Who should vote? Those who pay the bills

To the editor:

I am almost fully in agreement with the concerns voiced by Jane Ham in her Monday letter on uninformed voters. Essentially, coaxing young people to register to vote — especially those who have had no exposure to the issues (and parties) covered by their ballot — is an insult not only to those who do keep themselves informed, but also to the very right and privilege of electing those who will govern us all.

If we do not trust people younger than 21 to consume alcoholic beverages, how can we assume that they are sufficiently mature to help make decisions that affect an entire nation? And please do not raise the subject that these very same young folks can be and are sent off to war. Ours is a volunteer armed force, and we must trust that the risks of war were considered by those who chose to join the military.

My only disagreement with Ms. Ham is in regard to property owners being the only citizens who should have the right to vote. I prefer that this right be given only to those individuals who pay federal income taxes, even if those funds might be rebated to the individual due to low income or high deductions. Then those of us who actually pay for government programs can decide who will institute and run such programs. And some of those elected might even — gasp! — decide to do away with a wasteful program or two.

Would the above disenfranchisement have unanticipated consequences? Perhaps. And perhaps one of those consequences might be to motivate citizens to actually get a job and stop living off the nanny state.

Carol J. Gilleran

LAS VEGAS

Elitist exclusion

To the editor:

In one statement by Jane Ham (“Do we really want everyone to vote?” Monday Review-Journal), a probable majority of people throughout the United States has been disenfranchised, crossing all socioeconomic, race, religious, age, and gender boundaries. (Not to mention military personnel and their families.)

Ms. Ham wrote, “But I often think we would be better off if the right to vote were limited to property owners, as it once was.” Unfortunately, that statement seems to reflect the elitist, entitlement attitude of many in the Las Vegas Valley. This will be the 11th presidential election that I have voted in, with myriad off-year elections thrown into the mix. I was not a property owner for at least a third of those elections. Does Ms. Ham forget that those property owners of old could also cast extra votes for their human “property” as well?

Ms. Ham also seems to feel that young voters are too inexperienced and/or stupid to make conscious decisions at the polls. I can honestly say that there has not been one election for which I have not had to re-educate myself on what the parties and the candidates stand for, often making some pretty uneducated guesses due to a lack of information available from any reasonable source. Why, Ms. Ham, do you feel that just because a person is not either middle-aged or a property owner, he cannot also inform himself? Or even, according to your philosophy, wish to? Can you honestly enumerate all the salient points of each major party or all of the candidates on the ballot?

I have three grown children, all of whom registered to vote immediately after their 18th birthday. They are bright, actively involved in the civic structure of our country, and have been from the beginning. They definitely do not always mirror their parents’ philosophy, but rather they choose to arrive at their own decisions.

I would prefer that those who seem to feel more entitled, or more brilliant, or more informed, understand that “We the people” pretty much means what it says.

Sue Burkholder

BOULDER CITY

Armed with info

To the editor:

Please accept my sincere thanks for Sunday’s publication of your Primary Election Voters Guide.

I had been sinking in a pool of unfamiliar names when your vote preserver arrived, and I now feel that I may cast mine with perhaps a bit less shame than one wishes some of the candidates would feel for running.

Mark Grugel

HENDERSON

None of the above

To the editor:

As a citizen, I believe it is our duty to vote. On Sunday, I did so. I was disappointed to see that the ballot contained the names of several judges who were unopposed. Many of these judges I do not care for, and did not vote for, but was unable to vote against.

I urge the members of the Legislature to pass a law that will allow “none of the above” to be included in all races.

Bruce Feher

LAS VEGAS

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