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Firsthand Observations of the Voting Experience

Re your Nov. 4 article on the vote tie in Mono County: This story gives more evidence that every vote counts. My husband and I voted absentee for John F. Kerry in Mono County. So we were two of the seven that won the entire county for Kerry.

Mary Lou Clayton

Santa Clarita

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Tuesday was a great day for Americans to vote on serious issues and candidates. However, it was marred by an inadequately funded system to guarantee the rights of all its citizens to vote. There is no excuse that in our country people should have to wait up to eight hours to cast their votes. I feel that all national elections should have adequate funding so Americans can vote in a timely and unconfusing atmosphere. All polling places should have the same ratio of machines to voters on their poll lists.

There is no excuse that I spent 15 minutes (my longest wait ever, in a largely white, upper-class neighborhood) and others in the inner city and minority areas had to wait up to eight hours. For all the money this government can spend on “pork projects,” you would think our great country could find enough money to guarantee that all its citizens would have the same access to voting regarding waits and straightforward ballots and rules for voting.

Eli J. Grossman

Los Angeles

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On Nov. 2, I was a volunteer poll watcher for the California Democratic Party’s “Promote and Protect the Vote” project. I was assigned to a precinct at a Baptist church in South L.A. to observe the voting process, make sure the rosters were updated hourly, watch for any politicking and be an extra set of hands for the poll workers.

What I actually ended up doing was learning a profound lesson about determination and patience. The trouble that some went through to exercise their right to vote was inspiring and humbling. I helped an 80-year-old woman get her disabled son out of her car and into a wheelchair, so that they could stand in line for nearly an hour calmly waiting their turn. I watched old people, sick people, people with crutches, blind people, women with tiny babies and cranky, hungry kids, people who didn’t speak English, all waiting patiently to vote.

Later that night, on my way home, I stopped at the market and overheard some people chatting: “Well, did you vote today?” “No, I never vote, it’s too much trouble.” Wow, spend a day being a poll watcher.

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Stephanie Scott

Los Angeles

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Kudos to the poll workers at my polling place at the City Yard in Huntington Beach. Each one knew his or her job and did it well in spite of there having been a very large crowd in a small room. The machine I used worked flawlessly too. My congratulations to all who made this a good experience for me.

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Emma Willsey

Huntington Beach

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I have a suggestion to all of those who complain about the difficulty of voting (letters, Nov. 3). First, be thankful that you can vote. Second, volunteer to work at the polls. You get $55 for working a 15-hour day and putting up with people like you.

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E.A. Thistlewaite

Arcadia


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