Howard County Times
Howard County

Letters: Vote by mail is essential during pandemic; nursing homes should’ve been prepared | READER COMMENTARY

Vote by mail is essential during pandemic

The upcoming presidential election in November will be the most important one in our lifetime. There’s a lot at stake, which is why it is imperative that everyone gets out and votes. However, voting has been significantly complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where we used to vote primarily by absentee ballot or going to the polls, one of these methods may not be as easy as it once was. Voting in person now takes a lot of thought, and perhaps some risk, especially for the elderly and for those with health issues that make them more susceptible to the pandemic that has taken over 125,000 lives in our country over the past six months. No one should have to choose between their life or their vote.


Voting is a right. Not being able to vote because you are afraid of getting a disease and/or dying violates that right. Violation of that right is voter suppression. Voting should be easy, accessible and fair. Having voting by mail makes it easier and less risky to vote.

Maryland needs vote by mail. Period. Which is why the League of Women Voters Howard County calls upon Gov. Larry Hogan to continue the vote-by-mail program for the November elections. (For Howard County, we recommend four polling places for same-day voting and extra drop-box locations.)


Governor Hogan is duty-bound to protect the health and well-being of Marylanders by continuing the vote-by-mail program for the November elections.

The Howard County League of Women Voters encourages all citizens that are of age to vote. Get out there and exercise your right.

Cynthia Williams

The writer is the president of League of Women Voters Howard County.

Nursing homes should have been prepared

Regarding the thoughtful “Health inspections of nursing homes lagged” (June 25), which points out how often older citizens are ignored — and remember you are going to be an older citizen some day — one has to wonder why nursing homes, which often charge $4,000 a month for each senior patient, would not have been better prepared for the coronavirus problem.

On the other hand, where do sick seniors go now if children and relatives cannot take care of them? Certainly not to a nursing home.

Barbara Zalesky



Pandemic can bring out the best in people

During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, my young friend Meslech Bellay put her photographic skills to good use.

The young woman, an economist and part-time photojournalist, filled the dark spaces by shadowing her mom, Mimi Desta, as she moved through her unsettled days.

Mimi is the popular owner of Sidamo Coffee in Maple Lawn. Like countless other small businesses, her once-crowded coffee shop has suffered mightily. Still, while grappling with her own future, she remains a whirlwind of hope and heart. Answering the call of her own DNA, she has given away Ethiopian brews, lentil sandwiches and other goodies to others who share her pain.

What emerged is a photo essay whittled to 70 exquisite images, compiled by Meslech, that capture her mother in the act of being fully human, always putting the needs of others before her own.

Mimi’s inspiration underscores an axiom that is equal parts broad and personal. It challenges me to peel away the mask — no, the inner kind this time — and uncover what truly lies beneath the surface. Regardless of the season she’s walking through, what Mimi joyfully dispenses is an all-natural, universal prescription. No co-pays or deductibles required.

Tony Glaros


Wilde Lake

Police reform is a state matter, not federal

I am very disturbed by one aspect of the bills in Congress to deal with police departments: Congress can only legally legislate in those areas the states have granted it authority to in the Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution gives Congress any authority over state and local police departments.

Each representative and senator swears an oath of office to obey and uphold the Constitution. Whatever the merits, or lack thereof, of each proposal in the different bills, the bills themselves are blatantly unconstitutional — yet that does not appear to even enter into their thinking.

If Maryland state and local police departments have problems, it is for Annapolis, not Washington, to deal with them.

Thomas M. Crawford