Press Release – BETTER UTAH CALLS OUT HOUSE FOR RESTRICTING ACCESS TO DEMOCRACY

Salt Lake City, UT – Utah Policy reported this morning that two election law reform bills from Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck would be held in Rules Committee for the duration of the session. Holding the bills has the effect of killing them without giving the public an opportunity to be heard on these bills.

HB 403 “Electronic Signature on Petitions” would have allowed for electronic signatures on ballot initiatives and primary election petitions. It has previously been reported that the technology already exists to support this process in a secure manner. HB 411 would have established an Advisory Redistricting Commission to prepare and advise the legislature on plans for legislative boundaries during the redistricting process that will occur based on the 2020 census.

Chase Thomas, Better Utah’s policy and advocacy counsel, issued the following statement:

“Once again, our legislature is showing just how undemocratic it can be. By killing these bills, House leadership and members of the Rules Committee once again are hoarding power for themselves, afraid to make it easier for constituents to participate in democracy or for legislators to be held accountable during the redistricting process. Even more frustrating is that these representatives are denying a public hearing on these important pieces of legislation, thereby denying their fellow legislators and their constituents the opportunity to express their views on these issues. Indeed, they are shielding themselves from the risk of constituent criticism of their denial of these democratic processes to the public. Simply put, democracy is hard but access to it should be made as easy as is reasonably possible.”

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