[ OUR OPINION ]
assure valid votes
DESPITE a graphic designer's concern that some people may be confused by the format of the ballots for the primary election tomorrow, the voting process has a number of safeguards to ensure proper tabulation. All the same, voters should be careful when they mark their choices and ask questions if they are unsure of procedures.
THE ISSUEA reconfigured ballot for the primary election troubles its designer.
Voters will help themselves if they wait until their ballots are accepted by the voting machines before leaving the polling place. The machines will reject an improperly marked ballot quickly and officials will then allow the voter a 'do-over,' a chance to fix the problem.
Stuart Henley, a graphic design professor at the University of Hawaii, reconfigured the ballot at the state's request, but for technical reasons not all the alterations he suggested could be incorporated. Henley worries that because in some cases the ovals voters must fill in to mark their choices appear between names, they may mark the wrong ovals.
Hawaii law requires voters in primary elections to choose candidates from one party only. Each party's ballot is marked with a different color -- for example, green for Republicans and blue for Libertarians -- clearly separating one from the others. Further, except at the top of the sheet, party ballots are staggered down the page with lines and colors dividing them, so it would be difficult to fill in the wrong oval.
Still, voters should read the instructions carefully before stepping into the booth. They also should note that nonpartisan races, those for City Council and the Board of Education, are on the flip side of their ballots. Sample ballots will be displayed at polling sites and voters also may check the state Office of Elections' Web site (www.state.hi.us/elections) to view them.
If something is still confusing, poll workers are there to help. If you're going to take the time to vote, you might as well get it right.
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SKEPTICISM is warranted regarding Saddam Hussein's agreement this week to allow "unconditional" inspections aimed at locating and destroying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Swift action by Congress is needed to eliminate the gamesmanship Saddam has employed in the past and to finally assure compliance with long-standing United Nations demands for disarmament. However, the U.N. Security Council first should be given an opportunity to act.
Resolution would let
U.S. deal with Iraq
THE ISSUEPresident Bush has asked for a congressional resolution authorizing him to use force to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Only days after Saddam's overture, he asked the U.N. "to tell us which places and scientific installations they (inspectors) wish to to see." The absurd request is a good example of what President Bush called "the same old song and dance we've heard for 11 years."
The Security Council should approve a resolution next week declaring that Iraq is in "material breach" of international law in failing to comply with U.N. requirements. The phrase authorizes, but does not mandate, military action. Russia and France, both of which have veto power, have expressed their reservations about the proposed resolution.
At the same time, Bush is asking Congress to provide him flexibility to take action against Iraq, even if the proposed resolution before the Security Council fails. The president has told members of Congress that he does not plan immediate action. "He made it repeatedly clear that this resolution is not intended as a declaration of war; it is not intended as an immediate prior step to aggression," Rep. John McHugh, R-N.Y., said after he and eight other lawmakers met with Bush.
The congressional resolution does not bind the administration to act militarily only with Security Council approval, nor should it. President Bush made important headway in speaking to the U.N. last week about the need for action, helping to build a coalition of nations to join the United States in taking action. Security Council endorsement would be helpful but is not essential.
Bush is asking that Congress debate the issue and approve a resolution by the Nov. 2 election. That is a reasonable timetable.
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