Manatee County voter precinct reduction a travesty

February 14, 2014 

I was disappointed but not surprised upon opening the Feb. 11 Bradenton Herald to the news that Mike Bennett is planning on closing 30 polling places throughout Manatee County. Walking lockstep with Republicans, both in Tallahassee and Washington, he is working on a plan to disenfranchise voters. Voting is a right, not a privilege reserved for WASPs like myself.

My dad was a member of the Greatest Generation. I am a Vietnam veteran. Never, in his wildest dreams, did Dad think he was fighting against Hitler and his goal of Aryan supremacy so that minorities could be hindered in that most basic of American freedoms, the freedom to vote for the people of one's choice.

I never thought that while enduring the Tet Offensive. If anything, the number of polling places and opportunities for early voting should be increased, not reduced.

To add to the confusion, Bennett wants to renumber the voting precincts. Such a proposal does not streamline anything. It only leads to more confusion and disenfranchisement.

Bennett says he was "quite surprised" at the reaction of others to his proposal. When, Mr. Bennett, was this proposal widely publicized before it was presented to the county commission?

If this is the way you want to treat voters, the ones who elected you, then perhaps it will be time for you to look for a new job, come election time.

Dave Hilsheimer


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