Our readers react to recent stories or current events:

June Calloway, from Vestavia Hills, read the profile entitled A true American Patriot: Alabama's own, Roy Brook.  She had this to share of her own experience with Mr. Brook:

“I just read the article about Roy Brook.  The first time I met this man was April 16, 2020 when [I] went to Montevallo Veterans Cemetery to bury my husband who died April 13, 2020.  This was the beginning of COVID so the only funeral we had was at the funeral home.  We could only have our immediate family.  Our funeral director spoke a few words, and our grandson read some scripture from my husband's Bible. 

As we were driven inside the cemetery, the first thing I saw was this man standing outside the gate with the American flag.  He followed us in to the burial spot.  We had to stand across the street and watch my husband's body being buried.  Roy got as close as he could to the burial spot.  He stood there until my husband's body was lowered into his grave.  We had no flowers or funeral service but we did have Roy Brook standing until it was over.  Our family can never thank him enough for what he did for us.  He came across the street and spoke to each of us.  We will never forget this man who does this for the veterans and their families.

 If you see him standing on Hwy 31, 280, 459 or any place with that flag, give him a wave.”

Lynn Arnett of Montgomery read Justin Bogie’s recent column When it comes to spending, Alabama is 'bluer' than New York and California. A number of readers reacted to this column, both positively and negatively. Ms. Arnett said this:

“I disagree with your comments that say our state government in Alabama is as liberal as California and New York when it comes to spending. Please give concrete, factual examples. Are you referring to money spent to improve our prison system that the federal government said we had to improve? Or raising our gas tax to improve our roads and infrastructure? Those are things our legislators felt were important. We have a conservative state, and I am glad we do. I realize this is an election year, and we must make a decision about who leads Alabama for the next 4 years. We must also be careful that we not have an attitude of change for the sake of change. Thank you for the opportunity to state my views.”

Wayne Christopher of Grand Bay was not reacting to something he’d read in 1819 News but wanted to express concern over the process of machine counting of ballots after undergoing training to be a poll worker for Alabama elections:

“I recently completed the online training course to become a poll worker for my precinct in Mobile County but then had to withdraw my application. I cannot participate in a process that is devised to be susceptible to vote tampering. Our elections are vulnerable, if not already compromised.

We have all gotten comfortable using machines and computers. We trust them for all kinds of conveniences in our lives. Of course, we are really placing our trust in the manufacturers of the machines. Machines don’t make mistakes, nor do they have intent. But in the voting process, the means by which we protect our God-given rights, we should only be required to place our trust in persons from our own community, people that live in our voting precinct. The manufacturers of the machines we use to count our votes don’t live in our precinct.

One might be tempted to justify this transgression by saying that we can trust that the poll officials have ensured the integrity of the machines. They may even be convinced they have done so. But have they? How many of our poll officials can verify that our machines are not programmed to flip votes? Or that they cannot be accessed and manipulated via the internet? How many of our elected officials, who have responsibilities in the election process outside of the precinct, have that kind of technical knowledge? Does the probate judge? The sheriff? The commissioner? The Secretary of State? Those officials that try to assure us that the machines are not a point of vulnerability are not qualified to make that determination. They are accustomed to receiving our trust based on their position of authority. But they violate that trust when they make claims they cannot support with facts.

I don’t know who initially made the decision to use machines to make our voting process more convenient, but it was a bad decision. Maybe, at that time, our laws made it easy to verify that the machines counted our votes accurately. But laws change. And at this time, if a vote tally is challenged, it is not easy (or convenient) to verify the accuracy of the vote count. There is no provision for conclusive audits unless those already in power call for one. Essentially, once our ballot leaves our hand, we are trusting the manufacturer of the machines to count our votes accurately. The decision to continue using machines is also a bad one. Who will be first to stop making bad decisions?

Whether or not anything nefarious is happening in our elections, we should not be required to trust machines that are too complex for anyone who votes to understand how they work. They are just black boxes into which our votes disappear. What happens to our votes once they enter the machine, only the manufacturer knows. And we don’t know the manufacturer. We are literally handing our votes to a nameless stranger to count them. Machine counts might be a convenient way to verify hand counts after they are completed, but they should never be our primary method to count votes.”

1819 News welcomes letters or emails to the editor. Please include your name, city and contact information. Contributions may be edited for content, length, and grammar. Send to Commentary@1819News.com.