Monday, November 20, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Voters deserve more privacy


State to give some voter data to feds | July 7

Voters deserve more privacy

The request for voter information from the Presidential Advisory Commission for Voter Integrity has many Florida voters concerned about the use, and abuse, of their personal information. I have also been concerned about the abuse of voter data since 2005, when the Florida Legislature changed the law to make it public information.

Today, anyone can pick up the phone, send an email, or stop by any election office to be supplied with any voter's record. No questions asked. Often, it's a candidate requesting voter information. Sometimes it's a reporter. Occasionally, it's a lawyer. Voter data is used for various purposes, often to contact voters directly.

The mailers sent by political action committees "shaming" voters by listing their voting record, along with their neighbors' voting activity, generate the most calls of complaint to our office. A close second are the commercial firms that request and receive the data for free and then publish it on the Internet.

What can someone learn by requesting a voter's record? Name, party affiliation, date of birth, physical and mailing addresses, the date they registered to vote and when they have voted. The record also includes whether they cast their ballot at their precinct, an early voting site or via mail. Some records include phone numbers and location of birth. Many include race or ethnicity.

In Florida, most voter records include either the last 4 digits of the Social Security number or the Florida driver's license number. However, Florida law protects this information, along with a voter's signature, from public view.

In November, the Florida Legislature will begin considering legislation for the 2018 session. Along with other supervisors of elections, I will be fighting for voters' privacy. Perhaps, ironically, it will be Washington's controversial request that ultimately motivates Tallahassee to protect our voters' information.

Lori Edwards, Polk County supervisor of elections, Bartow

State to give some voter data to feds | July 7

Wasteful and egotistical

Eight months after the election, and despite no substantial evidence, our president is still obsessed by the idea that voter fraud exists. Apparently, losing only one part of the election is still too much for his ego to handle.

Republicans are supposed to be against too much government and wasteful spending. How much is Donald Trump spending to prove that he's an even bigger winner than he is?

E.J. Race, Port Richey

Transparency for all

When the various offices of the new administration, and particularly the president, do not provide 100 percent information on everything, lack of transparency becomes the war cry, with claims that someone is trying to hide something.

Shouldn't transparency be a two-way street? By not providing all requested voter information, doesn't it appear Florida has something to hide?

Could it be that when data from all state records are consolidated and scrutinized by the committee, some interesting facts on voter issues, and perhaps fraud, may surface?

I hope none surfaces, but don't we owe it to the democratic system to give it a chance?

Nick Bozick, Seminole

Health care backlash from GOP governors July 10

Don't go backwards

I have a high school friend who fell in love with a woman with severe diabetes in the pre-Affordable Care Act era. This bright and lovely young woman, still in her 20s, required expensive care, including multiple surgeries and an organ transplant. When she exceeded the lifetime cap on medical expenses provided by her insurance company, she could only get coverage through Medicaid. My friend wanted to marry her, but realized that if they did so, it was only a matter of time before she would bankrupt both of them.

I attended their beautiful church wedding, where they affirmed vows but did not get legally married. They got power of attorney for each other and were fully invested in each other's lives, but always lived without that symbolic sanction of state-approved marriage, as many gay and lesbian couples did before legal gay marriage.

In their classic song about America, Simon and Garfunkel wrote words that apply just as well to this moment in our national health care debate for all citizens: "Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together."

Let's not go back to the pre-ACA era with Trumpcare. Let's celebrate life and love with no lifetime limits on care.

Liv Coleman, Bradenton

Hobby Lobby fined $3M for smuggled artifacts | July 6

Company's true colors

We now know the depth of the faith that Hobby Lobby professed in order to keep from having to pay for abortions and pregnancy protection for their employees.

The echo of their voices protesting that such things are against their faith rings a little less true now that we have witnessed that smuggling and thievery are acceptable in the brand of Christianity they practice.

George Scheitinger, Dunedin

Blanket restoration is a bad idea | July 7, letter

Reform rights restoration

I disagree with this letter. Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi want felons who have completed their sentences to jump another hoop in order to get their civil rights restored. The program is cumbersome, costly and the review committee only approves a few cases the few times a year they meet.

Many released offenders cannot afford it or feel it is just another hurdle for them to be fully a part of their community.

I hope that the drive for voter signatures to place the Voting Restoration Amendment on the November 2018 ballot is successful.

Melba Mobley, Valrico


Monday’s letters: Doctors should speak up on harassment

Sexual harassmentDoctors need to speak upThe recent widespread recognition, followed by disapproval, of sexual harassment across many workplaces signals a paradigm shift in social attitudes toward abuse of power that is long overdue.The male-dominate...
Published: 11/17/17

Saturday’s letters: Reservoir project off to a good start

Lake OkeechobeeReservoir project off to good startThis year, more than 70,000 Floridians contacted their legislators to support expediting a reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee. Another 150 business people, anglers, health care professionals a...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Sunday’s letters: Roundabout way to help the rich

Senate GOP’s tax plan to kill ACA mandate | Nov. 15Devious way to hurt middle classSo, let’s see if we have this straight. The proposed amendment to the Senate tax plan, to kill the individual mandate, will cause young people to not buy health in...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Friday’s letters: Stop laying blame on teachers

Hillsborough teachers are set to protest | Nov. 14Stop laying blame on teachersI am a veteran teacher, coming up on 30 years of service to public education. My mother was also an educator, clocking over 40 years of service in public education. Sh...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Nov. 17

Questioning fees draws snarky responseYou are probably aware of the new Pasco utility fees that became effective last month.Under the dubious title of "convenience fee" for making utility payments by credit card or e-check, Pasco Utilities adds $2.75...
Published: 11/15/17

Dollars need to stay at home if south Brooksville is to survive

As a member of the Moton High School Class of 1967, I grew up a poor but very happy child because of the love given to me by all. So all I had to do was be a child and not rush to be an adult.There were many black businesses along a four-block area o...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/18/17

Wednesday’s letters: Generosity makes all the difference

National Adoption MonthThe difference generosity makesAs a football coach, I always had to be ready to overcome unexpected challenges. With injuries, crowd noise and especially weather, the game plan is always adjusting to overcome adversity.Our stat...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17

Monday’s letters: Moore is not fit for public office

Woman: Candidate pursued her as a teen | Nov. 10Moore is not fit for public officeIt is sad that Roy Moore, a self-professed religious man, is running for a Senate seat when he is clearly unfit for any job involving the public for so many reasons...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t fall for the tax cut ruse

Tax billDon’t take your eye off the ballThe rush is on. The Republican Congress is rushing to pass a modest tax cut for the middle class while giving corporations a massive tax cut. While taking away some of the tax deductions from ordinary taxpayers...
Published: 11/10/17

Sunday’s letters: End greyhound racing in Florida

Tom Lee wants to phase out greyhound racing | Nov. 8Put a stop to this cruel industryKudos to Sen. Tom Lee for shepherding a constitutional amendment to end greyhound racing in Florida. Greyhounds forced to race live in misery and frequently die ...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/10/17