I couldn't help but smirk at some of the points made in the Oct. 27 article, "For many, the voting is already over." So-called experts worry that early-bird voters (like me) are voting based on incomplete information – as if enduring another week's worth of ads and media coverage will somehow give me a complete picture.
As for the communal aspect of going to polling stations and standing shoulder to shoulder alongside your fellow citizens as you do your democratic duty – what a bunch of malarkey. You wait in line, shuffle into a private voting booth, and then leave. In-person voting has all the allure and romance of a visit to the department of motor vehicles.
We regularly bemoan low voter turnouts. Mail-in voting is one way to combat this. (Online voting is another, though we're still a few elections away from that, I fear.) To those who relish the chance to vote in person, I hope they have a satisfying experience on Nov. 7. At the very least, they'll encounter one fewer sourpuss at the polling station, shifting impatiently from foot to foot and muttering, "There has to be an easier way to do this."
Regarding the Oct. 27 article about early voting: I take exception to the claim that early and absentee voters are voting with incomplete information. Quite the opposite is true. In the past 25 years of diligent voting, only once was I aware of every candidate listed on the ballot. The only candidates given enough ad and editorial space for an educated decision are running for a federal or high state office. The rest, usually making up more than 50 percent of the ballot, are just names. This year I voted absentee. Not only was I better informed by being able to look up every candidate and issue on the Internet, I didn't end up with a sick feeling in my stomach afterward from guessing on a candidate's qualifications based on party affiliation.
In response to the Oct. 26 article, "Move to single-sex classes fans debate," I would like to express my opinion that single-sex classes can be very beneficial under certain circumstances. This belief has nothing to do with theories of different learning styles or brain growth, but from my experience teaching both coed and single-sex classes at the junior high and high school levels. My classes in foods and nutrition, family living, and consumer education were more unstructured and hands-on than a math or reading class. When boys and girls were in the same class, girls taunted boys, and boys either showed off for girls or were inhibited or distracted. In my single-sex classes, boys in particular concentrated more on the task at hand and seemed to get more satisfaction out of the assignments. I agree with the quote in the article by law professor Rosemary Salomone: "You're saying, particularly to teenagers, school is a very serious business.... It frees them from the social distractions of the other sex."
Regarding Helena Cobban's Oct. 12 Opinion column, "Bush created a mess in Iraq. Here's how to clean it up.": This author's proposal for getting out of the Iraq quagmire – pulling troops out and focusing more on international diplomacy – makes sense.
Let's hope the president hears of the plan and puts it to work. If he doesn't, let's make it work at the ballot box.
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