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Turn Out, Shake Up the Vote

November 02, 2002

Re "Chances Fade for Upset in House," Oct. 28: I resent political scientist Gary Jacobson's characterization of the near 50-50 balance of power in the House and Senate as "an accurate reflection of an underlying lack of consensus." Quite to the contrary, it strikes me as an obvious and unavoidable equilibrium that is sure to result from a two-party system where each party abandons its core values and squabbles over the votes of the so-called "mainstream" voter.

Every election cycle, each party attempts the absurd calculus of trying to average the political view of the few Americans who actually bother to turn out and vote on election day. Granted, the two mainstream parties approach that average from different directions, but that's still a formula guaranteed to create a 50-50 split in the balance of power.

The solution? We need to get the majority of Americans who don't bother to vote out on election day. We need to get more Americans to want to serve their country by running for political office. We also need to get our politicians to stand up for principles instead of constantly campaigning for reelection. That should work until the next equilibrium is achieved, anyway. In the long run we may just have to rethink the two-party system and abandon it for something better.

Steven Taylor

Los Angeles

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We disagree with David A. Holtzman (letter, Oct. 28) on voting with the new touch-screen machines. Last week, we voted at the Redondo Beach Public Library and found the experience to be nothing but efficient and pleasant. The officials were more than eager to demonstrate how to vote using a sample machine and sample ballot, and the actual voting process was easy, quick and user-friendly. This could be the answer to the expense of absentee ballots and those frustrating hanging chads.

Doris and Martin Melnick

Rancho Palos Verdes

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On Nov. 5, once again we will have the opportunity to celebrate the historical triumph of liberty over tyranny by casting our votes. If you are reading this letter, chances are that you are among one of those "most likely voters." However, I would like to respectfully ask you to consider, this election day, finding a friend or a relative who is not planning to vote and talking him or her into participating. Even better, take the person along with you to the polling place and maybe for a drink afterward. If he or she asks why you care, you may consider responding with any of the following:

Tell your friend that his or her vote is paying the ultimate respect to the memories of all those who died in two world wars, in Korea and in Vietnam, fighting Nazism and communism. Tell him that his walk into the voting booth is rekindling the crushed spirits of those who marched into Tiananmen Square. Tell her that the sound of opening the curtains at the voting booths will be the most heavenly music to the tired ears of Saudi women under veils. Tell him that the drink you will share together afterward will be a celebration of the human spirit and individual freedom and will be the strongest blow to those ignorant and intolerant souls who planned and celebrated 9/11.

By the way, if you know someone who you think may need to hear any of these reasons but you feel that he or she may think of you as a corny and naive person who doesn't know how the real world works, then please leave a copy of this letter somewhere for him or her to see.

Hamid Bahadori

Mission Viejo

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I want to express my disappointment in your Oct. 27 Voting Guide in the California section. By limiting candidate profiles beyond one or two words to only Republican and Democrat candidates from lieutenant governor on down to insurance commissioner, you have effectively embraced the two-party system that holds our citizenry hostage.

And as if your barometer for public sentiment were on the fritz, you chose to provide key issue stances from only Gov. Gray Davis and Bill Simon, who together probably draw about as much zeal from California voters as a trip to the dentist. If ever there was a chance to elect or write in a third-party candidate, it is now, which is why it is so unfortunate that The Times failed to capitalize on this opportunity for inspired democracy.

John Tingue

Pasadena

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The California "govern by proposition" tendency has now gone beyond its logical conclusion to the absurd. We are now actually budgeting by acclaim! I have a great idea. Let's do the state budget the same way we can donate to the United Way: When we pay our taxes, we individually apportion our taxes based on our individual opinions and priorities.

The logical result of this will be that without legislators handling the budget, we don't need 'em anymore.

Tom Huber

Van Nuys

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