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The concern about voter suppression has pervaded discussions amongst some speakers at the Elections Task Force meetings. The concern was also raised by the City Council at the Rules Committee discussion on their use of an all vote by mail ballot for future special elections. The logic goes something like this…without the protection of the polling place, individuals voting at home will be coerced by members of their family, over zealous campaign workers or perhaps armed supporters of certain candidates to vote contrary to their personal preference.

While this seems highly improbably, particularly at a large enough scale to swing an election, people should feel comfortable and safe in voicing their preference through voting. I think this concern is overblown, though, and really irrelevant. When we in San Diego cast nearly 50 percent of our votes by absentee ballot in the last election, we sent a strong message to elections officials and their bosses…convenience matters!

The problems faced today at some polling stations are even more reason for us to take another look at our elections process. I agree with one reader; we don’t need to limit ourselves to paper ballots either. Voting electronically is easy and convenient. Effective safeguards could be put in place today (I use a finger print scanner to log-in on my computer) to allow for votes via computer in the comfort of our homes. It would assist Americans working, vacationing or (for our military men and women) serving abroad.

Look at this way…more people cast votes via electronic telephone and text message during “American Idol” than did for the President of the United States. That’s not to say I want Taylor Hicks as my President, but I think we can figure out a way to make it easier to vote than forcing people to trudge to their local church, community room or library to cast their ballot.


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