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Volume 12, Issue 36 ~ September 2 - 8, 2004
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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters — with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at editor@bayweekly.com.


Democracy Needs a Paper Trail

Dear Bay Weekly:
In July, as 100 people rallied in Annapolis, we got news that Maryland elected officials have not yet requested a paper trail for our state’s 16,000 new touch-screen voting machines. This inaction persists even though Johns Hopkins University professor Avi Rubin and others concluded that the Diebold Company machines could be hacked to change election results.

I am particularly concerned that this problem be addressed before the November elections because my friend, Jackie Cole, who ran for city council May 15, 2004 in Galveston, Texas, almost lost her race due to computerized machine vote counting errors. Her opponent was declared the winner, due to machine malfunction, in enough precincts to consider a recount. But the later recount, using paper printouts, proved that she was the victor with 60 percent of the vote.

Last week, the Campaign for Verifiable Voting was in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court demanding that the state provide paper ballots for the 2004 election. They contend that Maryland officials have been negligent in correcting flaws in the Diebold machines.

We need a voter-verified paper audit trail here in Maryland. This will allow local election officials to spot any malfunctions and guarantee the possibility of necessary recounts. State officials must get Diebold to add printers to our machines now. Let’s get it right so that everyone’s vote will count!

Ask your delegates to insist that the State Board of Elections provide a paper ballot alternative if necessary. Ask Rep. Steny Hoyer to vote in Congress for HR 2239, the Voter Confidence Act which would require audit trails in all electronic voting machines nationwide.

Get more details on the Internet at www.truevotemd.org and www.elections.state.md.us. Don’t let the computers eat your vote!
—Frank L. Fox, Mechanicsville

How Tourism Grows in Our Four Rivers Heritage Area

Dear Bay Weekly:
I want to compliment the staff of Bay Weekly for your terrific Chesapeake Touring Special: Following the Footsteps of History [Vol. XII, No. 35: Aug. 26]. I was particularly pleased to see the reference to Roots & Tides: A Journey Through Southern Anne Arundel County, our audio CD historical travelogue of South County; the well-deserved positive article on Matt Grubbs’ Discover Annapolis Tours; and the reference to the African American Heritage in Annapolis & Anne Arundel County brochure.

I would like to add a couple of comments. Discover Annapolis Tours was able to expand its business last year by adding an additional trolley to its fleet through the first low-cost loan to a heritage tourism business from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority through the Four Rivers Heritage Area.

Also, while acknowledging the Souza Agency’s outstanding design work, much of the credit for the accuracy and popularity of the African American Heritage in Annapolis & Anne Arundel County brochure should go to Leonard Blackshear and Judith Cabral of the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation. The Kinte-Haley Foundation received a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, again through Four Rivers, to conduct research on slavery within the heritage area. That research formed the factual basis for the African American heritage brochure, of which we are all very proud.

For more information on the Four Rivers Heritage area, please access www.fourriversheritage.org

—Donna Tully Dudley, Executive Director:
Four Rivers Heritage Area

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.