Voter IDs as just one measure to reduce election fraud

Regarding your Oct. 26 editorial, "A voter ID as an election safeguard": I have heard the arguments for voter IDs, but I have yet to see any data supporting the notion that illegal aliens or unregistered citizens are voting in numbers large enough to swing an election. I don't oppose a photo voter ID, but the state governments need to figure out how they will fund it and distribute the IDs so that they aren't used as a tool to keep low-income people from voting.

A more serious and immediate threat to our elections is the lack of security in the new electronic voting machines, particularly the ones that do not provide a paper record of the votes. Studies have shown that they can be easily manipulated, and the changes are untraceable. Maybe state legislators and editorial writers should focus on that problem.
Tom O'Brien
Antioch, Ill.

Regarding your Oct. 26 editorial about voter IDs: If there is even the slightest chance that people are voting illegally, we need to put safeguards in place. If it means having voter IDs, then so be it. Anyone who is a true American should have no qualms about having to show proof that he or she is a citizen and registered to vote.

I am a naturalized citizen, and I would not be insulted if asked for ID. I have thought that this is how it should be done. I am suspicious of anyone who is against it. Even people who do not drive here in California can get an ID from the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
Arlene Cooper
Sacramento, Calif.

Service learning can stop 'bum rushing'

The juxtaposition of your Oct. 16 editorial, "College students as off-campus doers" and Michael Stoops's and Brian Levin's Oct. 18 Opinion piece, "A vile teen fad: beating the homeless," left me feeling at once uplifted and saddened.

The potential of service learning as a powerful teaching and learning tool is profound. As a young professional working in the nonprofit community development industry, I credit my career path to my teachers – in K-12 and in college – who integrated service projects into the curriculum of their courses. Service learning invites the real world into the classroom and deploys knowledge and skills to the community via enthusiastic students. I advocate service learning as an additional tool in the community education efforts that Messrs. Stoops and Levin suggest.

Perhaps the tech-savvy youth committing these horrific crimes could better utilize their skills at a homeless service agency, teaching basic job-readiness computer skills to homeless individuals. This service project could be couched in the context of a history lesson on the Great Depression or the war on poverty. I doubt that students with such experience would ever think of "bum rushing" a homeless person – for cheap thrills or for profit.
Erin R. Kelley
Richmond, Va.

Fun with 'Jeopardy's' contestant wrangler

I appreciated the Oct. 18 article, "Hopeful game show contestants for $600, please," about "Jeopardy" contestants and Maggie Speak, the "contestant wrangler." "Jeopardy" auditioned contestants in the summer of 2005 here in Boston. After the written test, the practice game, and the obligatory "we'll call ya" goodbye, they did in fact call me, and I was chosen to appear on the show. My episode aired last Thanksgiving, and alas, I went down in flames. But Maggie was a lot of fun and put all the contestants at ease.
Beth Chalecki
Medford, Mass.

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