Pine Bluff letter

Keep ballot as is

Keep ballot as is

Editor, The Commercial,

The proposal to revert to paper ballots to tally votes strikes me as so absurd that I have begun to question not the measure but the motive of its proponents.

There is no question that voting machines have drastically streamlined the process of tabulating votes and all but eliminated those tedious all-night sessions at almost every county's courthouse as officials went through the boxes, ballot by ballot, to count votes cast.

(With The Commercial, this meant that about half the newsroom joined them at the north end of Main Street, making our own counts so the reporters could return to their typewriters to pen those "complete, but unofficial" reports for the next day's paper. On at least one occasion, this included a news editor helping. I don't recall just how I wound up there, but I did contribute a case of seedless grapes for the masses, which slowly disappeared as dawn approached.)

Multiply that times 75 for all the counties in Arkansas where the actions were being repeated -- as workers prayed things would run smoothly this time. Then multiply THAT number by 50 (not including U.S. territories and overseas voters), and it's easy to see why it could take an extra day or three to declare a winner for a national office.

The thought of reverting to such a miasma leads me to conclude that any such proposal is more concerned with muddying the water, as it were, than actually improving accuracy.

This campaign could just as well be a smokescreen, a way to obscure its actual intent with pablum for laymen, while the proponents work surreptitiously toward some nefarious purpose, likely one that would not stand up to close scrutiny. What that purpose might be is somebody else's guess; my mind is not Machiavellian enough to propound one. [Hey, I found Paul's thesaurus!]

D.H. Ridgway,

Pine Bluff

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