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Sue Bower

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Voting? My family is going on a vacation. Should my neighbors get a vote? Our cousins? My favorite entertainer? Our city is voting on a new tax. Should residents of St. Louis or college students temporarily residing in a dorm get to vote? Our state is voting for governor. Should an incapacitated relative from out of state housed in an in-state nursing home, a college student from Texas going to MU nine months out of the year who does not pay state taxes, a new one-month resident in Missouri who has paid no taxes, has no permanent residence and has not registered his car in Missouri be allowed to vote?

How about a vote for our next president of the United States? Should a student from Iran or Iraq or Russia attending a U.S. university/college be allowed to vote? Should an illegal, non-US citizen, non-English-speaking immigrant be allowed to vote? I think not. I think voters, in whatever constituency, should be legal residents of that city/state/country. I know that when the U.S. first gained independence, you had to own a residence/business. This was an indication the voter had "skin in the game," had invested in our nation and had some education, formal or not.

I certainly think voters should be legal citizens, people with knowledge of American history and how our government runs. They should have a minimum residence in cities and states and have a demonstrated permanent residency if a student. They should be able to show a picture ID and be able to sign their name, matching the signature on that ID. If you don't think having legitimate voters matters in an election, then who do you want to vote and be able to tell you what you should pay in taxes, run your offices, etc.?

It is hard to separate what our hearts want to do and what our heads tell us we need to do to protect our nation. Generosity, empathy and the desire to help the needy are important, but so is having a nation of Americans, with jobs for Americans first. Giving to charities to help those in need is one thing, but asking our citizens to go into massive debt to foster aliens who could conceivably irreparably alter our nation's existence is something else.

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