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Forum, Aug. 11: Voting should be as easy as possible


Saturday, August 10, 2019
Voting should be as easy as possible

The Washington Post piece by Amy Garner on voting restrictions highlighted efforts by Dartmouth College students to retain their right to vote in New Hampshire (“Battling for ballots: Dartmouth students on the front line of a nationwide fight against voting restrictions,” July 28).

With the rate of voter participation in this country remaining low relative to the rate in other countries with democratically elected governments, any mechanism that makes it easier to vote is welcome. The small state of New Hampshire, the first one to hold primaries, also stirs up quite a lot of interest in the presidential race with all the candidates coming through. It’s no wonder that students want to vote here.

I cast my first ballot in the state of Massachusetts, where I was attending college. Political signs drawing our attention to the candidates were everywhere and, as a result, I volunteered to go canvassing. Decades later, when I was abroad during another election, I had to cast my vote absentee. It never arrived in time.

Those who argue that college students should simply vote absentee in the state where they were living before attending college should understand that registering to vote and then voting absentee can be burdensome. One can vote early, but that too is becoming complicated in some states. The requirement of a driver’s license also discriminates against those who don’t drive or don’t have a car.

Meanwhile, the college years correspond for many students to the period in their lives when they first become aware of themselves as citizens. During an election cycle, students should educate themselves on the issues and the candidates, they should register to vote, and then they should go to the polls and cast their vote.

For the sake of our democratic form of government, voter registration and voting should be as easy as possible for all citizens.

ANNABELLE CONE

Lebanon

Who gets to reprogram the young?

I find myself partially agreeing with the premise of Jim Daigle’s July 26 Forum letter (“Schools should teach civics, current events and history”). All of us are thrilled by naturalization ceremonies for those who have come to America to better their lives or escape oppression.

Naturalized citizens seem to have a fairly good grasp of American values and how our government works, one notable exception being U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who came here from Somalia and seems to have no end of criticism for her adopted land — so much so that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has suggested that a brief visit back to Somalia might remind her why she came here. It’s ironic that naturalized citizens seem to understand America better than many American millennials, whose ignorance and apathy are products of their education.

My rationale as to how to implement such changes sharply diverges from Daigle’s. He claims the so-called “religious right” is “totally under a spell” and “bringing up their children to be just like them — people who are incapable of thinking on their own and need someone to think for them.” Funny, that’s how I view the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

He goes on to say, “that is so dangerous to the survival of a democracy, because their parents ... are teaching their kids to hate, lie, cheat, to love sex predators, be mean, be traitors, and the list goes on. ... If we aren’t able to help deprogram these young people, we don’t have a future.”

His remarks are such a mischaracterization of the very Americans who are trying to ensure our future as a nation — and if all the changes advanced by Democratic presidential candidates are implemented, we won’t have a future. The pressing question is, who gets the privilege of reprogramming our young people? The media? Liberal radicals? Schools and colleges that are hostile to the views of our founding fathers and think America needs to be trashed and recast in their mold? Revisionist historians?

Civics, current events and American history are not a panacea for all evil.

WILLIAM A. WITTIK

Hartford

Survey says: Polls are questionable

Have you ever been eating dinner or relaxing watching your favorite TV program and the phone rings? You answer and it is some pollster who says that this will only take a few minutes of your time. You answer the questions, either honestly or not.

If you watch your favorite news channel and you see that polls say one candidate is ahead of another, or one candidate can beat another candidate, think about this: We are a nation of approximately 300 million with approximately 180 million potential voters. If you look at the fine print, most polls have surveyed about 1,000 voters and, to add credibility to the poll, they add “potential voters.”

This leaves me with a few questions, such as where was the poll taken and how many respondents were black, white, brown, Asian, Hispanic, married, single, employed or living on some welfare program? All have some form of agenda.

Bottom line: Will you be swayed by 0.000005% of the potential voting population? Do you really believe polls?

BRUCE ST. PETER

Grantham

Answering the bell

I was interested in your recent article about Dartmouth College’s sometimes unfortunate past, and especially about Professor Hannah Croasdale (“An ugly history lesson: School encourages students to research its regrettable past,” Aug. 4).

My husband, Bill King, Class of ’53, told me that Croasdale was also a volunteer firefighter — and that when the siren from the fire station went off, she left her class and went to help fight the fire. She was quite the woman!

LIZ KING

Hanover

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