Second, I have had and continue to have the finest legislative staff in the Maryland Senate. Each of my staff - Tricia Hinchliffe in Annapolis and Heidi Mackley, Michael DiGirolamo and Lindsay Karroll in Hagerstown - is a very special person. They each take their job seriously and make it their mission to meaningfully help anyone who contacts my office. Without them, I would be lost. My staff has changed over the years, but the one thing they have all had in common was they came to the job each day ready to work hard for those I represent.
And last, I am blessed to serve with the other members of the Washington County Delegation. They are, to a person, splendid people. They take their jobs as legislators seriously and they work smart and hard. In some jurisdictions, the delegates and senators won't even talk with one another. Not so in Washington County. We communicate all the time and work hard and cooperatively to help bring progress and success to Washington County.
Donald F. Munson
Senator, District 2
Voting open to funny business
To the editor:
There is justified, widespread concern that Maryland and other states that are switching to all-electronic voting systems are showing illogical reasoning and are setting up the possibility of a nation-threatening constitutional crisis.
As in 2000, we face a closely contested presidential race, wherein the electoral college system will not produce that desirable "landslide" victory. This year it is even more critical that we have a clear outcome because the campaigning is more brutally divisive. Each major party is convincingly labeling the other as totally incapable of governing.
The debacle of Florida's voting process in 2000 ended up involving some of our most convincing lawyers and our highest courts. It dragged out the confirmation process to the limit, timewise, and denied the incoming administration the proper planning period and funds at a critical time. There was also reported pilfering and vandalism by some of those leaving White House offices, further hampering the transition.
And even today, after all independent study has shown that Bush/Cheney did indeed win Florida, the controversy rages on (on the floor of the House, for example, and in a campaign speech to the NAACP convention).
Imagine what might happen if the scene were repeated this year. Mobs do not see that (with our separation of powers) it is more important that there is a clear win than that your party wins. There could be extensive rioting, sabotage, looting and bloodshed. Martial law might have to be imposed. And today we are openly, not secretly, threatened by terrorists. Riots can be staged to cover all kinds of terrorist activity.
So why is Maryland abandoning the tried, tested, trouble-free and audit-capable "Arrow Ballot" for one that provides no backup? What will the weather be like on Nov. 2? How many extended power outages? To which political party do the programmers and electronic technicians belong? For the first time in history, our election will be totally out of the hands of those we really trust, the poll watchers, election judges and clerks. People we know.
Some may say that Maryland is safely in the Democrat column, so there is no problem this year. But it is not enough to pray that the election will go unchallenged. Any risk of anarchy is unacceptable. We would be better off to kiss the $35 million goodbye and restore a voter-made, hard-copy ballot, now.
Charles M. Webster
Can't have it both ways
To the editor:
I find it necessary to comment on Robert Ayrer's rationalization on how a person can be anti-abortion personally, but pro-choice politically.
I call this standing on the fence. Either you are for it or not. There is no in-between area. He wants the government to stay out of the womb. Why is that? We are already required to wear a seat belt when driving. I don't have a choice for the "risky" behavior of driving unbelted unless I want a fine.