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The Baltimore Sun

Making voting easier dilutes its meaning

Early voting is permissible for some people: members of the military, the handicapped and in very limited circumstances. However, the emphasis on early voting is mostly a backdoor way to get votes from citizens who are less than committed or responsible, one sold and promoted mostly by liberal organizations as a way to get more voter participation and support, mostly, if not always, for liberal candidates and issues ("Yes on Question 1," editorial, Oct. 19).

But participation in the voting process and the responsible exercise of citizenship rights and responsibilities should be subject to more, not less, rigid requirements.

I have voted in every election, local, statewide and national, for more than 47 years, even while I was in the military or out of the country on business. I expect to register and re-register when I move; I expect to have, and want to have, my identity verified at the polling place.

I want every vote to count and be counted; I don't want phony or fraudulent voting by multiple persons at different polling places, by dead people resurrected only to vote or by "citizens" who aren't.

Presenting proof of citizenship should be the minimum requirement for registration and voting. Even better would be requiring proof that the person who tenders the ID is the person it purports to represent.

To require less devalues the vote.

Why such emphasis on the process?

Because voting is the one true authentication of our citizenship and participation in a democratic society.

Making voting easier does not make it better; making the process more transparent, yet reliable, seems a worthy goal.

Barry Dennis, Woodstock

When did gambling become a cure-all?

Here is why passing the pending slots referendum would be bad for Maryland citizens ("Slots no longer seen as fiscal fix," Oct. 19).

The legislation is an amendment to the Maryland Constitution and would therefore be very difficult to change.

If passed, it will ultimately award hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year, every year, to out-of-state gambling interests and rich racetrack owners. Can we really afford to do that in these economic times?

Slots were once legal in some Maryland counties. But because of the criminal activity associated with them, they were abolished.

If slots were bad then, why are they good now?

If Marylanders really want slots, they should urge elected officials to craft a bill that sends all slots profits to the Maryland treasury, where they will do citizens the most good.

Kurt S. Willem, Hydes

Obama won't give middle class a break

It's hard to disagree with the editorial philosophy of "giving middle-class Americans a tax break while asking the wealthy to pay more" ("Republican socialism," editorial, Oct. 21).

The reason Sen. Barack Obama inspires fear in people is not his plan to further tax the rich; it's the fact that many of us know that no middle-class tax break is coming in an Obama administration.

I would love Mr. Obama's tax plan if, deep down, I wasn't suspicious that he views anyone with a job and two cars as wealthy and that, in the end, his policies will reflect that belief.

Michael P. DeCicco, Severn

McCain's message now trades on fear

If terrorism's goal is to spread fear and hatred among the population, there is only one terrorist in this presidential race, and it isn't the guy with the funny middle name ("Hopefuls step up attacks, focus on own strengths," Oct. 22).

Sen. John McCain has broken my heart. Although he never had my vote, he at least had my respect. He used to be an honorable, stand-up guy who stuck to the truth.

Now, he is "that guy" - the one fueling the flames of prejudice and terror in the hearts of Americans by raising questions he knows are not based in truth, with accusations he is embarrassed to say out loud in a national debate.

If he wins, it will be not because of his ideas but because of fear.

I hope for once in this decade Americans of all colors and incomes will vote instead for hope and a new kind of politics with a new kind of person, a person with integrity.

We have had enough of the same-old, same-old.

Catherine Shoup, Hampstead

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