Liberty: Ballots would not change

How much influence does the Westside really have on the Washington ballot? The revived talk of dividing Washington and forming the State of Liberty east of the Cascades got me thinking about it.

Remember, two carbon pricing initiatives didn’t get the votes they needed even with the West side taking part in the vote.

Let’s look at another contentious and even constitutional issue. Many believe that King County drives all the ballot results, so what would I-1639 have looked like without it? If you removed the 958,890 votes from King County, 226,117 of which were opposed, the measure would have still passed with 1,106,702 yeas to 1,033,564 nays.

It must be those other Westside counties then, right? It was, but likely not as significantly as most like to think.

If you take all the counties from east of the crest, Klickitat straight up to Okanogan, then over to Idaho, the vote would have been 273,014. Yeas to 345,458 Nay’s, 44.14 percent to 55.86 percent respectively. Hardly a vast majority. But let’s remove the more liberal Spokane and Whitman counties where a sliver majority voted in favor of I-1639. What would those numbers look like? You would still have roughly 40 percent yea to 60 percent nay, or 146,978 to 225,023 respectively. Still, hardly a VAST majority.

So, rather than lamenting about the power of the Westside, of which many counties are closely divided as well, Eastsiders should consider that the voting divide is much closer to home. And if Liberty advocates think life is unfair, what might the formation of Liberty feel like to nearly half of the Eastern Washington voters? Probably not much different. I realize that one ballot issue cannot be the basis of conclusion for the issue, but it is food for thought. (results.vote.wa.gov).

GABE HEADLEY

Wenatchee

Internet: Pass the Digital GAP Act

Lack of internet access in developing countries is a serious issue for — not only for the security of our country itself — but also for our own state.

The Digital GAP Act needs to be passed because currently, 60 percent (or 4.2 billion people) of the world currently has no internet access. Seventy-five percent of the 4.2 billion are condensed into only 20 countries. Over 8,000 people in West Africa died in 2014 due to an outbreak of the Ebola virus due to a lack of proper communication across treatment centers.

Giving these people internet access will improve the U.S. economy as these people will be able to buy more goods, have access to medical treatments, communicate with each other virtually, and much more.

If this act passes, approximately 160 million people will be lifted out of poverty and generate 2.2 trillion dollars in GDP. Internet access to the entire global population is vital to world peace and security, including that of our own country.

ISAAC ECHEVERRI

Simpsonville, S.C.