Letters to the Editor 11/21

November 20, 2000

Letters to the Editor 11/21

W.Va. ballot had problems, too

To the editor:

Shortly before noon, I drove to Pleasant View Elementary School, Morgan County, W.Va., to vote. Standing before a long desk, where two people sat, one of them handed me a long sheet of paper.

I never voted in Morgan County. I was unfamiliar with the voting method - a paper ballot. I asked a question. I was grudgingly told, don't cross the top circle. I walked to another table where two people sat. I asked the same question: "Will my vote be canceled if I also vote for one Republican candidate?"

I showed them where it said I could vote for no more than two magistrate candidates. It also said if I switched over to another party on a straight ticket my vote would be void, or something to that effect. They said we are forbidden to speak and offered no assistance.


I stood there wondering what to do next. I though maybe I should go home and forget voting. Then I saw another long table. I sat down to study the sentences and hopefully to vote. After five minutes I was told to move, which I did, not wanting to be arrested. I walked to another table, where I sat in the corner of the room. Shortly, a gentleman, who heard my question, came to where I sat and offered assistance.

He said, "I only have to vote for one candidate, because it reads no more than two candidates."

I said, "O.K. But I want to vote for two candidates, so I can cross over and check the Republican column or do I write the persons name on the Democratic side?"

He said, "Hmmm."

I said, "Because if I cross over on a straight ticket, which is what I wanted to do, it says my vote will be canceled." Being dumb, I asked, "What should I do?"

He said, "Hmmm."

"Furthermore," I said, "a person at the election table told me not to cross the circle at the top of the ballot. That's all the person would tell me." I thought, this is secret stuff.

The gentleman read the top of the ballot sheet.

We both said, "Hmmm." The instructions were the same on the bottom of the ballot.

He immediately left.

Realizing the time -- I had been there an hour -- I checked off one candidate for the magistrate box and since I vote a straight ticket, I checked the appropriate circle on the top, folded the secret document, handed it to the employee, apologizing for any inconvenience I caused them and for being so dumb.

I also reminded anyone in the room who bothered to listen, that for over 20 years federal and state funds have been available to upgrade the election process, like voting booths and officials. Nor is it against the law to assist people when they come to vote in a national election.

Being a stranger to these parts and voting here for the first time, if anyone thinks I made this up or that I'm wrong, please contact Sen. Robert Byrd. Maybe he can help or tell people like me to move on.

Also, there was a sign on the door which said in effect no assistance would be given unless the person who asked the question had a handicap. How primitive can it get, especially for dumb people like me?

Theodore A. Schendel

Hedgesville, W.Va.

My past is not an issue

To the editor:

This is in reference to the article in The Morning Herald, Nov. 14, where I, Jeffrey Sheffler, am running for a seat on the town council of Sharpsburg.

I see no need in bringing up my past less than seven days from the election - a past that has been settled. There has been no unknown secret revealed, only rekindling a time that is just that - a past which I have learned from. I am going forth in my life, only to be constantly branded with the likes of Julie Greene's report, which was brought to her attention by outside sources - undoubtedly a contender feeling pressure.

The office that I'm seeking isn't a high-profile position or high-waged job. I was even going to donate the $30 a year salary back to the community for children's activities, since this town has no programs or activities for its youth.

I want to serve the community that I was raised in and fulfill a journey that I've always wanted to explore. I truly believe I can bring this community into the new century with great ideas and goals.

Perhaps that is what the true concern is for. For it is highly irregular to prompt such an investigation as Greene did, for I've researched it and it's never been done before in this town. Since there is an inquiry into my legitimacy, perhaps we need to invest a full-scale audit into everyone that is a registered voter and see if they qualify to be on the register.

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