Regardless of the results, Tuesday's (April 8) voter turnout of 24% was disgraceful. There must be a way to encourage voter turnout that is not, like the fines imposed in Australia and some other countries, coercive. How about a tax credit given to those who can prove they voted in all elections for which they were eligible in a given year?
This could be implemented with little effort--simply redesign the ballot stubs to make them difficult to counterfeit and to have a signature line for the voter and the precinct captain, along with some identifier linking them to a particular election. Given the American worship of money and dislike of taxes, it ought to work.
I always understood that the secret ballot was one of the cornerstones of democracy, allowing each person to vote in accordance with his or her conscience without fear of reprisal. Last Tuesday, I voted and was surprised when the precinct workers numbered my ballot with a cross-reference to my name (Precinct 4250, Ballot 151).
I can understand that there is a need to regulate the voting process to keep it fair and honest, but how can there be a free election of any sort when the voter could be held to task for his or her vote? What has happened to the laws governing our free elections?
JEFFREY A. SOBEL
I find it difficult to see any cause for rejoicing in Mayor Richard Riordan's reelection. This board chairman type (to use Tom Hayden's stinging image) panders to nothing more than the status quo. Let the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and let's get on with it--but with peace and civility. At least Hayden offered us a flesh and blood, warts and all alternative to this beige image. Shame on The Times for endorsing a vision of blindness in an age of nearsightedness.
I found it revealing that Hayden deemed it wrong for Riordan to view City Hall as a boardroom or "Riordan, Inc." (April 8). I think that kind of viewpoint is exactly what a broke city needs. If our federal politicians viewed Washington as a viable business, there could be no deficit, or the doors would be closed and boarded up!
CLINTON F. LAU
Re Measure 3, fire and police pension changes: The pension system proposed as mandatory, effective July 1, has employees contribute cash to the fund, and receive $0, if they cease employment before their 20th anniversary. They do not even get a refund of their contributions. No wonder the savings projections are $25 million over the next 30 years. I understand why those with a "business owner" perspective were in favor. I do not understand why any employees were in favor of giving the city the right to steal the money they were setting aside for retirement.