Nebraska Primary Voting (copy)

Adam Rokes of Omaha fills out a ballot at St. Leo Catholic Church for the May 12 primary. 

Free and fair elections

The keystone of democracy is free and fair elections. Nebraskans generally, and Douglas County specifically, have them, I’m delighted to report.

As Roger Garcia’s representative for the recount of the both record turnout election and razor-thin election against Mike Boyle in Douglas County Board District 1 race, I got to see up close how the Douglas County Election Commission office works for you. This includes Brian W. Kruse, Douglas County election commissioner; Chris Carithers, chief deputy election commissioner; and most importantly, Justine Kessler, elections manager.

They were unfailingly fair, open and transparent. In my view, all of their staff were clearly dedicated, highly skilled and both consistent and meticulous in performance of their duties.

Nebraska’s election officials are the very antithesis of the famously corrupt Tammany Hall machine politicians who oft said, “I don’t care who gets to vote as long as I get to count the votes.” In Nebraska your vote counts regardless of how or for whom you vote.

Rarely have I been as proud to be an American as when I witnessed the superb performance of the Douglas County Election Commission staff. Be sure to thank your poll workers.

Please, register to vote and do cast your vote as your conscience directs. Because it counts!

Michael J. O’Hara, Omaha

Let’s do it again in November

From the perspective of a volunteer poll worker in Sarpy County, I agree with Secretary of State Bob Evnen’s assessment of Nebraska’s voting process in last month’s primary election (Midlands Voices, June 11). At my precinct, voting went smoothly, aided by many early voters and by the county providing personal protective equipment to protect the health of me and my co-workers. With the fully positive outcome of May’s voting, especially the record high turnout, I am left wondering why Evnen wants to dilute that process — “At this point, I don’t intend to repeat those notifications for the November general election.”

Given this success, why disrupt a proven approach?

Charles Keene, Bellevue

Serve and protect

Now is the time to stop this protesting and let the law prevail. We all agree that George Floyd was killed by officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder. We must now put aside our frustrations and exercise our rights in a court of law, where it will do the most good.

We should not blame the entire police force, black and white, for one bad police officer. There are many very good police officers on the force dedicated to serve and protect. I am sure that you have met one or two of them. Being a good police officer is a difficult and sometimes dangerous occupation.

Police officers do not run away from dangerous situations. They run toward these situations to protect and serve.

We must remember, though, that these police officers are human beings like ourselves and need our help at times, too. Police officer Derek Chauvin was out of control. When we as bystanders see a situation like this, we must act. We must call for help, encourage police brothers to intervene in a compassionate manner, or we must intervene in some legal manner, to prevent a tragedy. We as citizens of the United States, both black and white, have a responsibility to serve and protect also.

Linda Kilpatrick, Omaha

Chambers inspires a new generation

I am so happy to see that so many young black and brown people in Nebraska are able to have personal contact with the great Ernie Chambers in this turbulent period. Ernie will be timing-out of the State Legislature soon, and getting to know this Nebraska legend will have a lifelong impact on the future generations.

Ernie’s educated and intelligent devotion to justice and compassion is unparalleled, and my hope has always been that the next generations can learn from him. I now have hope in my heart that things will actually get better. Thank you, Ernie!

Helen Jordon, Omaha

This board has lost its way

It was really sad to read about the Nebraska Environmental Trust defunding wetlands and other projects for ethanol pumps for gas stations. I feel like the trust has lost its way — it has become beholden to the governor and special interests. I believe we should directly elect board members so that they are accountable to the people of Nebraska and not some shadow lobby or governor. We can stamp out this grift if we can recall the people that vote for it.

What will this unaccountable board vote for next? Maybe some ethanol storage tanks for gas stations — or perhaps some ethanol billboards telling people about how great ethanol is? Perhaps they could update those billboards to LED lighting — you know, for the environment.

Jordan Scupien, Omaha

Who’s worthy of respect? Who isn’t?

Let me get this straight! According to the president, American soldiers such as John McCain who get captured, tortured and imprisoned by the enemy are not war heroes. But Confederate officers who took up arms against this country — traitors — are deserving of having their names on U.S. military installations and their statues on public property? What am I missing?

Pat Barrett, Omaha

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