After returning from an extended trip, I learned that voting precincts were going to be reduced from 475 to 294 in Summit County. This would be a great mistake that will cause chaos on Election Day.

For the past five or more years, I have worked as a poll worker. When most people come to vote, they do not remember the precinct identifier; they go to the building where they have voted in the past. Once there, if there are multiple precincts, they go to the table where they recognize the booth workers.

The 38 percent reduction in precincts means that a great number of people will be voting in new precincts, if not new locations. Coupled with the greater number of persons to be processed at each precinct, the delays and confusion will be huge.

Working persons, especially if they have had to wait in line only to find they are at the wrong location, will be faced with the choice of dealing with problems for being away from work or voting. The long lines will also be difficult for elderly and other persons who cannot stand for long periods of time.

This reduction of precincts could not have come at a worse time. Voter turnout will be especially heavy in a presidential election. People have already voted in the primary in their old precincts, and they will be expecting to vote at these locations in the general election.

Efforts to inform people of the new precincts will likely fall short of what is needed. Consider the cost of sending a post card to each of the 353,000 registered voters at the $.32 postage rate, $112,960.

This does not include labor and materials, a substantial cost. This would wipe out the claimed $124,000 savings, at least the first years.

Given the history of Republican-sponsored legislation to limit voter participation, this appears to be another way of limiting voting rights. For example, Ohio House Bill 194 attempted to limit early in-person voting and discourage poll workers from directing a voter to the proper precinct.

The bill was blocked from implementation by a citizen referendum.

In response, Senate Republicans passed Senate Bill 295, which re-introduces some of the more objectionable parts of H.B. 194. This bill is pending in the Ohio House. Other Republican-sponsored legislation has attempted to restrict voting rights and establish very partisan, gerrymandered legislative districts.

This is a thinly veiled effort to manipulate the mechanics and procedures of voting to dominate elections. It has the stink of Karl Rove all over it.

Dennis P. Brinton

Cuyahoga Falls

Editor’s note: Beacon Journal staff writer Stephanie Warsmith reports today that the Board of Elections voted to reduce the number of precincts to 298.

Clowns in high places

Your new series, “America Today,” will be very interesting (“Why do we sound so angry?” April 22). A major reason: We have survived the absolute worst, incompetent Republican president, George W. Bush, and are now surviving the most incompetent and dangerous socialist Democrat, Barack Obama.

Our national political “leaders” are a disgusting, self-serving collection of scum. No wonder we must hold out noses when we vote.

If Republicans oust Obama, I fear we are trading left-wing clowns for right-wing clowns. I have voted since Eisenhower, when we had to be 21 to vote, and never have seen such disastrous back-to-back administrations. They are liars.

Donald M. Bowker

Mantua

Responsible and ?productive drilling

Your April 19 editorial, “Drill, protect and preserve,” misstates the facts about our proposed Uinta Basin natural gas development project in northeastern Utah. Here’s what your readers should know:

Our project area is six miles from the top of Desolation Canyon — roughly the same distance that separates FirstMerit Tower from downtown Cuyahoga Falls and more than enough to protect the canyon.

We will not, nor have we ever planned or asked to, drill under Desolation Canyon.

The Bureau of Land Management, a unit of the Interior Department, is weighing our proposal and has come up with a plan that addresses the Environmental Protection Agency’s concerns.

“We worked closely together to address environmental and public-health impacts and believe the final environmental impact statement addresses them well,” the EPA said in an email cited by a March 16 Bloomberg article. “The Gasco Project is a good example of a domestic energy development project that will go forward with vital safeguards to control pollution.”

The BLM’s plan is designed to allow for directional, or lateral, drilling to reduce surface impacts, while still allowing some vertical drilling. As the BLM said on March 16 in publishing its environmental impact study, this balanced approach “offers the greatest potential to local economies from resource extraction while still protecting the physical, biological and social resources” of the area.

Our project offers significant environmental benefits. According to a 2010 Congressional Research Service report, if the United States doubled the utilization of combined cycle natural gas capacity to 85 percent, it could displace about 19 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions associated with coal power, or approximately 636 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This amounts to an 8.8 percent reduction of all carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.

Protecting wild places is important to our company and to me personally, as an outdoorsman. We are confident that we can develop the resources in our project in an environmentally responsible manner and for the benefit of the American people.

W. King Grant

Chief executive and president

Gasco Energy

Englewood, Colo.

Reopening parishes,?not all good news

I read with sadness Pat Taylor’s letter warning that Bishop Lennon will be “cursed” if he does not leave after the parish mergers and reopenings in the Cleveland Diocese (“Broken hearts and parishes,” April 20). I am a member of St. Bernard-St. Mary Parish, and I am devastated to learn that my beloved parish will soon be history.

To express such disrespect and hatefulness is way out of line and is certainly not how we are called to live as Catholics and Christians.

Neither St. Bernard nor St. Mary expected to become merged parishes three years ago, but as time progressed, most accepted the bishop’s directive and moved forward.

Under the faithful, sympathetic and able leadership and care of our pastor, Father Dan Reed, we grew from being good neighbors to truly being a loving parish. We parishioners have been blessed by having the opportunity to belong together, by our pastor and by the privilege of working to further the mission of our parish.

It certainly was not without missteps or hurt feelings along the way, but we became the best parish in the diocese, with the finest pastor.

It hurts to know we will lose our beloved parish, and I am still trying to accustom myself to the news. Many of my fellow parishioners and I held out hope and prayed that we would not have to go through this painful ordeal again. The only thing that will remain the same at the reopened parishes is the buildings. A parish is more than a church and its furnishings — it is the parishioners and their pastor. Once they have been taken away, they can never be duplicated.

Contrary to reports, not all Catholics are delighted that the closed parishes will be reopened. I will obey and respect Bishop Lennon.

I am convinced, contrary to Taylor’s view, that Bishop Lennon’s decision was not made out of malice. It will not be easy or pleasant, but it must be done. There is no need to perpetuate the hatefulness by showing disrespect for Bishop Lennon.

It is impossible for all of us to be happy. It is again time to move on and remember there is more to being a Catholic than territorial feelings for church buildings and parishes.

Susan M. Kramer

Akron

Still too high

An article on the front page April 21,”Motorists finally see U.S. fuel prices fall,” included the information that we can now say we are paying less for gas than we did a year ago, the first time we can say that since 2009. It seems to me that it was only a few months ago that we were paying much less for gas than the current $3.80 per gallon or so. I’m talking about less than $3 per gallon.

And now are we supposed to be pleased with this budget-busting $3.80 average price? The article made it sound as though we should be having celebration parties because of this supposed “drop” in prices.

Let’s save any celebration for a time when we can fill our tanks and buy groceries, medications and other necessities. Let’s celebrate when we can plan vacations again, when RVers can afford to get their machines on the road again and when we can all spend our money at several places rather than spending most of it at the gas pump. Shame on anyone who attempts to make us feel good about what we have to endure today.

Gene Keener

Akron