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A Sensible Approach to Voting Machines

September 21, 2003

"Cure Worse Than Disease" (editorial, Sept. 17) relates how delaying the recall until the March primary election could be an administrative nightmare and disenfranchise more voters than holding it in October. In fact, the punch-card system really doesn't disenfranchise anyone. The polling places display prominent signs instructing voters, after having punched their cards, to make sure that their cards are clear of any "hanging chads."

If voters' ballots are not counted because of hanging chads, voters, by not following instructions, disenfranchised themselves. The right to vote is important. Consequently, there is an obligation on voters to vote responsibly.

Jim Hagar

Woodland Hills

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Over time, technological changes will produce voting machines that are more accurate than the ones that are now the standard for comparison in California. The judges who are considering the appeal of Monday's voting-system decision need to ask themselves three questions: When a new system that is more accurate than the current ones becomes available, will any county be allowed to use it? If one county buys new and improved voting machines, will it be illegal for other counties to continue using their current ones? Should voting machine manufacturers be discouraged from trying to improve their technology because it could introduce disparity?

Carlos A. Cuadra

Los Angeles

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