The voters of Pinellas County are not well served by the supervisor of elections' decision to have early voting in only three locations. As reported in your paper, all of the surrounding counties have significantly more voting locations and subsequently, a much larger early voting turnout than we do here in Pinellas. Hillsborough County has 14 locations!
This is important to the elections for a variety of reasons. Election Day is predicted to be the most massive turnout ever. Long lines are predicted. Early voting is supposed to lessen that deluge and provide options for those who may have to work or are otherwise unable to vote on that day. Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark's solution is to vote by mail, but many voters, including myself, don't necessarily trust mail-in ballots, or we want to be a part of the on-site voting experience.
In addition, the voting locations are not easily accessible, nor do the two located in the courthouses have significant parking.
It strikes me that the goal of the supervisor of elections is to encourage voting and to make it accessible for all. I can't help but wonder if the Republican supervisor wants to discourage Democrat voters, since many of them are the ones who can't take time off from work or wait in lines for hours. This is an abomination, and we in Pinellas should make sure that the supervisor of elections makes nonpartisan decisions and creates systems that are encouraging to voters.
Mary C. Poole, Safety Harbor
Re: Why only three early vote sites? - letter, Oct. 22
Voting by mail eliminates wait
We all make our own decisions in life. It was the letter writer's own choice to stand in line for two hours so that she could vote early. She did mention that she was given the option of a mail ballot but turned it down. To me, the most important part of voting is simply to vote. It really doesn't matter whether you vote the old traditional way on Election Day, or vote at a location earlier, or simply by paper ballot from the convenience of your own home. The bottom line is "just vote."
Furthermore, I think that Pinellas County is plain lucky to have three early vote sites. Such vote sites take people to run them and would also take extra money from the county budget that would be unwise to spend in these tough economic times. And that is also why the use of mail ballots or voting via absentee ballot is greatly encouraged.
If I had been standing in a long line waiting to vote and was offered a paper ballot, I would have gladly taken it, thereby eliminating two hours of wasted time. As a matter of fact, I too voted early. Two weeks ago I cast my ballot in the comfort of my own home, via absentee. And it was well worth the 42 cents it cost me to mail it.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Stolen sign points to divisiveness
I was most disconcerted when my Obama yard sign disappeared. On calling the campaign headquarters I found out that it is not an uncommon experience.
This kind of behavior is mean-spirited and mirrors hateful behaviors exhibited during Republican rallies. I think we can see where the extreme divisiveness in our country is coming from.
I am also curious if those with McCain/Palin signs in their yards are having the same problems.
Ron Pehmoeller, Largo
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