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Letter: A vote against the For the People Act is a vote for voter suppression

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) U.S. Congressman Chris Stewart speaks with Congressman John Curtiss, at the Utah Association of Realtors office where GOP candidates gathered in Sandy, on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

The more people who exercise their right to vote, the better it is for legislators to hear the needs of their constituents. In a country where only 2/3 of registered voters exercised their right to vote in the last presidential election, despite being an all-time record, there is definitely room for improvement. The For the People Act of 2021, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (HR1), is an effort to do just that. It needs to pass the Senate.

It contains provisions to promote voter access in federal elections nationwide in a number of ways: online and same day voter registration, automatic voter registration for any citizen who provides information to certain state agencies (with an opt-out option), protections for the more than 35 million disabled citizens of voting age, early and mail-in voting, allowance of future voters age 16 and older to pre-register to vote in federal elections once they turn 18, restoration of voting rights to incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences are some of these provisions.

Anyone who opposes this bill clearly does not believe in the value of voting rights for all American citizens, or they fear they will get voted out of office if more Americans have voting access.

Let’s see how our Utah Representatives voted:

• Blake Moore (1st district), Nay

• Chris Stewart (2nd District), Nay

• John Curtis (3rd District), Nay

• Burgess Owens (4th District), Nay

In the words of Chuck Schumer to his Republican colleagues, “why, instead of trying to win voters over that you lost in the last election, are you trying to prevent them from voting?”

Republicans need to stop feigning “fraud” as the reason they oppose this bill and call it for what it is, voter suppression, pure and simple.

Sheldon Smith, Salt Lake City

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