August 13, 2001 11:00 pm

Allow 2 days for voting

To the Editor:

We congratulate your Aug. 2 editorial on election reform. We wholeheartedly agree with you that to combine election day with Veterans Day would be a mistake, but there are many other options.

First, we should make it as easy as possible to vote. There is nothing sacred about the first Tuesday of November.

Why not open the polls at noon EST on the first Saturday of November and close them at midnight the next day. This would be an 18-hour voting period which would include two possible days and one night for voting. This would mean that the polls would open at 9 a.m. Saturday PST and 7 a.m. Hawaiian standard time. The polls then would close at midnight EST, 9 p.m PST and and at 7 p.m. in Hawaii.

We disagree on the subject of exit poling. We have a very biased press dominated by big-city cultures, mostly centered in New York City and Washington, D.C. Both of these cities have shown historically to be unrepresentative of the political philosophy of the rest of the nation.

If the polls closed at midnight, it would be a good discipline for the talking heads to think about what they were going to forecast during the dark hours of the morning or maybe even wait until 5 or 6 a.m. in New York.

The media, in its rush to judgment, made error after error last November. It is very important that voters have the skills to know what they are voting for or against. As always, education and preparation are major keys to thoughtful decision-making. Prejudice and bias should be eliminated where possible.

Early press forecasts, which disenfranchises a large part of our nation, does not give us the freedom promised by the First Amendment.

Rod and Jeanne Gilstrap


You can help others

To the Editor:

To those of us who battle disease and injury on a daily basis, it is so important to have people who take the time to care by writing, calling, praying, visiting, helping financially, running errands and, in general, doing things that encourage and help lift ones spirit to the many challenges that they must face each moment of each day.

We pray that you are one of those people who has not had to face this kind of health situation, which can cause depression, frustration, anger and sometimes a feeling of hopelessness.

I know that I am indeed blessed because I have a personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, where I can draw from his strength, find inner peace and know real joy, even as the battle rages on.

But what a difference you make whether you are family, friends or simply someone who takes the time to make that special difference.

My son Shawn, one of my three very special sons, wrote a letter to The Observer on July 18 that truly impacted my heart. My other two sons, Jason and Tim, who live near St. Lukes Hospital in Boise, have given me the opportunity to be out of the hospital but near the hospital while I take my chemotherapy treatments for the next few weeks. I cant thank them enough for that.

And to you who have written, called, visited and shared in any way, thank you so very much. There are many of us going through this same kind of situation daily. We need your love and support.

We should never take for granted those things that are so important in our lives.

Embrace life each day and do what you can to make a difference in your life as well as in the lives of others.

John Hays

La Grande/Boise