Although I understand the need for the new voting procedure that replaced our antiquated voting machines, I am troubled by the apparent loss of one of our fundamental democratic principles: the secret ballot ["Election Day 2013," News, Nov. 6].

When I voted last week, I was offered a ballot but no protective sleeve to cover up my choices. I had to request a sleeve. When my wife voted earlier in the day, she was offered the sleeve, but after marking her ballot behind the screen, she was told to take it out of the protective sleeve to make it easier to insert into the voting machine. Any of the observers would have been able to glance at how she marked her ballot.

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I am not accusing our dedicated poll workers of attempting to read my vote. If anything, they try to make the process smooth and friendly. Nevertheless, there is something wrong here that could lead to voter intimidation.

Michael Steuer, Smithtown