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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

November 9, 2010 at 4:01 PM

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Ballot counting becomes an issue of speed

Posted by Letters editor

‘Hard to imagine a system less efficient, or more susceptible to fraud’

Editor, The Times:

It seems incredible to me that in this age of technical advancement the citizens of this state are willing to put up with a vote tabulation system that takes two to three weeks to complete [“Speed becomes an issue as ballot counting goes on,” NW Saturday, Nov. 6].

Back in the olden days, five or 10 years ago, we cast our votes at polling places, of which King County had several hundred, put the ballots in a machine that tabulated them and by 11 p.m. we pretty much knew who won each position. That all changed when we went to all-mail-in balloting one or two election cycles ago and centralized counting took over. It’s hard to imagine a system less efficient, or more susceptible to fraud.

The solution, of course, is to have more counting places and to require ballots to be in the counting place on the voting day.

Let’s go back to the system where voters, except in rare cases, went to the polling place to vote and had their vote tallied right there. Or an alternative would be to split King, Pierce and Snohomish counties into two or three new counties each. Too many of us get too little representation from our existing county governments.

— Maurice E. Marler, Renton

Mail-in voting ought to be an in-person affair

I have a solution to the problematic and ridiculous mail-in voting system. Voting could take place at neighborhood schools and churches where volunteers would hand out ballots to registered voters. The voters would step into makeshift booth affairs, cast their votes and then insert the ballot into a machine that would instantly tabulate the votes.

This is a radical step, I realize, but imagine how efficiently elections could take place. There could still be an option for people to mail in their ballots if that was their preference. An idea like this is perhaps too sensible to catch hold, kind of like my plan to connect a series of bus-like cabins and pull them with a single engine along a track. I call it “traveling by rail.”

— Seth Leary, Kirkland

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