Ditch talk of nixing voting machines

York Dispatch editorial board

Thumbs up for the lack of support — both public and official — for removing electronic voting machines in York County.

A group of county residents, spurred on by fallacies regarding the 2020 election, sought removal of the county’s Dominion Voting Systems machines. Dominion, recall, was targeted by a campaign of unsubstantiated allegations of ballot manipulation in the wake of President Donald Trump’s electoral drubbing. The company sued the biggest megaphone for these lies — Fox News — for libel, seeking $1.6 billion in damages.

FILE- In this Sept. 16, 2019, file photo, a Dominion Voting Systems voting machine is seen in Atlanta. Dominion Voting Systems is filing a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing the cable news giant falsely claimed  in an effort to boost faltering ratings that the voting company rigged the 2020 election, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Associated Press (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

The local contingent hoped to gather enough signatures to put a referendum calling for removal of the voting machines on the fall ballot. Happily, the public wasn’t interested, at least not in large enough numbers to reach the necessary 8,700 or so required signatures.

More:Voter referendum to throw out Dominion voting machines falls short of signatures

Thirteen petitioners nonetheless approached the Board of Commissioners during the public comment portion of its meeting last week, asking it to ditch the voting machines anyway in favor hand-counted ballots. Oh, and they want to ban mail-in ballots, as well.

Let’s be clear: The Dominion machines worked flawlessly and the 2020 election — held under unprecedented scrutiny amid concerns of foreign interference and a pandemic — was a model of professionalism and efficiency. Mail-in voting helped. There’s no need to change anything.

Also not needed: Petition organizer Angela Kline’s vague threats to commissioners about “a small army rising up” that “you people need to pay attention to.”

Please. Any small armies should, like false claims about voting machines, be dismissed.

Thumbs down for a Virginia country club’s incredibly tone-deaf concept for “commemorating” the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Someone at The Clubhouse at Aquia Harbour thought it would be a good idea to create a “Patriot 22” menu of special offerings alluding to the 2001 attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and aboard a plane that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

That’s a shaky enough premise; the execution was even worse. Items such as Pentagon Pie, Remember-tinis, a Flight 93 Redirect Crab Dip and a 2977 Chowder (matching the number of people killed on Sept. 11) couldn’t have been more inappropriate. The backlash was immense. And predictable.

More:Virginia country club’s 9/11 themed seafood menu triggers apology

To his credit, the clubhouse manager took responsibility for the post and issued a public apology — a rarity in these days when the usual response to criticism is doubling down. That earns him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his intentions; this obviously wasn’t some sick joke.

Problem was, it was hard to tell the difference.

Thumbs up for a new $21.5 million state program to provide free breakfasts to public and private schoolchildren in Pennsylvania.

“It is completely unacceptable for a child to start the day hungry,” said Gov. Tom Wolf in announcing the Universal Free Breakfast Program.

The governor’s office said the program, which starts on Oct. 1 and runs through the rest of the school year, will be paid for with funds leftover from last year’s School Food Services General Fund appropriation.

More:Pennsylvania launching free school breakfast program

Federal aid was made available to fund free meals for all students during the pandemic, but Congress declined to renew that spending and it lapsed with the end of the previous school year. The new plan essentially extends the program for another year.

Even better: The program is open to all students regardless of whether they qualify for free or reduced-price meals, minimizing any stigma that might be associated with participating in the program.

Aside from the health benefits of a nutritious start-of-the-day meal, researchers have found that hitting the breakfast table before hitting the classroom helps students concentrate better and improves their performance on math, reading and science tests by as much as 25 percent.

Second-graders Summer Zhang, 7, right, works to help classmate Katherine Lewis, 7, to open her chocolate milk at lunch during the first day of class at Valley View Elementary School in Spring Garden Township, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. Dawn J. Sagert photo

After years of remote instruction and pandemic-era distractions, students need every benefit they can get to excel in the classroom. The Universal Free Breakfast Program is one they should take full advantage of.