Forum, June 10: Deafening Silence From the Colleges on Voting Rights

Saturday, June 09, 2018
Silence of the Colleges on Voting

Over the course of the past few months, a debate has raged here in New Hampshire over Republican plans to either disenfranchise students who are domiciled here, or deter them from voting by imposing an unconstitutional poll tax. Many voices have been heard back and forth, and now the issue has been sent by the governor to our Supreme Court for an advisory opinion, which it may or may not agree to issue. The voices I have not heard, yet, are the voices from our local colleges and their associated graduate schools. This letter is my inquiry sent to their governing bodies.

Your student body is composed of people from New Hampshire and from around the country who seek to further their educations here in the Granite State. Under current law, all of those students who are otherwise qualified are constitutionally entitled to vote in New Hampshire by reason of their being domiciled here. (“Domicile” for these purposes means the place one calls “home,” the place one lays one’s head.) Republicans don’t like this because they believe younger voters don’t agree with Republican policies, and don’t vote for the GOP.

The question for the administration at Dartmouth College, and at Keene and Plymouth and UNH, is this: Will you really stand silent while the Republican Party disenfranchises your students, those young men and women who currently can vote under the terms of our Constitution? If your answer is yes, then my response to you is this: For shame.

Peter Hoe Burling


The writer is a former House Democratic Leader, state senator and member of the Democratic National Committee.

This Can’t Be Allowed to Continue

I am distressed about the separation of children from their parents at our border with Mexico. The families are seeking asylum. The U.S. is imprisoning hundreds of children in “detention centers.” Every American should know what is being done in our name.

“Roughly 1,000 children locked up inside,” said U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, who was refused a tour of the Walmart Super Center that had been converted to the Southwest Key Programs detention center on Padre Island Highway in Brownsville, Texas.

Consider for a moment the fear these children are experiencing. Toddlers, and even a 53-week-old baby, have been taken from their parents, as reported by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Who is holding them, cuddling them to quiet their crying and their fear? What if they get sick? Do they have access to a pediatrician? Who knows if a child has an allergy? What kind of food are they being fed? Do they have a toy?

Who are we as a country to cause this much pain and fear to these little ones? They are children. This has to stop. We cannot allow this to continue in our name. This is so wrong.

What can we do? Call your senators and representatives, the White House, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security. These children must be returned to their families immediately.

Sherry Merrick

Post Mills

Power Companies Must Innovate

You can tell when the U.S. government is about to make a bad decision. The first thing you spot is some “news” from a friendly-sounding presumed nonprofit that purports to understand the future and offers a solution to a “looming problem.” The next thing you find are reports that the National Security Council has recognized the “danger” of failing to respond to this new “issue” and has begun addressing it. Finally, the public, now believing the false information, writes letters to the Valley News. Only if some start to question the statements from the original source can the process be arrested.

On the front page of the Valley News we read that the administration may invoke emergency authority and order electric suppliers to purchase more electricity from nuclear- and coal-powered generating stations (“Feds May Intervene In Coal, Nuke Markets,” June 2). This will prevent the “premature retirement of fuel-secure generation capacity.” These facilities are being abandoned because electricity from natural gas, wind and solar costs less and is putting them out of business.

The guys who own the nuclear and coal plants want help. They have lied about the cost and availability of electricity from other sources. They have refused to consider steps not based on coal and nuclear that will make the grid more resilient. Why can’t they be like Green Mountain Power? It is doing this with batteries right now. The least-expensive source of reliable, nonsubsidized electricity today is wind power, according to a recent analysis by Lazard, the financial advisory and asset management firm. We should be leaning on Eversource to look more like GMP. We certainly should not allow Northern Pass to go through New Hampshire until you can see wind turbines off Cape Cod and solar panels on more roofs in Massachusetts.

Most power company executive salaries seem to depend on the diameter of the smoke stack, not on the amount of company innovation. Get with it guys.

O. Ross McIntyre


Sold to the Highest Bidder

Shame on Dartmouth College and Dartmouth-Hitchcock (“Cancer Center Naming Rights Part of Fundraising Campaign,” May 31). To we “old Lebanonites,” Sen. Norris Cotton’s name is still very important and we are very proud of what he did. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is my hospital. Most of my doctors are there. My care is all I could hope for. I am incredibly grateful that I have never needed it, but the Norris Cotton Cancer Center is part of the history of that hospital and should not be able to be sold away.

I thought this was an honor bestowed upon Sen. Cotton for all he did. Can you really sell away an honor?

Selma Sanborn


Break From School Shootings

As we get to the end of another intense school year, students and parents are understandably relieved — not because kids get a break from studies, but because moms and daughters, dads and sons, get a two-month reprieve from worrying about a shooting in their school. Times sure have changed since I was a kid.

Dan Weintraub