Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Make sure your vote will actually be counted

2012 is an important election year. Last week my family and I learned that just being a registered voter often isn't enough to make your signature or vote count. In Oregon, registered voters can be labeled "inactive" if they haven't voted in five years or if a ballot bounces back to the County Clerk's office in the mail. If you're a legally registered yet inactive voter, you no longer have the legal right to sign a petition - your signature will be invalidated. Other U.S. states have ruled limitations on inactive voters' rights unconstitutional. Not Oregon, though!

If you were vacationing out of the area, deployed with the military, etc. and you think your ballot may have bounced back to the County, please go to the Courthouse and ask to take a look at your voting status. If you're like some people I've spoken with who didn't turn a ballot in because you didn't like any of the candidates, you might be inactive. Again, get to the Courthouse and make sure your information is current.

Your signature on a petition or ballot can also be invalidated if your county clerk views the signature on your voter registration card and decides they don't match. Telling the clerk in person that you indeed signed the petition will not be considered, nor, according to the Baker County Clerk, will the "intent" of the signer. All that matters is that your signature is a match to the one on the card. If you registered online your signature ties to the one on your driver's license, and we all know how different those can look. If you first registered decades or just years ago and your signature has changed, please go sign your card again just to be sure. Your vote and signature are too important to risk this election year.

David McQuisten

Baker City

Focus on educating children, not recalling volunteers

The Baker City Herald's Editorial Board missed the mark when it characterized the failure of School Board recall supporters to gather sufficient valid signatures (editorial, "Right to be Cautious," Aug. 10). The County Clerk's Office followed a legally mandated signature checking process. This is not a "delay;" it is the democratic process in action. It is disheartening to read Herald editorials by the staff that continue to support the recall. The majority of registered voters apparently do not support it.

As citizens dedicated to our children and their education and growth, let's join together to support the goals that our School Board volunteers were elected to implement. The School District goals are to maintain a "program designed to improve student achievement, support students' academic growth ... encourage their attainment of individual goals and successfully prepare students to function effectively in a rapidly changing world and for the futures they choose to pursue." Code AE, Adopted 2/19/08, readopted 2/21/12. Let's focus on developing our children to be future leaders of our community and our nation.

Jim and Mary Tomlinson

Baker City

Government has spending problem, not tax problem

In reading the recent letter, "Reagan tax cuts made things worse, not better," I find myself agreeable to the need for a well-informed debate.

First item: Tax cuts for the wealthy. In the early 1960s President Kennedy and a large number of leading Democrats were in agreement that the tax rate reduction would help the country's economy. Truth is that there was a reduction in tax rates for everyone, not a tax cut. This reduction had indeed proven the outcome of economic stability. We do not have a tax problem, we have a spending problem.

Second item: Lesson from history. This country was built and made great by hard-working people, no matter what level of society they belonged. They did this while government was small and represented the people. The private sector remained strong and free from the overpowering control of the government that was there to represent them. Today the overpowering control of government has left its roots and engulfed our society entirely.

Businesses, including myself, continue to do all that we can to create and maintain jobs for employees and need to be freed up from government regulations and excessive taxes, and allow us to do what we do best ... stimulate the economy and create jobs.

I would ask all government officials to put a stop to overspending.

I am asking in November for all Baker County citizens to join me in voting for Mitt Romney.

Bill Harvey