Letters: Lack of awareness of election defects 'more terrifying'; U of M is good for all

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Lack of awareness of election defects 'more terrifying'

I agree with Carol Turnbull that the claims in my April 19 letter are "terrifying." They are terrifying because it is true that the law permits known ineligible persons to vote based entirely on their statements that they are eligible, a fact that Turnbull does not dispute.

Contrary to Turnbull's assertions that there are no examples of known ineligible persons being allowed to vote, the Minnesota Voters Alliance has provided the Minnesota Supreme Court with more than 900 specific instances of ineligible felons voting in the 2008 election alone. A study found that felons register overwhelmingly as Democratic. As a result, if as few as 70 percent of the 900 voted for Al Franken and the remaining 30 percent voted for Norm Coleman, those additional 360 net votes for Franken provided his 312-vote margin of victory.

Even more terrifying than the defects of both law and practice that exist in our election processes is the lack of awareness of the facts and the disinterest in exploring the truth, along with the willingness to grumble about those who are knowledgeable, on the part of so many who oppose improving our election procedures.

Susan Richardson

Woodbury


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U of M system impacts state's economy, culture, prosperity

The excellence, impact and affordability of the University of Minnesota's five campuses are at stake. The current higher education funding levels proposed by the Legislature are simply not sufficient, and campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities face serious cuts.

With the current proposal by the Legislature, the unfortunate reality is this: To sustain research, outreach and education on our campuses, we will likely need to raise tuition costs.

The U's five distinct campuses add up to one extraordinary system. Together, we serve more than 65,000 students and the needs of communities in every corner of the state. For example:

• The University of Minnesota Crookston leverages its area's strong farming community to prepare tomorrow's leaders in agriculture and natural resources. Our innovative educational offerings meet the needs of Minnesotans across the state. Online learners in business and other programs are more than 50 percent of our enrollment.

• The University of Minnesota Duluth — on the shores of Lake Superior — has an impact that reaches not only the Northland but across the entire state. Our strong research within the Natural Resources Research Institute helps the state harness the power of our natural resources and develop sustainable and efficient industries.

• The University of Minnesota Morris offers students the rich and deep experience of a private residential liberal arts college at a public school price. We educate students to think critically, dig into and analyze a wide range of issues and tackle challenges with ingenuity and creativity — skills that are necessary to successful participation in the 21st century workforce.

• The University of Minnesota Rochester offers world-class, hands-on educational experiences within the health sciences. We partner with Rochester's internationally renowned biomedical and technology enterprises to advance health care across the region.

• And the university's Twin Cities campus — older than the state of itself — is one of only five in the U.S. with law, medicine, agricultural, engineering, veterinary and business schools congregated on one campus. Our interdisciplinary advantage propels breakthrough discoveries, including the heart pacemaker, retractable seat belts, Ziagen (one of the most effective AIDS drugs) and Honeycrisp apples, to name a few.

Our shared missions are in jeopardy because of the funding levels being proposed by the Minnesota House and Senate. Our affordable excellence is in danger, and so are research and outreach programs that affect all 87 counties. That means the state's economy, vitality and workforce of today and tomorrow are also at risk.

The university's economic success is inextricably tied to the prosperity of the state. That's why we urge communities across Minnesota to call upon the Legislature not to shortchange students and their families. We must have the partnership of the state to continue our critically important work for our state's future.

Chancellor Michelle Behr, Morris; Chancellor Lynn Black, Duluth; Chancellor Barbara Keinath, Crookston; Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle, Rochester; President Eric Kaler, Twin Cities