Other countries must be watching our election process and thinking: "The emperor has no clothes." Not only is the United States not a full democracy (as was proudly stated by CNN's Bob Novak recently when he pointed out we are actually a federal republic), we may not even have fair elections!

It is time for the US to practice what it preaches to the rest of the world about democracy and fair elections. If it is "one person, one vote," then the elitist Electoral College should be abolished, and care must be taken to see that the voting system is changed and upgraded to assure that each person who has the right and takes the responsibility to vote has his or her vote counted.

Gay Witherington Sedona, Ariz.

Regarding Jeffrey Shaffer's Nov. 17 column about the importance of the Electoral College ("One yokel, one vote"): I wish he had gone into more detail to explain why he would never see another presidential candidate stump in Oregon (or Washington, or Montana, or Delaware) rather than simply mourning that possibility.

Unfortunately, because of their large concentrations and tax-revenue generation, metro-area voters already get their way a disproportionate amount of the time. If we were to abolish the electoral system (a pipe dream, thanks to another constitutional safety valve: the amendment process), only states with large populations, and thus many electoral votes, would ever see the candidates in person because the votes of the rest of the population would be irrelevant.

One might argue they already are.

Jon Brady Venice, Calif.

Women's peace role in East Timor

In her otherwise "right on" opinion piece, Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh, referred to East Timor as having only two women in its leadership ("Put women at the peace table," Nov. 13). In fact, at the time of her writing, East Timor was announcing the new National Council with 36 members, 13 of whom are women with two seats to be filled. The National Council of East Timor will review legislation recommended by the transition Cabinet. It was announced by a United Nations administrator who said that the Council's composition reflected efforts to increase the role of women in administrative and government positions.

The new UN Security Council resolution on women and armed conflict will also help to increase the role of women at all negotiating tables where the fate of humanity is at stake.

Cora Weiss New York President, Hague Appeal for Peace

Deer hunting is more than sport

Regarding Donald Gibbon's Nov. 16 opinion piece, "Deer hunters as ecologists": Game management through hunting may be news to urban environmentalists, but not to those of us who have successfully practiced it for more than 30 years in Texas.

Each year we assess the deer population on our property and remove the amount necessary to continue a healthy herd.

During drought years, the population of deer is reduced as the browse (food source) is reduced and starvation is likely. During years of decent rainfall, we allow the herd to grow.

The only areas in Texas where the deer population is out of control are those populated by the advance of suburbia. The "Bambi" approach to deer has resulted in hunting bans, and the herds in these areas grow rapidly out of control.

Hunting is a viable tool in managing wildlife.

Tom White Houston

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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