As a new resident of Minnesota voting here for the first time, please forgive my rudeness for presuming to be critical of my new home state. Two aspects of voting in Minnesota are in sore need of change.First, having voted conscientiously for almost 50 years in nine other states, I have never had to carry my ballot to feed into a machine where a young lady stood and looked at my vote for President and Senator as I fed it into the machine and she handed me a sticker proclaiming that I had voted.Second, to be asked to vote for a large, earmarked tax increase for "wildlife and the arts" plus a large expenditure for the government purchase of a large tract of land one month BEFORE the state government tells us of the need for major tax increases, elimination of government services and government layoffs is disgraceful. Although I voted against the dedication of such earmarked funding to specific state agencies because it has led to diminished control by the state legislature and the governor over the disposition and use of such funds in other states, I must surmise that many of those that voted for the tax increase and earmarking did so in a vacuum. The vote was little more than an isolated (from reality) poll on how much we all love "wildlife and the arts" and not an informed choice about how important such government expenditures are in the midst of a looming state deficit of colossal proportions and difficult fiscal choices that threaten our livelihoods and our communities for years to come.Every Minnesotan should have a secret vote. There are numerous and proven ways to do that in this day and age. The Legislature should pass and the Governor should sign a mandate that the fiscal prognostications currently released annually in early December should be released in as complete a form as is available six weeks earlier (two weeks BEFORE any elections) to allow Minnesotans to make informed voting decisions rather than simple emotional choices sheltered from reality. Neither of these recommendations is difficult, nor would either cost a dime.Jim Beers522 Brooklyn CourtEagan, Minnesota 55123651-797-3570
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