Kim Lofstedt casts her vote early in Alaska’s Primary Election at Kenai City Hall on Aug. 17, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Kim Lofstedt casts her vote early in Alaska’s Primary Election at Kenai City Hall on Aug. 17, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Letter to the Editor: For the People Act would strengthen democracy

For the People Act addresses voting rights, fair elections and campaign processes.

The League of Women Voters of Central Kenia Peninsula (LWVCKP), and of the League of Women Voters of Alaska (LWVAK) strongly supports the For the People Act, a bill that has recently passed the U.S. House (as H.R.1) and is now in the Senate (S.1). The League supports this bill because it establishes safeguards for the voting public and makes our democracy stronger.

For the People Act addresses voting rights, fair elections and campaign processes. Improved access to the ballot box, the restoration of the Voting Rights Act (now named the John Lewis VRAA), automatic registration, restoration of felon rights, and an adequate number of polling places to reduce long lines are just a few of the changes needed across the country. The status of these voting issues varies across the states, and this bill would help equalize voting processes in all states so that all eligible voters have equal access to the voting process.

Currently, the Brennan Center estimates that 253 state voting bills that would in a variety of ways limit voting access are making their way through 43 state legislatures. Alaska has its own set of troubling bills that make voting more difficult, SB39 and HB23. In comparison, Alaska HB 66 offers ideas that can help eligible voters exercise their right to vote. For example, these changes include same-day registration and a process for curing ballot envelope errors so that those ballots can be counted. The League supports legislation that makes the voting process transparent and fair rather than legislation based on unproven declarations of voter fraud and leading to restrictive voting practices.

The League of Women Voters sees the For the People Act as a piece of legislation that will strengthen our democracy at a time when many feel that democracy has been weakened. This bill would aid those citizens who do their part by being active voters who make voting decisions based on the best information they can find. Democracy can thrive with honest and fair laws and citizens who are informed voters. Please contact your senators and urge them to support the For the people Act.

— Cathleen Rolph, Soldotna

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