Letters to the Editor

Readers write about paper vs. electronic voting ballots and using titles on addressed envelopes.

Paper or electronic voting: Which is more accurate?

In response to your Jan. 2 editorial, "Build trust in electronic voting": It is the right of all citizens to be served by persons they have elected, yet in recent years extensive evidence has shown that it may not be so.

Significant defects found with electronic voting machines may force Colorado and other states to return to the paper ballots they abandoned following the Florida fiasco of 2000.

Until electronic voting is both trusted and transparent, citizens must insist on election ballots that are read, marked, and counted by the citizens.

Otherwise, our inalienable right to self-governance will remain, as it is now, in jeopardy.

Howard Randall Smith
New York

In response to your Jan. 2 editorial about electronic voting: Despite the election-related problems that seem to persist in various communities in the United States, I feel obligated to discuss some success stories.

Yes, Utah was forced into a position to choose Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines against a punch-card system that had worked for decades in our state.

What we found, during research of all voting systems, was that the best, most accurate system, included a DRE component.

My office toured the state of Utah, and upon that knowledge, decided that DREs made the most sense for us.

Due to several concerns, including our own, we decided that the voting machines should have a "paper trail" and that we also implement an "audit" procedure of the machines.

We are doing all we can to ensure a safe, fair, and accurate election.

Joseph M. Demma
Chief of Staff, Utah Lieutenant Governor Gary Herbert
Salt Lake City

In response to your editorial on electronic voting:

Any first-term computer programming student knows how to write a computer program to count things, such as the number of odd numbers, numbers greater than zero, numbers that are multiples of seven, etc., from lists of arbitrary numbers.

That electronic voting machines should have been deployed to polling places implies, at the very least, incompetence and at worst fraud, by rushing a product that is not ready for the market.

It is not possible to build trust in an electronic system only through clever marketing or brainwashing of the public if that system is built with proprietary software, which is private and unavailable for inspection by anybody at any time for any reason.

For a system of voting machines able to deprive us of our freedom, the only sane way to build those machines is with 0pen-source software.

Bill del Solar
Hoboken, N.J.

No titles on envelopes

In response to the Dec. 27 article, "Proud to be a 'Miss' ": When it comes to labels on mailing envelopes, I can't say I much care to be addressed as "Mr.," "Miss," "Ms," or "Mrs."

Why not just my name?

Why should my gender and my marital status be proclaimed to the world merely because someone writes me a letter?"

Frieda Arkin
Ipswich, Mass.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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