Voting is a Right — It’s a Duty

5 mins read

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Fifty-five years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson “signed into law the most sweeping voter rights protections the nation had ever seen.”

The Voting Rights Act, which was amended five times over the next ten years, increased government oversight in areas of the country with histories of voter discrimination, made it illegal to require literacy or (later) language tests, and effectively opened voting to hundreds of thousands of qualified voters who had been kept from the ballot box because of their skin color.

The results were significant: voter registration went up, voting increased, and consequently, more Americans participated in the election process—their right.

“In recent years, though, legal attacks have eroded the federal government’s ability to enforce the law. State legislatures—mainly those controlled by Republicans in states with increased minority turnout, according to a University of Massachusetts Boston analysis—have challenged the Voting Rights Act by passing a wave of new restrictions, including voter ID laws and reduced early voting.”

About the Voting Rights Act

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the formula used to determine which voting districts required federal oversight as a result of past discrimination was outdated and struck down a critical section of the Voting Rights Act. As a result, over half the states in the country introduced “newly restrictive” laws with the potential to discriminate. “In 2018, the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Civil Rights…recommended Congress restore voter discrimination protections.”

A year later Congressman John Lewis, the legendary civil rights leader, secured the passage of H.R. 4. This House Resolution would fulfill the Supreme Court’s requirement that a new formula be determined by Congress and restore government oversight using that formula.

Chris Stewart voted against the resolution.

Though passed by the House, the bill was not—and still has not been—taken up by the Republican-led Senate. Rep. Lewis’s recent death brought renewed calls for action (including former President Obama’s impassioned plea during the eulogy he wrote for Lewis). However, the Senate has yet to act.

For more information on the Voting Rights Act and the fight to restore key provisions to ensure fair and open elections, visit the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice.

Voterise on Instagram

A personal note: as our campaign team and I have traveled CD2, voters say they are confident in Utah’s vote-by-mail system. During this pandemic, the safety of voters is critically important.

Barriers to voters nationwide need to end, tactics that have a clear racial and socio-economic dimension. Passage of H.R. 4 will help ensure this outcome and is a measure I support.

Concerns about voter fraud have not been proven by data and instead appear to be a White House effort to call into question a fundamental right—and, perhaps, the peaceful transfer of power this election.

Our democracy depends on our participation. Voting is a right, it’s a duty, and it’s the foundation of our country. This November we vote in what is likely the most critical election of our lifetimes. Check your voter registration. Help your friends, family, and neighbors do the same. And then vote.

Vote like our country depends on it, because it does.

Kael Weston
kael@westonforcongress.com


You can help

Vote.Utah.gov

For information about voting in Utah visit vote.utah.gov.

Are you registered to vote? Check the national database.
https://www.usa.gov/confirm-voter-registration

If you are not registered to vote, go to the state voting site.
https://secure.utah.gov/voterreg/login.html?selection=REGISTER

Learn about voting by mail.
https://voteinfo.utah.gov/learn-about-voting-by-mail-and-absentee-voting/

Interested in helping with voter registration?
Start with these three organizations:


This campaign is only possible through donations. Thank you for your support.

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A native Utahn, Kael Weston served for over a decade in the U.S. State Department, including seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his government career, specific assignments included: U.S. representative on the UN Security Council’s Al Qaeda/Taliban Sanctions Committee in New York; Iraq team, Political Section, U.S. Mission to the United Nations; State Department Political Adviser to a dozen Marine commanding generals, including during and after the biggest battle of the Iraq War (Fallujah, 2004-2007). In this role, he and Marine leaders were responsible for rebuilding the city’s infrastructure, facilitating the return of hundreds of thousands of Fallujans back into the city, establishing a new city council despite numerous assassinations of local politicians, and working closely with Iraqi governors in Ramadi and central Iraqi government representatives in Baghdad. Several nation-wide elections and a constitutional referendum were held across Iraq during this time.

In eastern Afghanistan’s Khost Province, Kael helped prioritize over $50 million dollars in U.S. reconstruction funds and worked to reintegrate former Taliban fighters in coordination with U.S. military leaders and Khost’s Afghan governor. He also met with a group of former Guantanamo Prison detainees and helped lead U.S. government political engagement with Afghan tribal and religious leaders. In Helmand Province, he worked directly with a Marine commanding general during the 2008-2009 U.S. troop surge that doubled Marine forces in the area from just under 11,000 to almost 20,000.

Kael is the author of the book, The Mirror Test (Knopf, 2016) a New York Times Editors’ Choice (NYT Book Review) and Military Times’ Best Book of the Year. He has taught at the college level in Utah and in Quantico, Virginia, at Marine Corps University, as well as leading seminars at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Kael writes monthly for the Salt Lake Tribune and has contributed to NPR, New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Daily Beast, and other publications.

For Kael Weston’s multi-year service in Fallujah, Iraq, the State Department awarded him the Secretary of State’s Medal for Heroism.

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