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Let Us Make Our Marks, and Let Them Count

March 14, 2004

Re "How to Click With Those Who See Voting as So Last Century," Commentary, March 10: Catherine Getches complains that if the voting system were less archaic and "more like taking an online survey," then more young people would vote. How sad. I have never missed voting in an election, and if doing so required me to grind berries to make ink and use a quill to make my mark, I would happily do so. In too many countries, people are denied this precious right.

Think the poll workers are old? Why not volunteer your 27-year-old self for the fall election and lower the average age? Think the Rock the Vote crowd is too staid? Skip the concert and use your time to go to the polls and, better yet, to help get out the vote. You shouldn't need bells and whistles to "pump you up for the polls." Give me whatever system you want. Just let me know when and where to be, let me make my mark -- and let it count.

Tracy Saritzky

Van Nuys

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Getches thinks that more young people don't vote because they have to use paper ballots and deal with old people at the polls. If only we installed flashy computers, all would be well. Didn't Howard Dean's campaign teach her anything? Technological fads and superficial flashiness go only so far. At some point, substance matters.

We vote to elect leaders. We get to vote because millions of people have died winning and defending that right. We don't vote because it's fun or because it comes wrapped in a clever website. As for the old people -- yeah, it's tough having to look at silver hair and deal with people who don't see or hear as well as you do. Maybe we should make them all stay indoors and out of sight.

Rick Packard

Ojai

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Re "7,000 Orange County Voters Were Given Bad Ballots," March 9: The issue at stake is not whether the results of any particular March 2 race are thrown into jeopardy by the problems with Orange County's electronic voting machines. Rather, the issue is that if any race had been close enough to be threatened by these irregularities, there would have been no way to verify the election result short of a complete revote. After all, once an electronic ballot has been tallied, there is no possibility for a recount or appeal.

Our secretary of state and the various county registrars should be working now to implement mandatory paper records of all electronic ballots by the November election. This is the only way to enable a legitimate recount should any election results be contested.

Derek Fox

Pasadena

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