Readers Write 10/21

ELECTIONS

Actually, early voting is an intelligent choice

By categorizing early voting as “a dumb idea,” Bob Barr is ignoring at least three realities of today’s electoral process (“Early voting is a really dumb idea,” Opinion, Oct. 18).

The act of voting should never be a last-minute action. As citizens, we should spend hours researching the candidates and the issues well in advance of Election Day. Why not vote as soon as our choice is in?

There is no inherent nobility to standing in line on Election Day. Whatever enhances the ability to do our civic duty while respecting our schedules is, simply put, a good thing.

Lastly, our bloated, inefficient electoral system is really what should be held accountable. A serious tightening of the front end of the election process is needed, but candidates should also adapt to early voting by publicizing their platforms much earlier.

As one who has taken advantage of the convenience of early voting for years, it has for me put more focus and thought into the voting process.

Len Hallke Jr., Smyrna

POLITICS

Voters don’t question negative ads’ claims

Do you know why you’ve seen so many attack ads in recent political seasons? This is because they work, which gets me to ask: Why do they work? It’s because people believe what is said in attack ads. We believe the most awful things said about people without questioning them.

I have no idea why people don’t question things more, but I do know it’s hard for me to vote for someone whose ads are so negative. Where have you gone, Jimmy Carter?

Tom Ashley, Chamblee

EDUCATION

Yet another waste of taxpayers’ time, money

Regarding “AG’s opinion focus of talks” (Metro, Oct. 18): It’s just sickening to contemplate the thousands of dollars in legal fees that may now have to be spent as the members of the Atlanta school board continue their power struggle. This seems to be another waste of time and money while important work goes undone, and another example of elected officials regarding taxpayer-provided funds as a bottomless pit. How quickly would they resolve their differences if they had to cover legal costs themselves?

Joan Piedmonte, Milton

SOCIAL SECURITY

Gradually raise the age of recipients to 70

In France, President Sarkozy has offered a sensible solution for that country’s gold-plated pension program.

To survive, publicly financed retirement systems in the Americas and Western Europe need to gradually raise the minimum age of recipients to at least 70. When Social Security was enacted, the average life expectancy in the United States was about 61 years. Now, it’s closer to 80. Then, the average recipient would get benefits for less than five years. Today’s boomers and aging gen-Xers can expect to get several more years of Social Security.

For our public retirement system to survive, we need to extend our work lives — or live off of other savings and pensions until Social Security kicks in. That’s our new reality.

Erick Dittus, Kennesaw