Readers write about treatment of war prisoners, improving voting systems, and Ron Paul's chances in this year's election.
Prisoner abuse sullies US democracy mission
In response to the May 22 article, "Guantánamo ex-detainee tells of abuse": By treating those who are not United States citizens as inferior to US citizens, we deny the rest of the world the rights we have under our Constitution. Hasn't the battle cry of America always been to spread democracy and freedom worldwide? We would appear to be at cross-purposes in our foreign policy if Operation Iraqi Freedom is only a way to set up an international caste system with the US on the top.
Ballot systems can improve
In response to Bryan Pfaffenberger's May 30 Opinion piece, "Return to paper ballots? Not so fast": As one who governed the election office in Charlotte, N.C., with several hundreds of thousands of voters for twelve years, I can tell you that voters are just as capable of messing up a vote on a machine as they are on a paper ballot.
And I have judged thousands of paper ballots and found the "intent" of the voter almost always clear.
The problem is the length of the ballot.
There is no way to design a ballot that voters will be able to intelligently navigate if it lists 20 or 30 or even 40 different offices. With the short ballot, machines are not needed.
Regarding the recent Opinion piece on voting machines: Oregon has been using mail-in ballots for more than 10 years. This system makes it possible to vote in our own home at our leisure. We are not harassed by would-be vote changers at the polls. We are not pressured to hurry up by long lines of people waiting for a voting booth.
If we did not have this system in place, I would vote by absentee ballot, which accomplishes the same thing.