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INTO THE OPEN

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

"The voice of the people is the voice of God." So goes the old proverb, but in many instances it is nearly impossible to determine just what the voice of the people is demanding. In this connection, nothing has been more difficult of late than ascertaining the attitude of the American people on the prohibition question. Now the Literary Digest, with cool calculation, is preparing to sound the country by means of a straw vote on the question that has been so bitterly argued pro and con for the past ten years.

The questions are in substance. (1) Are you in favor of enforcement of the present prohibition law? (2) Do you favor modification of the Volstead Act? (3) Do you favor the repeal of the eighteenth amendment? The results of this straw vote must be taken seriously, for the results from previous Literary Digest ballots prior to presidential elections have been amazingly accurate.

The importance of this vote lies however, not so much in the particular character of the questions, as in the manner in which it is expected they will be answered. For the first and only time in its troublous history the prohibition question will stand on its own merits before the country. The questions will be answered independent of party lines. The wet or dry viewpoint will not be reliant upon the personal stand of political aspirants. There will be no religious issue to cloud the prohibition question as in the last election and the vote will be distinctly national in character, with no particular sectional interests involved.

The importance, politically speaking, of such a canvass of national opinion is evident. When the returns are completely tabulated both state and national legislatures will have a definite basis of fact to work upon. The straw vote will show which way the wind of public opinion is hlewing and may well point to the constructive remedy for the present tangled situation. There is hope that the period of floundering in the prohibition morass may be drawing to a close.

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