News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 15, 2014

Readers’ Forum: May 16, 2014

TERRE HAUTE — Favors votes like BBQ — old style

If there is one thing I learned from having lived for years in the Deep South it is that, ultimately, the untimely fate of every good barbeque joint is a grease fire, one that oftentimes flares up in the wee hours. Fortunes made become fortunes lost. Miltonian irony is then at its finest. And worst.

My opinion is that churches and private businesses are not appropriate locations for vote centers. The public’s business ought to be conducted in public spaces. I’m okay with the firehouses and community centers. Some of the other organizations hosting the vote were of notoriously conservative reputations. Some were neutral. None was liberal. The courthouse seemed like a good place to vote but, naturally, you could expect to vote there almost any time except on election day.

This begs the question: Why even bother to have an actual “election day” if anyone, for whatever reason, may vote at any time in the weeks leading up to it?  The constitution never mentions having an election month, does it?

When worried about hanky-panky, the longer the time frame, the greater the opportunity for mischief to occur. This is why parents institute curfews. I suspect there may have been some wild inclinations in earlier generations, to the point that, even with a 10 o’clock curfew, it was a wonder even more youngsters hadn’t turned up drunk, preggers or worse. Of course, political parties are more trustworthy than the kids ever were, right? And what about the hackers? What potential there exists?

In the past, for me, to vote required about a one-mile round-trip drive and about 45 minutes of my day. At most. To vote in this year’s primary required three times the mileage and three times the time.

I wish they would bring back that old barbeque pit at Oak Grove but I heard that the owners had settled up with the insurance company then decided to retire rather than rebuild. Rats.

In the old voting system, the clerks initialed your ballot before you filled it out and nobody-but-nobody except you touched it between the time you filled it out and the moment you inserted it into the vote counter. Then, the number of voters having used that machine clicked up by one.

In the new system, after you print out your ballot, two different clerks take it from your hands, walk around with it and then initial it before handing it back to you. No doubt they are trustworthy individuals, but what if they weren’t? Then you put your ballot in the vote counter but there is no real acknowledgment that your vote has indeed been recorded. (Click.)

Despite the hard-working people at the polls, I left feeling less secure about my vote having been counted than I have in years past.

It is hard telling how many people rubbed their germs on the “privacy sleeve” before it was handed to you or how many pressed their fingers to the computer screen ahead of you.

The sign as you walked in the door to the main library said it all.  “Voting On Lower Level.” You got that right.

In the future, please, just gimme some of that good old fashion, down-home, pit-roasted ‘cue. Paradise found.

I  do not like green eggs and ham.

— Clay Wilkinson

Terre Haute

Something kept him from voting

Election Day may no longer be a great day for me! I was not permitted to express my patriotic, legal, civil, secular, and — most of all — my spiritual (Christian) values in this week’s election last Tuesday.

May 7, 2014, was the first primary in which I was not permitted to vote since 1956. My son took me to the Community Center in West Terre Haute at 3:30 p.m., but we did not stay to vote then, because the scanner was not working and a long line had already registered to cast their ballots.

My daughter-in-law took me back to the same polling place at 5:30 p.m.; I showed the e-clerk my driver’s license; the e-clerk punched in some information, and I was told that I could not vote. “You are not in the computer.”

I had open-heart surgery October 2012 and could no longer drive, so I let my driver’s license expire. If I did not misunderstand what I was told, I was led to believe this is why I was taken off the voting role for Vigo County.

However, not thinking it necessary to produce my Receipt of Registration, I did not bring it to the polling place and did not have time to return home to get it.

Here is my final conclusion: Maybe the whole situation was a snafu (situation normal, all fouled up); or, perhaps, my Boss — a carpenter’s Son — did not want me to vote for the lesser of two evils; or, perhaps, someone knew I was an Independent and figured I had no business voting in a partisan, primary election; or ... YOU tell me the reason I was disenfranchised.

I am still happy to vote ... if permitted to do so!

—William A. Van Winkle

 West Terre Haute

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