Editor, Times-Union:
As American Hoosiers across the State of Indiana and here in Kosciusko County, whether they be Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians or Independents, prepare to head to the voting booths this coming May and November, they should feel fortunate to live in a state that is and is part of a larger democratic constitutional republic. This allows them the choice whether to vote or not to vote in the first place and which particular political races to cast or not to cast a vote in.
But most importantly voters are allowed to do this by secret ballot instead of facing intimidation and repercussions from the authorities, political factions and one’s fellow citizens for casting a “wrong” vote out in the open. One needs only to look at the recent online USA Today article about the “election” of North Korea’s communist dictator Kim Jong-un with 100 percent turnout and approval to understand how precious these freedoms are. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/03/10/nkorea-election/6247491/
However, there are two freedoms that we are not allowing ourselves to have and that is the ability to cast a “not to retain” vote and a “none of the above” vote instead of only voting in the affirmative for a candidate(s). The State of Indiana allows this in a somewhat limited form when it comes to allowing the yes or no choice on whether to retain judges, and voters here in Kosciusko County do take advantage of this option as shown further down this letter in the election results from 2012. This current practice of the yes or no vote to retain a public official needs to be expanded to all elective offices on annual basis every November  during the course of their terms in office.
Secondly, it is time to add a “none of the above is acceptable” option on Indiana ballots and end the voter disenfranchisement for those American Hoosiers who show up at the polls but find themselves in a situation where in their personal opinions they are having to pick from unqualified candidates, the lesser of two, three or four evils, or the one candidate political race where a candidate could in theory vote themselves into a nomination or office with 100 percent of the vote. Both of these ideas would be powerful tools in holding public officials more accountable to the rule of law and all of the citizens that they serve.
2012 Results (Wednesday Nov. 7 Edition of the Times-Union)
Vote to retain Indiana Supreme Court & Appeals Judges
Judge Stephen David
Yes – 16,129
No – 6,776
Judge Robert Rucker
Yes – 16,615
No – 5,937
Judge Michael Barnes
Yes – 17,127
No – 5,511
Judge Paul Mathias
Yes – 16,736
No – 5,543
Judge Nancy Vaidak
Yes – 16,679
No – 5,646
The second half of my letter on this subject will outline how a “none of the above is acceptable” option on ballots would work, along with expanding the yes or no vote to retain elected officials.
Alexander Houze
Leesburg