Arlan Gerig’s May 9 diatribe about supposed voter fraud proves the point that if you tell a lie big enough and tell it often enough, someone will believe you (“Protect against voter fraud”). In fact, numerous studies have proved that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in Ohio.
There are in fact no examples of individuals who masked their identities to cast illegal votes that swayed elections. The only person I know of who was actually prosecuted for voter fraud in Ohio in the past decade was a hapless student who voted absentee in her home county and later cast a ballot in the county where she attended college. Even then, she did not try to vote twice for any national or state candidate. She broke the rules but never intended to commit fraud, readily confessed her error and was given a small fine.
Gerig contends that the activist group ACORN promoted or engaged in rampant voter fraud, perpetuating another lie. What ACORN did was pay people according to the number of registration forms they submitted.
This is akin to the garment industry, in which workers are paid by the piece. Unlike the garment industry, ACORN failed to follow basic quality control practices and passed on forms for fictitious people.
Dishonest ACORN employees produced a small percentage of fraudulent registrations, but even this did not constitute voter fraud. The only way ACORN could have been guilty of voter fraud would have been if they drove Donald Duck to the polls after registering him. Rules have since been tightened, not because of any actual election fraud, but because of the burden fictitious forms place on boards of elections, charged with vetting registrations.
The fact is that the current system of identifying oneself at the polls through signature comparison and multiple identification options (like a driver’s license, military ID or current utility bill confirming residence) works very well.
One has to wonder why Republicans in the Ohio legislature are pushing to change it by imposing a state-issued ID requirement that would cost our cash-strapped state an estimated $7 million.
Since the burden of such a requirement would fall disproportionately on traditionally Democratic voters, it does not take a cynic to conclude that this is merely an attempt to suppress potential votes for the opposition. Ohio taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for naked partisanship.
The final lie perpetuated by Gerig is that voting is a privilege, not a right. In fact, voting is the most basic right of citizenship in a great democracy.
I would direct Gerig to the 15th and 19th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Too many men and women gave their lives to guarantee this right for all Americans to let people now claim that voting is a privilege to be controlled by any one party.
Education loses to political power
According to a May 8 headline, and similar headlines throughout our nation, opportunities for children in public schools are being slashed to bare minimums due to lack of money (“Akron schools cut jobs, athletics”).
Meanwhile, many millions of dollars are spent on angry, demeaning political campaigns that are tearing our nation and its citizens apart.
Everything is wrong about this picture. Our children are listening, and the message they are hearing is that political power in the present is much more important than educating future voters.
This is a very sad state of affairs. Politicians should stop the finger-pointing and get to work. They should put their money where their mouths are.
Failing to support women and veterans
As a veteran, and a woman, I am disappointed in U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel. While I respect his service, we were not taught in the military to abandon our fellow citizens when we left active duty.
Not only did Mandel support Senate Bill 5, which stripped veterans’ preference for teachers, who are mostly women, he has not expressed his clear support for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
In Mandel’s recent television ad, he claims he won’t be pushed around. Maybe it’s time he stood up to the Republican Party, which doesn’t seem to acknowledge that women deserve protection or a voice in government.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence against women is a serious problem that can’t be ignored and one that military leaders have a responsibility to address. Mandel is ignoring it.
Sen. Sherrod Brown led the fight to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in the Senate. He is a consistent advocate for veterans through legislation like the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and Hiring Heroes Act.
That’s why I will support Brown this fall. He has proved he will protect veterans and Ohio’s women.
Protecting Lake Erie, serving the economy
Residents in the Lake Erie basin can’t deny that the lake and our natural waterways are an incredible asset to this region. This is especially true when it comes to attracting and retaining businesses. Countless businesses rely on Lake Erie and the rivers feeding the lake for their supply of water.
Whether the water is used for drinking, irrigating a field of crops, keeping a golf course in playable condition or as an integral part of a manufacturing process like making steel, water is an essential resource for many of our region’s small, medium and large employers.
Members of the Ohio legislature are currently considering House Bill 473, which Ohio must pass in order to comply with the Great Lakes Compact. The goal of this legislation is to protect our water and keep it right here in our area, rather than allowing other states to truck, barge or pipe it away to meet their own needs.
This legislation creates Ohio’s first-ever program regulating water withdrawals. It will ensure that businesses along Lake Erie and within the basin that are dependent upon Lake Erie water for the survival of their operations and the jobs they provide to thousands of Ohioans — including our neighbors — can continue to have access to the water they need. It does so while at the same time providing good stewardship of this precious resource.
House Bill 473 is a responsible, common-sense bill that protects the environment without compromising the use of this great natural resource in helping to grow our economy and create jobs. I encourage the legislature to pass it right away.
Jack R. Pounds
President, Ohio Chemistry Technology Council
Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the Great Lakes Water Compact Advisory Board.
Big ego in clash at autism center
I read the May 6 article concerning problems with the Autism Family Foundation (“Clash at autism center leads to finger-pointing”). Robert Keegan has to be the most egotistical person I have heard of for many, many years, if ever.
He bought naming rights. If he wanted his name in lights why didn’t he join the theater or buy a building and plaster his name on it?
To use a good cause to publicize his name is pretty low, in my opinion.
I am new to Akron and laugh at some of the things that have been published, but this has to be No. 1.
So state Sen. Capri Cafaro opposes legislation to ban texting while driving, her reason being she is afraid it will open the door to prohibiting putting on lipstick, eating and the like while driving.
Has she ever checked any statistics on how many accidents these diversions cause?
It’s too bad there has to be legislation to ban these things. It should be a matter of common sense.
When you get behind the wheel, driving should be the only priority.
With legislators like this, may heaven help us.
Eunice D. Shoemaker
Fabrication in campaign ads
Currently, there is an Amercians for Prosperty (tea party, Koch family) television ad running in swing states claiming that President Obama is sending American tax dollars to foreign countries such as Mexico, Finland and China while millions of Americans are out of work.
Every word is a fabricated lie. Read the truth in PolitiFact (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/03/americans-prosperity/ad-says-stimulus-tax-credits-funded-jobs-finland/).
In my 74 years, I was always taught to speak the truth both at home and by my church. Where do the so-called Christian conservatives receive their guidance? I find it hard to believe our next president might be elected based on fabricated lies.
If you see a political ad, do a quick check for its truthfulness.
Daniel E. Rowland