The problem with touchscreen voting
Thanks to Ted Shultz and Isthmus for documenting the vote-flipping incident by the flawed touchscreen device ("Are You Sure You Don't Mean?", 4/17/09). In many locations around the country, all voters must use touchscreen voting machines, and the vote-flipping problem has been reported regularly. This is just one of the flaws that have led to loss of confidence in touchscreen voting.
Wisconsin has generally avoided the problem, since more than 90% of Wisconsin voters use hand-marked paper ballots. But in a proposal for early voting released in March, the staff of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) argued that using touchscreen voting machines with a paper audit trail is the best practice because they "can hold an unlimited number of ballot styles and there is no need for a printed ballot."
Admittedly, there are logistical difficulties in stocking many different types of ballot styles at early voting centers, but these difficulties can be overcome. A five-point plan to facilitate the use of hand-marked paper ballots for early voting is being submitted to the GAB.
If voters want to have our reliable hand-marked paper ballots for early voting, now is the time to speak up to the Legislature and the GAB. For more information, see fairelectionswi.com/legislation/early/early.html.
I greatly enjoyed Rich Albertoni's article "Extreme Accordion," 4/10/09. The accordion has been a vital part of Wisconsin's culture and heritage.
In the 1950 and 1960s, there were literally thousands of accordion players in Wisconsin. Madison's renowned Rudy Burkhalter, known as "Mr. Accordion," described the unique features of this versatile instrument: "The accordion has everything. It is compact, its range is from the lowest bass to the highest piccolo, it has the melody, harmony, rhythm section, accompaniment and the basses. Twenty notes can be played (with one hand) at the same time, not counting the 120 (or more) basses."
Burkhalter often said the accordion is being reinvented, and wanted it to become Wisconsin's official state musical instrument. Today we see more and more musical groups rediscovering it. To be convinced, come to the Annual Rudy Burkhalter Memorial Accordion Jamboree at the Oregon High School Auditorium on Sunday, May 3. Doors open at noon; the official program is from 1 to 5 p.m.
A police matter?
One of the things I find most alarming in your recent Watchdog column ("Up Against the Health Care System," 4/3/09) is the part about the UW campus police contacting David Peterson over his letter of complaint to the ER physician.
I am quite confident this matter, had it been handled by the MPD, would have been pursued much more tactfully, if they had pursued it at all.
Under the guise of "academic freedom," residents of Dane County have forfeited a significant chunk of their civil liberties to a police force accountable only to the chancellor of the UW-Madison.
Michael S. Goodmann
Paul Ryan, poser boy
I'm not surprised by Rep. Paul Ryan's refusal to be interviewed by you ("Republican Poster Boy," 4/10/09). Here is a guy who has been preened his whole life by "old school" Republicans, big moneyand country clubbers. He has no clue what economic hardship is and what it takes for the general masses to attain a middle-class status.
I've watched this man operate with some of the wealthiest people in Janesville, and I guess that's who he's working for. He has theirinterests in mind, not those of the working-class people in his district.
Mary McCann, Sun Prairie