Opinion | Opposing Efforts at Voting Reform

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To the Editor:

Re “Joe Manchin Has a Point About Voting Reform” (Opinion guest essay, June 12):

Christopher Caldwell’s attack on the For the People Act and other attempts to allow as many citizens as possible access to the ballot boils down to this: The simpler the election, the more it will be trusted; the more complicated an election, the more prone to chicanery and fraud.

He neglects to note that in the last presidential election we had just the kind of apparatus he criticizes: mail-in voting, absentee voting, early voting, late vote counting, curbside voting, drop boxes, harvesting and all the rest. Yet Mr. Trump’s director of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, Christopher Krebs, said the election was “the most secure in American history.”

This unpleasant fact undermines Mr. Caldwell’s folderol.

Leslie Epstein
Brookline, Mass.

To the Editor:

Christopher Caldwell writes, “Absent a pandemic, there is a coherent case that there should never be absentee or mail-in balloting.” Oh, really? Tell that to all those people living in nursing homes or who are shut in and cannot physically get to a polling place. Tell that to the millions of college students who have classes on Tuesdays and simply cannot get home to vote in person. And tell that to all the members of our military who are currently serving overseas to protect our right to vote.

Ann Galler
Garrison, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Republican efforts to pass voting restrictions might make sense if Republicans lost most of their elections in 2020, but in fact they made gains in the House and won eight out of 11 contests for governor. Making voting more accessible and easier for all is the only bipartisan strategy!

Sue Marcus
Springfield, N.J.

Businesses Should Give Workers a Day Off to Vote

To the Editor:

I call on all businesses to give their workers the day off to vote. This action is clearly within the rights of every business. Those businesses that cannot afford to give a full day should give half their workers the morning off and the other half the afternoon off.

All business owners who claim to support democracy should take this step. We do not need the permission of the federal government or the state governments. We do not have to wait while the legislatures endlessly propose, debate, maneuver and delay. Do it now!

Franklin Lindblom
East Lansing, Mich.

Expats but Not Fat Cats

To the Editor:

Re “We Ran the Treasury Department. This Is How to Fix Tax Evasion.” (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, June 9):

The five former Treasury secretaries are right to raise the importance of new funding for scrutiny of the complex tax returns of high earners whose noncompliance results in the greatest loss of tax revenue. But millions of middle-class Americans are forced to file complex returns because of the tax system’s unfair impact on U.S. citizens abroad.

While overseas Americans are often incorrectly viewed as fat cats stashing money in tax shelters, our research shows that they are actually overwhelmingly middle class. In addition to being asked to pay taxes in the United States as well as our country of residence (something almost no other country inflicts on its expatriates), Americans abroad must follow excruciatingly complicated tax filing procedures. This can result in tax noncompliance simply because the process is too complex for the average overseas American who can’t afford to hire tax preparers.

Democrats Abroad supports additional funding for the I.R.S. and fair tax enforcement, but we ask that lawmakers not put the minnows in the same tank as the sharks. The vast majority of overseas Americans should be treated as the middle-class earners that they are.

Carmelan Polce
Sydney, Australia
The writer is chair of the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force.

Don’t Call Me ‘Queer’

To the Editor:

Re “My Own Journey to Pride” (column, June 7):

As Charles M. Blow briefly noted, there are huge generational differences in usage of identifiers like “queer.” As a 76-year-old who came out in my mid-60s, I am of the generation that experienced the use of queer to ridicule, wound and demonize.

I have resisted labeling myself as such, even after queer became de rigueur among some of my university colleagues. As Alphonso David makes clear in “Why the Latest Republican Assault on L.G.B.T.Q. Rights Is Different” (Opinion guest essay, nytimes.com, June 7), there are still plenty of politicians (and pastors) who push homophobic legislation, and they often weaponize terms like queer. So count me out of the queer reclamation camp.

And by the way, many gay folks of my generation cannot abide the ever-expanding L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+++ alphabet soup that has become the most widely accepted way of identifying our community. What was wrong with “gay”?

Wayne A. Cornelius
Portland, Ore.
The writer is professor emeritus of political science at University of California San Diego.

Money for a Central Park Concert?

To the Editor:

Re “Turning the Page With a Central Park Concert” (Arts pages, June 8):

“I can’t think of a better place than the Great Lawn of Central Park to be the place where you say that New York is reopening,” says the impresario of the planned concert.

I can think of a great many places: the cultural institutions that are still on life support as the pandemic wanes. The public funds allocated for this extravaganza would provide longer-lasting benefits if they were distributed among the city’s many performing arts groups, museums and architectural treasures.

Thomas Fedorek
New York

It’s Hard to Get Mental Health Care

To the Editor:

Re “Signs That It’s Time for Therapy” (Here to Help, May 23):

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read news articles, opinion pieces and letters to the editor about how important it is for people to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and get treatment for it.

The reason for my reaction is that many people writing these pieces have absolutely no idea how difficult it is for some people to actually get treatment for mental illness.

In my experience in Iowa, many mental health care providers will not accept Medicare, and if they do accept Medicare, they won’t accept Medicaid.

This reality needs to be reported in depth.

Gary Sanders
Iowa City

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