To the editor:

Guided by the principle that "You cannot trust voters to elect competent people," barriers have been created to assure desired candidates are placed in office. The strategy of voter suppression is the "discouraging or preventing specific groups from voting or being elected."

Are we, the voters of Douglas County, gleefully being manipulated into electing the chosen few to office? Our units of government that hold elections make use of legal non-standard voting dates, various changeable unequal filing times for office, publishing obscure not easily understood notices of vacancies, use non-partisan ballots clouding candidates' positions, low or no pay offices and hidden per diem to discourage candidates from filing, high campaign costs. These are effectively causing voter apathy.

A bona fide example may be school board elections and school bond issues. Our school board members are presently elected at large, not allowing us to elect representatives from our neighborhood. This method allows special interest groups the ability to elect many, if not all, school board members. Our school board controls filing, where you vote, when you vote, and they obtain free or inexpensive advertising specifically to cater to and enable a certain block of voters to control outcome.

Another brilliant example is government vacancy appointments. The strategy is simple and fools no one. The elected official resigns or retires between elections, the desired person is then appointed and is now the incumbent with a 95% chance of being elected.

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We can wonder about our non-partisan judicial system noting "all" of our current state judges, including our State Supreme Court, have been appointed by partisan governors. Solutions to eliminate these and other voter suppression tactics are presently being reviewed again by our elected state officials,

Standardized filing, mailed absentee ballots, partisan designation, election dates set, early voting and automatic registration. Could we cut the mustard and just get the undiluted truth throughout our election process?

Burke Kiger

Alexandria, MN