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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
June 18, 2020     Shelton Mason County Journal
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June 18, 2020

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Page A-6 Shelton-Mason County Journal Thursday, June 18, 2020 ElEGTMMVflMATIEBS National calls for vote-by-mail are simply unrealistic ecently, I got a call from Ra college friend who is now the chair of the Election Commission in Cambridge, Massa- chusetts. She wanted my advice on how to convert their elections system to all vote-by- mail by the November presidential election. I asked about their current set—up. In the past, a voter in Mas- By PADDY McGUIRE sachusetts has had to have an excuse to cast an absentee ballot, cer- tifying that they will be out of town or are physically unable to get to the polling place on election day. About 4% of vot- ers generally vote absentee. I asked about their equipment GUESTGDLUWMV and she told me that they have counters in each of their precincts that voters feed their paper ballots into, one at a time. I asked her about whether they have access to the signa- tures on voter regis- tration cards in their voter registration system. She said the signatures were on the cards themselves, not stored electroni- cally. I then told her about our processes, how we handle incoming ballots and use the barcode with voter information to retrieve the saved image of voter’s signa- tures in the voter registration system to verify the ballot came from the voter. We have staff trained by the Washing- ton State Patrol to do signa- ture verification; You can’t just have untrained staff do that job. I explained that we have a scanner that can take an image of both sides of the bal- lot at a rate of about 100 a minute, about 20 times faster than their equipment. I de— scribed our drop boxes, that we provide prepaid postage and that our voters have been voting this way a long time, so they know what they’re doing. My point in all of this is that calls for switching to vote—by-mail nationally now, while well-intentioned, are simply unrealistic. Election of- ficials cannot make the chang- es necessary to change from polling places to vote-by—mail by simply flipping a switch. I could not stand up a polling-place election in time for November, find 40 some— thing polling places, several hundred poll workers, produce poll books, buy booths and have the infrastructure in place to make it work, not to mention letting 41,000 voters , in the county know that every- thing has changed and where to go vote. Big transitions like these require new equipment, train- ing, processes and lots of voter education, none of which hap- pens overnight. I am a huge fan of vote-by- mail. I hope the safety, securi- ty and voter convenience that we enjoy here will one day be available across the country. It’s not perfect, especially for people with vision difficulties, where voting with privacy and independence can be a chal- lenge, but overall it’s a great system. Voters having confidence in the outcome of the elec- tion is already under fire. The election this fall is just too important to make wholesale changes that will undermine voter confidence. My advice to my friend was to go slowly and do it right. I Paddy McGuire is the Ma- son County auditor. He can be reached at 360—427-9670, ext. 468. China’s push for strategic—mineral dominance an alarming trend vately held manufacturing business in Seattle, switched to making face cutting edge technology. China’s control of rare earth and tute when forging steel. It takes 13 pounds of manganese to make 1 ton hile the coronavirus pan- demic and civil unrest are front page news, China’s un- relenting push to leap over our coun- try in critical technology and hoarding of strategic metals should alarm us. Since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, there has been an unprecedented worldwide demand for per- sonal protective equipment (PPE). Tensions between our countries fueled the wide- spread fear that Chinese imports would disappear. China provided 48% of our PPE imports in 2018, but Chi- nese exports of essential hospital supplies declined significantly in the first months of 2020. “Fortunately, domestic manufac- turers coast-to-coast ~— from Hickey Freeman’s tailored suit shop in Roch- ester, New York, to Dov Charney’s Los Angeles Apparel T-shirt factory in South Central L.A. —— are firing up production to help fix the supply shortage of face masks and hospital gowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” WWD.com (fashion de- sign website) reported. In Washington, companies such as GM Nameplate, the largest pri— By DON BRUNELL shields to prevent the spread of CO- VID‘-19 virus. While many domestic manufacturers are able to step in and convert produc- tion lines to make PPE products, it is a bigger chal- , lenge with cutting edge technology and stockpiling strategic metals. China recently an- nounced a new trillion dol- lar program to develop next- generation technologies as it seeks to catapult itself ahead of the US. in critical tech- nology areas, Wall Street Journal reporter Liza Lin wrote. The focus is artificial intelligence, data centers, mobile communications and super- fast cellular (5G) networks. While President Donald Trump is pushing to bring technology and manufacturing back to America, Chinese leaders, as part of the Made in China 2025 plan, are investing heavily to replace foreign tech com- ponents with locally made products, Lin added. The strategy is to have local governments, China-owned companies and the national govern- ment partner to fund development of critical metals gives it a key strategic advantage. The rare earth metals are important because of their distinct magnetic, luminescent and electro- chemical properties that make many technologies perform with reduced weight, emissions and energ con- sumption. The US. Geological Survey adds: “These special metals provide greater efficiency, performance, miniaturiza- tion, speed, durability, and thermal stability.” While the 17 elements classified as “rare earth” are not commonly known, they are critical components in products ranging from smart phones and laptop computers to batteries, electric vehicle and jet engines, wind turbines, LEDS and major weapons systems. The U.S. imports 80% of its rare earth metals from China. China sits on 40% of the global deposits and produces 80% (120,000 metric tons) of the world’s supply. Australia is second with 20,000 metric tons. China also is the world’s larg-, est supplier of critical metals such as manganese. Manganese is the backbone of all modern industrial components and there is no substi- of steel. The United States has no manganese production, although it has deposits of manganese ore. “The current coronavirus pan- ‘demic has exposed significant supply chain challenges associated with our over-reliance on fomignéaudsu ' especially Chinese) raw materials,” Sandra Wirtz, American Resources Policy Network, recently wrote in the Economic Standard. PPE has become the poster child, but whether it’s smartphone technol- ogy, solar panels, electric vehicles, or fighter jets — critical minerals are integrated into all aspects of US. supply chains. And, despite the United States being rich in mineral resources, we have maneuvered our.- selves into a spot where we often find ourselves at the mercy of China. That is a dangerous position that our elected officials need to address. I Don C. Brunell is a business ana- lyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s old- est and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn. com. ~ ' LETTERS cont. from page A-5 Defunding police is nonsense Editor, the Journal To lighten up during these troubled times, I’ll often turn on YouTube and watch network TV cover- age of election night 2016. In party-like atmospheres (except on the more seri- ous FOX channel), all the talking heads then and there were absolutely giddy, secure in the knowledge that Hillary would win in a landslide. Heck, all the polls said so. Then then the elec- tion results started coming in. The sets grew quieter and soon, a pall settled over the banter. Frowns appeared. Then Trump was declared the winner and the shock and anger were palpable. Wow! I hadn’t seen Democrats that mad since we freed their slaves. But that was then. Today, everybody should be mad as hell about that stupid cop who killed the unfortunate George Floyd in Minneapolis two weeks ago. All four offi- cers involved are now behind bars. Good. But stupidity shouldn’t be- get stupidity of another kind. There are now movements afoot to eliminate (or defund) police departments. Good griefl Have the dim bulbs who came up with this nonsense thought of the consequences? Clearly not. Speaking of dim bulbs, I would offer a few words about the occupants of the new country of CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) in Wash- ington state’s largest city. A group of idealistic, ill-educat- ed, skill-free young hoodlums (some armed) have seized and fenced off seven city blocks and a police precinct building in downtown Seattle. About this totally illegal grab of city property, Seattle’s clueless mayor, a Ms. Jenny Durkan, said recently the CHAZ re- minded her of a “street festi- val.” Ladies — especially femi- nists ——- please don’t get your knickers in a knot. I don’t care if Durkan is a giant squid. My problem with her is not that she’s a woman, but that she’s a liberal, and as all thinking observers should know by now, almost every- thing liberals touch even- tually turns to excrement. Seattle and CHAZ are perfect examples. Back to the other big story at hand, the presidential election. Despite, in general, very low voter enthusiasm for Biden, the DNC should be pleased. Nationwide polls show “Plugs” leading Trump most everywhere. (Hey, the polls were good for Hillary, weren’t they?) We do have some drama here, though. Soon Biden will have to reach into a dumpster and pull out a running mate, who, in all likelihood, will succeed him early as presi- dent should he win (perish the thought.) So hang in there, Demo- crat voters. Joe Biden ain’t much, but for what it’s worth, you now have a candidate who can hide his own Easter eggs. Robert E. Graham Union