Election Raises Questions

Days after the Fayeteville election, a few thoughts about it.

First, the vote was very close, which means the people who are most concerned about it may need help to reconcile their differences (conflict resolution).

Second, I was struck that 61 percent of Fayetteville's registered voters did not care enough to vote on the issue. And this is true to some extent of all our elections at every level. When a candidate for president "wins in a landslide" this means that he wins the votes of between one-fourth and one-third of the electorate. That is not the sign of a vibrant democracy.

Third, the Dec. 10 editorial pushes for replacing old electronic voting machines with new ones, despite a large price tag. Instead we should go back to paper voting. Ireland scrapped its electronic voting machines in 2009. The main issue was lack of verifiability with no audit mechanism or verified paper trail. States including Florida, New Mexico, Michigan and Washington have gone back to paper.

Fourth, a Dec. 5 article said that poll watchers (from the group Repeal 119) can challenge any voter's right to vote on the grounds the voter is in the wrong precinct or has already voted. This forces the voter to use a provisional ballot. The poll watcher didn't need any evidence to make this challenge. How on earth could a poll watcher know whether the voter is in the wrong precinct or has already voted?

On the other hand, the non-partisan poll workers can access this information from their computers. Only the poll worker should be able to determine whether the voter is in the right precinct or has already voted. This is too much power to give to a partisan poll watcher from any side of any issue.

Fifth, dirty tricks. The last three elections left me with a bad taste. The Friday before the first election I received a big shiny postcard from an anonymous source, accusing Adella Gray of missing most City Council meetings. That false smear was sent too late for Gray to answer publicly.

Then two days before the ordinance election, a half-page newspaper ad by the Repeal 119 Committee stated the ordinance requires ministers to perform same-sex ceremonies. That is not true, and the City Council had amended the ordinance to make sure that it did not apply to religious organizations. Again, the smear came out too late to answer.

People who claim the high moral ground should feel conscience stricken about making false statements. Where did Jesus Christ say "The end justifies the means?"

Coralie Koonce


Commentary on 12/19/2014