April 01, 2020

I am a Maine Democrat and have been watching the national election events unfold in Florida with some very deep concerns. The Nov. 25 column written by John Day prompts me to respond.

The right of each and every voter to have his vote counted stands paramount over any other circumstance that may occur during any election, as long as that vote is executed in a legal manner. No voter should be disenfranchised by improper voting mechanisms. When an election is in question the law gives each candidate the right to ask for recounts. I was privileged to serve on Maine’s Governmental Ethics and Election Practices Commission for a number of years. I served along with appointees from both parties and I will tell you that each member exhibited a strong sense of impartiality in every decision.

Although Maine’s system is different than Florida’s, we performed the task of determining voter intent during close elections. In Maine there were times when attorneys for both sides tried to get ballots counted when there was no clear intent indicated by the voter. This is the subject that is of the greatest concern to me.

Punch card ballots are designed to be counted by machines that are completely impartial. The sight of local officials raising ballots into the light to look for an indentation or bulge to determine voter intent is troubling to me. Those same ballots appear to have been cleanly punched in the numerous other elections available to the voter. The voter’s intent is clear in all other races.

That voter had the responsibility to make his or her intent clear in those races, and exhibited the capacity to make their intentions clear. Unless there was mechanical difficulty with the voting machines, no one should count ballots that do not clearly indicate a vote.

Day’s column spoke to Democrats who are remaining silent. I am an insignificant Democrat from a small town who wants my party to remain dignified and statesmanlike either in victory or defeat. Once all clearly punctured ballots have been counted, we should gather behind our new president for the good of the country. I cannot speak for all Democrats, but I for one, can no longer be silent. Greg Cyr Portage

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