Laura Seitz, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Utah Credit Union Association met at the state Capitol on Wednesday to launch Ready. Set. Vote. — an initiative to increase voter registration and political engagement in Utah.
"The more people who have a voice in this government, the better this government is," said Scott Simpson, president and CEO of the Utah Credit Union Association. "Credit unions from around the state are dedicating their physical locations and their digital real estate for the next 30 days to make it as easy as possible."
About 800,000 of Utah's 3 million residents are eligible to vote but have not registered to do so, Simpson said. Ready. Set. Vote. organizers say they hope opening up credit unions to allow voter registration will lead to more registered voters.
About 60 credit union employees — including 45 newly registered voters — attended the event at the Capitol.
Gemma Burnett, an employee at America First Credit Union, said she sees voting as an opportunity to communicate the needs of her community to lawmakers.
"Each individual knows what they want for their community and their country to make it better. People complain, and I say, 'Why are you complaining if you don't vote?' I registered to vote today so now I can complain," Burnett said with a smile.
Lyndsay Wilson, another America First employee, said one-on-one assistance will be provided at credit unions to people who chose to register there. Mail-in ballots are also available.
As a former executive director for the Utah Republican Party, Simpson says registering to vote keeps residents informed on key issues during elections.
"I spent a fair amount of effort and money communicating to voters, but we never knowingly spent a dime communicating to people who weren't registered to vote," he said. "If you're not registered, you're not part of the dialogue. There's a significant chunk of our population that is not registered to vote, and they're not exercising their voice."
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