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Bill Gerling

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Republican legislatures around the nation are preparing 253 bills to suppress voters from voting in the 2022 off-year elections. Their efforts, inspired by former President Trump, claim the recent election was rigged, but it was upheld by Republican election officials, judges appointed by Trump, the Republican attorney general and federal election officials. Republicans have lost the popular vote in the last seven of eight presidential contests but have been able to win the presidency three times. The key is to arrange as many electoral votes through gerrymandering and voter suppression laws under the guise of promoting "integrity of the election."

Trump promoted the lie that mail-in votes were fraudulent although he has used this method to vote in Florida. There was no evidence of massive fraud by mailed votes that caused him to lose the election. Trump's false charges have led states to introduce bills to eliminate mail-in voting, early voting, new voter identification requirements, restricting the number of polling places, eliminating automatic registration for voting. Two proposals in Missouri disallow voting machines and other technologies to help the disabled and visually impaired and eliminate non-photo ID options for registered voters.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Missouri is one of the leading states promoting voter-suppression laws because Eric Schmitt, Josh Hawley, Blaine Luetkemeyer and other Missouri politicians took the lead in trying to wipe out election results of other states and not certifying the results of the electoral college. As Joe Walsh, former congressman from Illinois stated: "Republicans know when fewer people vote, they have a better chance of winning."

The solution to voter suppression is HB1. The Constitution allows Congress to regulate the time, place and manner of elections. It would expand early voting, lessen identification requirements where necessary, allow states to set up automatic registration for federal elections, apply vote-by-mail and require states to set up bipartisan commissions for redistricting every 10 years. Obviously, this bill will not pass in the Senate because of the filibuster. The Senate needs to pass another exception in addition to approval of court nominees and reconciliation of revenue bills. It needs to also include civil rights and voting laws. Both of these are essential to our democracy and should not be thwarted by the minority.

I agree with the News Tribune editorial to "encourage Missourians to vote with the least number of barriers."

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