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An obscene amount of money was spent on the political campaigns leading up to the elections of November 6, 2012. This is all the more troubling when we learn that many people were denied the right to vote, were prevented from voting in the best possible circumstances, or had their ballots declared invalid.
We obviously have not heeded the lessons of November 2000. How can we make sure that these longstanding problems will finally be corrected, four years hence?
1) As so much money is being channeled into campaigns, purportedly to correct so much that is awry in our society, the law should require that one-third of this money be transferred to the state or federal government – depending upon the nature of each campaign – to allow for the opening of more polling places and the updating of our voting tools, so that everything is in perfect working order next time around. Surplus revenue should go to our public schools.
2) Spending more than one hour in line to cast a vote is unacceptable. People need to receive timed tickets as they take their place in line to vote, and after one hour, the state government will pay a fine to each person who is in line for more than 60 minutes, which will increase by 50 percent of the original amount with each additional half hour. This will provide the states with a much-needed incentive to get their houses in order. Ideally, we should find new, secure, and efficient ways to cast our votes, without having to travel to polling places.
3) Let us make voting mandatory, as it is in a number of other democracies. The American people need to take charge of their future, and that act begins inside the voting booth. Like it or not, politicians decide where we are heading. Ignoring them isn't the answer. Having an informed electorate that understands the choices available to it, and chooses the best among these, is a step in the right direction. Those who do not vote will be fined if they do not have valid excuses. These fines will generate revenue allowing us to improve the voting process. Surplus revenue should go to our public schools.
4) Since there is still confusion in some places as to what constitutes proper voter identification, let us finally introduce the identification card in this country. We can learn how to implement this, as well as much else, from our friends in Europe. Ignoring well-functioning models, just because they are not our own, isn't the answer.
5) All attempts to intimidate or mislead potential voters about their voting rights should be investigated to the full extent of the law, and those who are found guilty should be severely fined. Voting is a basic civil right. The revenue from these fines should go to the public schools that are educating the citizens of this country and that are in need of greater support.
Once we have achieved this, we will be on the right track.
MICHAEL AMY, ROCHESTER
Couldn't disagree with Adam Lubitow more on his disappointing review of Downstairs Cabaret's "Motherhood the Musical." As an "old man" and grandfather to four granddaughters, 8 years and under, I must report that both my wife and I found the production and the cast very musical, entertaining and realistic in its theme. The three mothers and the mother-to-be were high energy and very talented. We would encourage both women and men to see this show while it's still here.
HOWARD GOLOVE, HENRIETTA