Local lawmakers support Lee’s condemnation of Democratic proposal

Representatives Casey Snider (left) and Mike Peterson (right) were among local lawmakers who voiced support for Sen. Mike Lee's condemnation of a controversial Democratic election reform proposal now being debated in Congress.

CACHE COUNTY – While their comments might be less hyperbolic, Cache County lawmakers tend to agree with Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, that a Democratic proposal in Congress seeking to impose federal election standards on Utah is legislation “written in hell.”

“Voting has historically … been the prerogative of the states,” Rep. Casey Snider, R-District 5, argued during a ZOOM wrap-up of the 2021 Utah Legislature on Thursday. “That bill – H.R. 1, which was recently passed by the House Democrats in Congress – takes away our authority to run our own elections.

“Here in Utah,” he added, “we have fair elections and we don’t need Washington, D.C. telling us how to run our elections.”

A day earlier, Lee declared that H.R. 1 takes the constitutional authority of states to manage their own elections and “flips that principle on its head so that all these things can be micromanaged from Washington.”

“That’s wrong … it’s bad policy … and it’s wildly unconstitutional,” Lee charged.

“We need to be concerned about this radical proposal to extend the vote to 30 days prior, 15 days after and being able to register on Election Day,” agreed Rep. Mike Petersen, R-District 3, citing some of the provisions of H.R. 1. “Those are ideas that worry me and should concern all of us.”

During a town hall broadcast Wednesday where Utah’s senior senator shared the spotlight with freshman Representatives Burgess Owens, R-District 4, and Blake Moore, R-District 1, Lee said that enactment of H.R. 1 would practically guarantee the end of fair elections in the United States.

H.R. 1 – a controversial voting rights and election reform proposal which Democrats have dubbed the “For the People Act of 2021” – was rammed through the House of Representatives on Mar. 3 without a single Republican vote.

If passed by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, H.R. 1 would implement nationwide automatic voter registration, restore the franchise for convicted felons and expand mail-in, early and absentee voting opportunities.

Local advocates defend that proposal by emphasizing that some of those provisions are already enshrined in Utah election law.

But Lee said that the fact that Utah fairly manages its election processes doesn’t mean that other states will do the same.

For example, he argued, Utah systematically purges its voter rolls to remove deceased individuals and those that have moved or registered to vote elsewhere. Utah also requires voter verification even on mail-in ballots.

But H.R. 1 would specifically prohibit states from purging their voter rolls or requiring voter identification.

The Democratic proposal would also require states to establish independent redistricting commissions to redraw congressional districts every decade (a concept that Utah has already embraced) and would establish a new public financing system for congressional and presidential elections that would obligate taxpayers to match small-dollar donations to candidates on a 6–to-1 ratio.

H.R. 1 passed in U.S. House, where Democrats hold a narrow majority, by a vote of 220 to 210.

But Snider said the measure will hopefully die in the Senate, where Republicans and Democrats each hold 50 seats and a 60-vote majority will be required for passage of the controversial bill.

Snider, Petersen, Sen. Scott Sandall, R-District 17 and Rep. Dan Johnson, R-District 4 also voiced support for the idea of empowering Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes to legally challenge executive orders by Biden or congressional mandates that are clearly examples of federal over-reach.

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  • Herm Olsen March 15, 2021 at 9:57 am Reply

    Mike Lee’s puppy-dog support of Trump is what was actually ‘written in Hell’. He can’t tell the difference between Moroni and a 27-time adulterer. If the feds don’t intervene, the R states will preclude voting to all but White Christians.

  • Don March 15, 2021 at 11:54 am Reply

    I don’t think this bill is about Utah in particular but more likely about the dozens of other states who have a better chance than we do of flipping between red and blue. Many of those states with R-dominated legislatures but who leaned D in this most recent election are looking to tighten up laws and make it more difficult to vote. Generally, the more difficult it is to vote, the more that favors republicans. If you forget about partisan issues for a minute, though, wouldn’t it be best if we were able to implement a system of some sort that would make it as easy as possible for the largest number of people to vote? Instead of hearing their complaints about the democrats trying to involve more people in the vote, I would like to hear the proposal from these politicians to build their own system from the ground up to make voting as available as possible to the most number of people. Let’s make it fair, but remember that in spite of the what was said many times during this most recent election, just because an election doesn’t go your way, doesn’t mean it wasn’t fair.

  • KA March 15, 2021 at 12:44 pm Reply

    This isn’t complicated. Republicans don’t want brown and black people voting. Period.

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