To the Editor:
The Letter to the Editor by Cesar del Aguila ["Misrepresentation in Voter Identification," The Reston Connection, May 16-22, 2012] does not surprise this writer. The usual diatribe of "untruths" spews forth when facts are presented. Chairman del Aguila states, 5-10 percent of the absentee voters are disenfranchised … were wrongfully rejected based on … Virginia's unique and complicated instructions for mailed-in ballots. These unique and complicated instructions are 1) a missing signature of the voter on the absentee voter statement, 2) a missing address of the voter, and/or 3) a missing witness signature - unique or complicated? Not hardly an opportunity for fraud and abuse? Yes! How are election officials supposed to determine who the voter was and their eligibility? Back to hanging chads.
Delegate Ken Plum writes ["History Repeating Itself," The Reston Connection, Commentary, May 16-22, 2012] that there is a nationwide effort in the states among Republicans to suppress voter participation. He further writes that: It's rationalized as ending voter fraud and abuses that have never been shown to exist. There has been, over the past 150 years or so a Republican - led effort to correct voter fraud and abuse; e.g., Plum writes The Byrd Machine. One wonders if OLLI history students heard about the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution or how it took Republicans to pass the 1965 Voter Rights Act.
More has come to light. State law requires a Chief Election Official and an Assistant Chief Election Official at each polling location. The Chief Election Official is required to be from the party of the Governor (unless a registered voter of his party is not available) and the Assistant Chief Election Official is from the other party. Reportedly, Republicans are being advised by a phone call from the County Electoral Board that the position of Assistant Chief Election Official is not being filled this fall due to budgetary limitations - a savings of about $36,000.
Further, Federal Law requires that all election officials be trained at least once during the presidential election year. Experienced election officials are receiving phone calls reportedly from the Electoral Board stating that their training has been canceled - only new election officials (first time) will be trained. Again, the reason - budgetary limitations. Back of the envelop calculations reveal a cost of about $12,000 to train all 1,920 election officials.
Thus, for the magnificent sum of $50,000 in savings, one may argue that cutting back on election officials and polls training is cost effective. Having just voted a multi-billion dollar County budget which included $40 Million for subsidized housing, the Democratic-dominated Board of Supervisors cannot find $50,000 to meet federal or state law requirements to provide a modicum of adequate supervision and training for our poll staffs on Election Day. Amazing!
To paraphrase: But Sir! Both Delegate Plum and Chairman del Aguila need to find some clothes for they are without cover.