The "robocall" incident tells me that we don't need to look far to find democracies under threat ("Former Ehrlich aides indicted," June 17). Julius Henson, who faces criminal charges for voter manipulation in Maryland's last election cycle, is an African-American man involved in urging African-Americans to stay home because Martin O'Malley had "already won." Paul Schurick, the other man indicted in the case, is a long-standing political operative who joined Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s camp more than a decade ago.

As more and more candidates seek the help of zealots who want to live up to the maxim, "I want to do my job well, earn my keep and live up to my full potential as a vote hustler," the more fragile our democracy will become. It is up to voters to separate reality from fiction. There is much at stake for our politicians who spend thousands of dollars even at state levels to get elected. For many of them and their aides, losing and failure are not options.

As more political operatives become emotionally detached from the integrity of our democracy, as more of them see their role in any election as a mere job and a means to victory at any cost, and as candidates outsource the process to advertising agencies and corporations in the election business we are bound to run into more corruption and subversion of democracy.

We don't need to go far to Zimbabwe or Haiti to find dictators treacherous to the democratic process. There are many homegrown unconscionable folks, with scant respect for the American voter, out and about, more loyal to their political paymasters than to the ordinary citizens of this country. Our democracies is as frail as any in the world. It is more and more a creature of folks who are not vested in it.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air