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Letters to the editor - 6/19/02

June 19, 2002

Court should tell election officials what's going on


To the editor:

The news coverage surrounding the Maryland Court of Appeals decision to strike down Gov. Parris Glendening's redistricting plan left out two important groups who'd feel the greatest impact: The local election boards and administrators, who have to implement and administer the changes, and the voters who have to absorb them.

Election officials are the unsung heroes of the election system. We uphold, prepare, implement and protect the administrative election process for Maryland voters. We are the non-partisan administrators who stay away from the political area, but still provide information about election change and how they impact our ability to conduct trouble-free, effective and fair elections.

Since the court's decision, the public and candidates are calling for information that we can't provide. We are shouldering the pressure to complete the required steps for redistricting. As election officials, it is not our concernas to how the districts are drawn, but it is crucial to our success that they be drawn in a timely manner.

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As the professionals who administer elections in Maryland, we should be brought to the table and questioned about the process. We should be asked about its weaknesses and ways to improve the system. Elections are complex and each process is dependent on timely implementation of other mandates.

Election administration is specialized work that must be carried out in an extremely stressful, highly structured environment. In less than three months, we have to change 24 databases; print hundreds of maps; file approximately 500 to 1,000 candidates; obtain an approximately 50 to 100 additional polling places; notify 2 million voters in more than 1,000 precincts of their voting location; recruit, train and assign more than 20,000 election workers and register thousands of new voters.

This year we have continuous registration, provisional voting, a new voter-registration system and a new voting system for approximately 33 percent of the registered voters in Maryland. And, as usual, we will get the job done.

We do not wish to be in the redistricting decision-making process. We just want the people making the decisions to realize the impact their decisions have on our ability to meet the deadlines of local election offices. We have to speak out now, because we only have one chance to get it right.

Robin M. Downs

President

Maryland Association of Election Officials




Who's hating now?


To the editor:

I just looked at the "defeatmooney.com" Web site and cannot believe it. The homepage pictures Sen. Alex Mooney across from Joe McCarthy (you get it, don't you: "McCarthyism" - really bad guy).

The page goes on to say, "If we do not stand up to Senator Mooney's hate, then the homeless, the mentally ill, the elderly or (deja vu) the Jews might be next." Deja vu; that's real hip slang for we might be heading back to the Holocaust.

Oh, please, please, give me a break. What utter nonsense! What garbage! Is this what the Sue Hecht campaign is about? And to think candidate Hecht has called Senator Mooney extreme.

Who is way out to lunch here? And all this because Senator Mooney believes marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. Marylanders can now see who is waging the campaign of hate.

George Michael

Big Pool

(Editor's note: Del. Hecht's campaign has denied involvement with the Web site in question.)




Priorities are not in order


To the editor:

We have more cars, more traffic, more roads, more housing developments, more malls and shopping centers. Some say we need a larger stadium or more "Smart Growth."

So we don't need a trauma center or a bigger, more efficient ambulance center? I don't know about you but I see a problem here.

What good is a city full of these luxuries if we can't take care of citizens with proper emergency care services? Don't people have any value just as human beings?

What about our children, our grandchildren, our older generation (and there are a lot of us) and our handicapped persons. Don't they deserve a decent chance at life? Don't they deserve competent and compassionate care through illness or accident? Well I think they do.

So we build a new stadium, a new college, a cultural arts center and the unexpected happens. How do we handle it?

Maybe we need to take more responsibility for the things that really matter.

Sandy Shawyer

Hagerstown




The real heroes


To the editor:

Father's Day is just past. I have great respect for the working man - we don't need to look any further for heroes. My heroes are welders, ditch diggers, pipe layers, concrete foreman, etc. I can't think of a tougher way to put food on the family's table. My heroes don't have much money but they certainly have my respect.

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