Regarding the Nov. 8 article "A 'moral voter' majority? The culture wars are back": Because the "moral voter" issue has been stated in a misleading way, it has unnecessarily confused the issue. It puts gay marriage and abortion in the "morals" column, but taxes, war, and the environment in the "politics" column.
All political issues have moral consequences, and politics are therefore correctly considered a subcategory of ethics. It is obvious that health insurance is a profoundly moral issue, that the war on Iraq and its consequences for the Iraqi people is a deeply ethical problem, and that revenue distribution through unfair taxes is always a matter of right and wrong, as is the inequitable access to education for our children.
In short, all of us are "moral voters" and "morals" should not be narrowly construed as the beliefs of the religious right.
To say that many voters place moral issues at the top of their priorities with no attempt to discriminate just what was meant by each is to cloud an issue unnecessarily.
I am not convinced that the answer meant the same thing to a Bush voter as it may have to a Kerry voter. They could very easily have had considerations about the election that shared the same words, but not the same ultimate meanings.
I find it very disturbing when you accept the exit polls as accurate when they call the main issue of the election "moral values," yet dismiss the exit polls as inaccurate when they indicate fraud at the polling stations.
On one hand you have the pundits explain away the exit polls as inaccurate because the actual counts differed significantly. Then the pundits use the same polls to claim the top issue to be "moral values." If the people polled felt moral values are a top priority, why would they lie about whom they voted for?
Regarding your Nov. 5 editorial "Voting Advances, and Retreats": The mainstream media seem to have definitively accepted the idea that exit polls are the problem. What about exploring the fears of technotampering with digital voting, especially with the connections between the makers of touch-screen machines and the Republican Party machine? How would we know if vote counts had been manipulated or not? Paper receipts aside, why can't we track the votes one by one in the counting?
Do we have any of this information? My suspicion is that we do not, and thus we'll never know, will we?
Port Townsend, Wash.
Regarding the Nov. 3 article "For reliable voting results, look abroad": American democracy is not only suspect because of the involvement of partisan officials and the lack of uniform voting methodology; the campaign's length and manner of financing make it vulnerable to corruption. In this respect, I don't believe the US is the greatest democracy.
Vancouver, British Columbia
As an American living in Morocco, it was interesting to hear of the successes of voting systems abroad. America is in a transition. As in anything, big countries tend to be slow to change. It takes debacles like the 2000 election to promote change.
America is at a vulnerable point of change and I think we came through pretty cleanly, considering all the possibilities for fiascos. We may be able to clean up our act even further with the help of government programs, like the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
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