David Knudsen’s Another View published July 18 (“It’s hard to see a need for same-day voter registration”) flat-out made my jaw drop.

He appears to be of the view that some citizens are better than others, based on the speed at which they register to vote. If you’re bringing up the rear, you don’t get to participate in democracy. Tough beans, slowpoke.

Same-day registration was passed in 1973 by the Republican-controlled Legislature to help increase voter participation, pure and simple. That bill embodied the American spirit: Let the people choose their leaders, and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

The same-day registration system worked flawlessly. It’s perhaps one of the most successful bills ever to have come out of Augusta.

Thirty-eight years later, however, Republicans repealed their own excellent, fair-minded law. And why? To protect the integrity of Maine’s election system from all the widespread skullduggery and abuse that was NOT happening and was in NO danger of happening.

There goes my jaw again. Right to the floor.

Look, if you’re unregistered, and you hear a stump speech or see a candidate’s ad or get a knock on the door by a canvasser on Election Day, and you make up your mind that you want to start exercising your civic duty to vote, the system should darn well make it as easy as possible. Period.

Instead of acting snooty toward same-day voters, I’d kindly suggest that Mr. Knudsen should be applauding them for making the awesome decision to get their butts in gear and fill in those ovals.

By the way, I hope Republican lawmakers get an earful from conservative constituents who go to register on Election Day and are told: “Tough luck. You didn’t pass the voter speed test. Please step aside, you’re holding up the real Americans.”

Bill Harnsberger

Portland

 

In response to David W. Knudsen’s suggestion (The Portland Press Herald, July 18) that “any average person should be able to handle the challenge” of registering to vote before Election Day:

I suggest that he has never lived in a town such as Whitneyville, where the clerk’s office is only open from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays; or been an elderly person who does not drive; or a fisherman who is always on the water during office hours, or a young person who has not become motivated until the day before an election. I wonder why any eligible voter should have roadblocks thrown in her way.

I and many others believe the Legislature got it wrong this time when they reversed a fine Maine tradition that since 1973 has encouraged high voter turnout by allowing eligible voters to register on Election Day. More than 50,000 voters would have been shut out in 2008 if they had not been allowed to register and vote the same day.

I have been collecting signatures for a people’s veto of this misguided bill, and most folks I have talked to, Republicans and Democrats, have been eager to sign the petition to put the issue on November’s ballot.

While voting is indeed a privilege and a responsibility of citizenship, I am unaware of any obligation to be “organized” or to “plan ahead” in order to be “competent” to vote.

Let’s be honest: This was a transparent effort by those who drink tea to suppress votes by those who do not.

Andrew A. Cadot

Roque Bluffs

Policy should encourage flag display at cemetery

 

I am writing about the display of the American flags at St. Hyacinth Cemetery in Westbrook. I’ve put the American flags at the cemetery for my brother-in-law and my friends. The next day, they are all gone.

I found out afterward from the cemetery custodian that no flags can be displayed over the graves of our deceased servicemen and firemen. He said that it is the policy of the Diocese of Portland and the local parish.

I spent 37 years serving my country, and I am proud to display our flag.

The custodian was very nice to me, and, like he said, he has to follow the rules. The American Legion does a wonderful job in putting the flags on the veterans’ graves during the memorial season, then it removes them.

Friends and family members should be given permission to put flags on the veterans’ and firemen’s graves afterward.

Adrian G. Caron

Westbrook

 

Civic center unneeded drain on many municipal budgets

 

I saw in the July 23 paper a letter from Lane Hiltunen about the Cumberland County Civic Center (“Don’t let county keep civic center”). That person is on the right track on all counts.

Windham and all other towns don’t need to put any money into that place ever. If it can’t make a go of it on its own, then let it fold.

I don’t go there, so why should I put any money into it? Let the people who use it pay for it. Just like a lot of things, towns want all to pay for what a few use.

Let a private party own it, pay for it and make a profit – keep me/us out of it. I also think it is in the wrong place.

Earl Harnden

Windham

Railroad spending is nice; road spending is necessary

 

Knowing that the $35 million rail project to extend Amtrak service to Brunswick is proceeding full steam ahead, I was dismayed to read in the Maine Sunday Telegram that millions of dollars of long-overdue highway repair projects are being further delayed because of a lack of funds.

The basic problem is that far too many bureaucrats and legislators, who thrive on spending hard-earned tax dollars, do not know the difference between what’s nice and what’s necessary (The Difference).

Yes, many people prefer riding a train than a bus, including me. But passenger rail service is appropriate only for high-density traffic. Without it, bus service is by far the least expensive option and the appropriate choice.

Further, if there were a genuine need for public service between Portland and Brunswick, the bus lines would have met it years ago.

It’s tragic that our transportation bond packages have not been segregated between highways, airports and rail. Had that been done, there’s little doubt that we would not have voted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for the most expensive option for public transportation.

Most Maine voters know how to prioritize and balance their budgets, and they do know The Difference.

John Parker

Falmouth