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Voting problems need resolution

December 9, 2004

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political — organization whose purpose is to encourage citizens to participate actively — in government and politics.

The league is deeply concerned about voting irregularities — in the 2004 election. The election was fraught with problems, including — voter registration issues, such as failure to fully process registration — applications in time causing blocked voter registrations and very long — lines for voters in many states, to name a few. Thousands of voting irregularities — have been reported.

Were voters unfairly disenfranchised because of bureaucratic — requirements? Were there not enough voting machines? Were the lines especially — long in minority and student precincts? The reasons for the very long — lines must be fully examined. Was every provisional ballot counted? Every — voter who cast a provisional ballot should find out whether her/his ballot — was counted. The provisional ballot counting process is still ongoing — and must be monitored. Under the Help America Vote Act, every voter has — the right to know whether their vote is counted, and, if it is not counted, — why it is not counted.

The league urges you to contact your Congressional representatives — and request an investigation into these concerns through open and public — processes. These important voting concerns must be addressed in order — to strengthen voter confidence and improve our electoral system. No American — citizen should be denied the right to vote due to negligence or bureaucratic — error. It is important to ensure that every properly cast ballot is counted — and to make improvements for future elections.

The league's network of state and local leagues will continue — to work closely with election officials to identify and correct all voting — problems. Let's all help keep democracy strong in America.

Vanya Sloan

League of Women Voters of Ashland

Ukraine puts U.S. to shame

I hope progressive America is paying close attention to — the lesson presented by the people of Ukraine. We complain about how little — progress we make in this country, succumbing to the hopelessness and cynicism — that our establishment tries so dutifully to instill.

The people in Ukraine saw a gross injustice (hardly a — surprise from any government) and have decided to do something about it — - even threatening secession. Imagine that - the Common Free People taking — control of their own lives, something we in the U.S. have virtually forgotten — how to do.

Do we have the courage to suffer the consequences of — sustaining a serious challenge to authoritarian elements? Power never — cedes anything without the threat of revolution. We've had two blatantly — fraudulent elections and the best we can do is march for a few hours, — collect signatures, and hold out for the next election. Voting in this — country is dead. Obviously, preparing the ground for change is important, — but rarely, if ever, do we take it to the next and most crucial level. — We only think we are demanding justice - Ukraine is.

Our schools should be empty. Industry should shut down. — The economy should come to a virtual halt. We should threaten secession. — We should be setting up tent cities in the streets and lighting bon-fires — and refusing to leave the White House grounds until regime change happens — here. We've done the debating and fact checking and networking. It's time — to take it to the streets and put ourselves on the line for our own liberation. — If we don't do this soon, then we have no business talking about democracy — and freedom. If we don't do this soon, then we have failed to live up — to our global reputation as the "brightest beacon for freedom," which — has always been a kind of morbid joke anyway. Organize, resist, and sustain. —

Jason Hoopes

A surprise on the history page

The Archives section of the Tidings of Dec. 6 reprinted — an article from November 21, 1984 which reported Ev Elerath had beaten — me for City Council by just one vote. I'm still trying to grasp the concept — of reading about myself in Archives rather than in a current news story.

The people of Ashland were right in electing my good friend — Ev Elerath, now deceased, to a term on the City Council. He brought independence — of thought and integrity to the job. As it turned out after the 1984 election — I soon had the opportunity to serve with Ev through the remainder of his — term on the City Council. We remained good friends until his death.

The "holes in the four ballots" you reported in 1984 are — known as hanging chads today. Back then we thought analyzing such chads — was a common election problem. I'm glad Oregon is beyond that issue today. —

Although the 1984 Ashland City Council election was between — two people who respected each other, we should never forget that one vote — can make a difference.

Now about that problem of reading my name in Archives... —

Phil Arnold

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge

Proud past member of the Ashland City Council,

current — Ashland resident

random look at Ashland history.