hours at the polls.
Let's keep pushing the Pinellas supervisor of elections for increased early voting locations for future elections in addition to continued and strong promotion of mail-in ballots. And let's all think about using this gift of early voting to enable greater participation in the process itself on a direct level.
Early voting is a gift not to be wasted!
Lorraine Margeson, St. Petersburg
Don't open door to government tax games Oct. 22, letter
When voting is important
I was curious about the letter writer's view that local taxing authorities scheduled votes for raising taxes (in this case Amendment 8 for community colleges) "when they knew the fewest voters would turn out to get it passed. If these issues are so important and affect everyone in the county, then these votes should be held during the November elections when the turnout is higher."
Would it not be more rational to conclude that "if these issues are so important and affect everyone in the county," then everyone in the county should come out and vote whenever the election is held?
Andrew Long, St. Petersburg
Advocate of Amendment 2 challenged Oct. 19, story
Not government's job
The so-called "ban on gay marriage" amendment seems to strike a sensitive nerve in many people. David Caton of the Florida Family Association speaks for them when he says he is sure that allowing homosexuals and lesbians to marry is just the first downward step to such horrors as polygamy, incest and so on. And, of course, it's up to the government, he implies, to stop all such wickedness.
A considerable number of Republicans have, over the years, stoutly insisted that government should "get off the backs" of the citizens, that government is not the answer to problems but is the problem. Why, then, do many of these same people fervently call on the government to monitor the private lives of the citizens?
No one questions the duty of the state to protect the innocent from sexual predators and forced slavery. But when it comes to the intimate activities of law-abiding men and women, should it not keep its hands off? Morality police are out of place in a free society. "Get the government off our backs!"
Abigail Ann Martin, Brandon
Some recognition is due
As we all know, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, little did the Japanese realize that they had awakened "a sleeping giant." I will divide this so-called sleeping giant into two groups:
- Group I consists of all our armed forces. Members of the armed forces have several dates to honor them for all the sacrifices and accomplishments they made for our country.
- Group II consists of every man, woman and child who lived in the United States during World War II, making sacrifices and giving our armed forces support beyond their wildest dreams. As of today, they do not have a day or date to honor them. A day should have been set aside in their honor 63 years ago at the end of the war in 1945. There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe this support group.
Therefore, I ask that Gov. Charlie Crist and some politicians get together for a discussion with President Bush to set a date for our country's support group to be honored every year. What do you think, America? Do they deserve it? Because it's a group effort and always has been. Honor one, honor all.
Steve Pryslak, Seminole