I am a retired veteran with 20-plus years of service in the United States Air Force. I served in South Carolina in the late 1960s and was witness to those very turbulent times and the lengths people will go through to vote. Unfortunately, I also saw the opposite — what some folks will do to deprive others of that opportunity. I served to protect the right to vote, and now I see it in jeopardy because of incompetence and fear of an invisible enemy.
I will be 85 years old this year, and with the current health crisis, I am relieved that I will be able to vote absentee. However I served, not just so that I could vote; but so that all Americans’ right to vote would be protected. The Vote Safe Act provides money for paper ballots and, with all the hijinks going on with Russia, I would feel more secure casting my ballot knowing there is paper backup. Electronics are great, but there is nothing like good old-fashioned paper to ensure foreign interference is minimized.
That is why I don’t understand why Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan have not already signed on to support the Vote Safe Act. With the special challenges Alaska faces and the rise in COVID-19 cases, it is imperative that we get the funds to ensure our polling places are staffed and clean in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines so everyone has the opportunity to vote safely, not just in the upcoming election but in elections going forward.
Our democracy is at stake and we must act to protect the vote. Too many people have fought and died — I ask our senators to stand up for all Alaskans right to vote safely. It is the only American thing to do!
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