2019-02-09 / Viewpoints


Paper Ballots

Dear editor:

Your article about new voting machines for Pennsylvania reports that, to address the problem of machines invisibly accounting for all the votes, Pennsylvania will use voter-verifiable paper ballots.

Unfortunately, it appears they plan to do this by acquiring expensive new machines with all of the same vulnerabilities we have now with touch-screen machines.

Only hand-counted, hand-marked paper ballots can banish the acknowledged problems inherent in all electronic voting systems: vulnerability to hacks, program malfeasance, “electronic glitches,” and power outages.

Things like this can alter or cast doubt on elections and, therefore, the course of history. These issues will not be fixed merely by providing voters with the opportunity to see their ballot cards before a machine does with them whatever it will.

Regarding the vaunted “paper trail” these machines provide, only when an election result is microscopically close are ballots ever recounted.

Having better grasped the problem, states and entire countries have ditched all their machines in favor of the only trustworthy system: hand-counted, hand-marked paper ballots. Hand-counting may take longer, but is there any good reason to consider speed more important than accuracy?

It’s just that basic. It’s that important.

Thomas Paquette

PGC reversal

Dear editor:

Semiautomatic centerfire rifles will not become lawful for hunting big game in the 2019-20 seasons after all.

After receiving input from the public and key members of the General Assembly, Pennsylvania Game Commissioner Brian Hoover on Feb. 1 rescinded his direction to staff to develop language through which semiautomatic centerfire rifles could be used in big-game seasons.

As opinions change, we will consider future changes to provide for the needs of our hunters.

Semiautomatic rifles that meet specific criteria have been permitted for hunting small game and furbearers for the past two years. Semiautomatic shotguns, which long have been permitted for deer hunting within the state’s Special Regulations Areas, were approved for use statewide for the 2018-19 seasons.

With these opportunities now available, there was reason to believe opinions on using semiautomatic rifles for big-game hunting in Pennsylvania might have changed, but it quickly was clear they have not, said Hoover.

While many states allow the use of semiautomatic rifles for hunting big game, and evidence suggests these firearms actually can be safer than their manually operated counterparts, it’s clear we haven’t yet arrived at the time when the majority of Pennsylvania hunters favor they be approved for big-game use, Hoover noted.

Travis Lau
Pa. Game Commission

Support Home Care

Dear editor:

Current Medicaid reimbursement rates for home-based care in Pennsylvania are inadequate. Agencies can only afford to pay direct-care workers $10 per hour.

These caregivers could find higher pay in the retail and food service industries, yet they choose to provide care at home because they know how important they are to the consumers they serve.

Every day, 10,000 baby-boomers turn 65. Most want to stay home as they age. It is critically important that our lawmakers in Harrisburg recognize the important role home care plays in keeping people healthy, independent, and with their families.

A Medicaid rate increase would provide a lifeline to the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who rely on care at home.

Vicki Hoak

Return to top