"Who Won't Vote" {editorial, Feb. 6} is a paradox. With the same breath that The Post outlines the frightening statistics about low voter turnout, it criticizes the first major legislative attempt in this decade to improve voter participation. The bill, introduced by Sen. Alan Cranston, Rep. John Conyers and others, includes methods cited by The Post: mail-in and Election Day registration, encouraging outreach by states and protecting voters from being purged from voter rolls unless they have moved or died.

The legislation was modeled after state statutes: 26 states now have mail-in registration, 13 have some form of agency-based registration, and three have Election Day registration. Many states allow deputy registrars, door-to-door canvassing and a variety of outreach efforts. The Post argues against reform for fear of voter fraud, but the states' experience shows these fears are not well founded.

The bill provides for protection against fraud and for stringent penalties for those convicted of fraud. Improving voter turnout is a matter of deep concern for our democracy. We must not let the effort to open up the process be sidetracked by unfounded cries of voter fraud. The states have started the proc-ess. Congress should complete the job.

ARTHUR J. KROPP President, People for the American Way Washington