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Ballot Basics

September 22, 2002

Punch-card ballots are inexpensive, reliable when used properly, durable and simple. To replace them with expensive electronic systems that may intimidate voters or crash is a mistake. The latest Florida fiasco is an example of just how well these "improved" systems work (Sept. 12).

I routinely file an absentee ballot. I check the ballot to be sure that the holes are cleared and that there are no hanging chads. Is it too much to ask other voters to do the same? In nonlife-threatening applications, a computer failure rate of 1% is not unexpected. In an election with a razor-thin margin, that would not be acceptable.

Jim Ketcham

Malibu

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