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tv   Lawmakers Advocates Testify on Voting Rights  CSPAN  April 20, 2021 9:33pm-1:37am EDT

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♪♪ ♪♪ next the hearing on voting rights and the new georgia election law.
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the senate judiciary committee heard from lawmakers and advocates including a fair fight action founder stacey abrams and georgia house speaker pro tem jan jones. this is four hours the hearing will come to order. the committee is holding the first hearing on voting rights since the democrats last controlled the senate. as chair of the constitution civil rights subcommittee, i had a series of hearings about the way the voter suppression laws than under consideration across the country. sadly, the situation is much worse today. i'd like to start with a video showing how the fight for democracy is, and have yet to make. those who founded our country
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knew freedom would be secure if each generation thought to renew and enlarge. americans are every race and color and worked to build a nation. now our generation of americans has been called on to contain the search. we understand how this happened but it cannot continue. >> we believe all are entitled to the blessings of liberty millions are being deprived. >> limiting ballot access moving through 47 statehouses right now.
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a. >> preventing anybody from a poll worker handing out water or food to voters waiting in those notoriously long lines that have much more common in counties with larger black and brown populations. >> this isn't just a democratic or republican issue. >> to make sure we are expanding the protection. >> i will fight until the death to make sure every business has a right to vote. if not now, then when. >> it is wrong to deny any
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fellow americans the right to vote in this country. >> our work is not finished. since the nation's founding there's been an intractable conflict between champions of democracy and white supremacy. in 1890, white supremacists won a victory that would inspire a generation of legislation to deny full citizenship to black americans. they called it the mississippi plan. historian carol anderson, who's one of today's witnesses, has described, quote, the dizzying array of literacy tests, understanding the clauses, voter registration rules, good character clauses all intentionally racially discriminatory and dressed up in the garb of bringing integrity to voting. the president of the state constitutional convention that spawned the mississippi plan, ss calhoun announced, and i quote,
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let's told the truth if it bursts the bottom of the universe. we came here to exclude the negro, nothing short of this will answer it. and they succeeded. three years later a newspaper reported that about 94% of black men in mississippi were eligible to vote on the old constitution would no longer be eligible under new rules. in the words of one reporter, quote, practical elimination of the majority race from the politics of the state. what happened in mississippi did not stay in mississippi. by 1910, states including south carolina, louisiana, north carolina, alabama, virginia, georgia and oklahoma adopted statutes that sought to emulate the success systematically suppressing black voters. by the late 20th century the federal government recognized the laws passed during the jim
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crow era amounted to a national crisis of voter disenfranchisement. many of the most egregious tactics were outlawed by civil rights legislation in 1960s. but the insidious effort to suppress the right of the voters of color has involved and continued just this year more than a 360 bills with restricted voting provisions have been introduced with 47 states. these new pieces of legislation may not involve literacy tests or counting the number of jellybeans in a jar like the original jim crow, but make no mistake, they are a deliberate effort to suppress the voters of color. this is the reality of the political landscape following shelby county versus holder decision in 2013 which gutted the voting rights act.
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some require the voters to show id and cut back early voting. of one texas bill would make it a felony to distribute absentee ballot applications. the law that has received the most attention in the recent weeks is the one that the governor signed last month. it will make it harder to vote early or by absentee ballot and make it a crime to those waiting in line. it wasn't long ago that an american could be barred from voting, for failing to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar. now they might not be able to vote because they are stuck in line on a hot day and they can't even receive a drink of water from a good samaritan. why are states like this making it hard to exercise the most fundamental right? the response from both is to
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help maintain the integrity of the election system. another tactic, taking strength from the mississippi plan playbook. president trump so officials, president trump's officials at the department of homeland security declared that the 2021 election was the most secure in history. so, my colleagues on this committee we are in the same ballot as president trump. these are not really about integrity. what is the problem lawmakers ingeorgia want to address with e new law? the problem is obvious. too many voters are showing up. the site of the voter turnout during the last election among the georgia voters that returned absentee ballots we get an answer to the question. 65% of those returned absentee
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ballots voted for president biden. republican lawmakers in georgia concluded that the solution to their election problems is to make it harder to vote because the voters who did vote in the last election were not there voters. that is fundamentally not american. in the words of senator warnock and thank you for joining us today, it is democracy in reverse. in our republic, politicians don't choose the voters, the voters choose us. we ought to enact legislation that makes it easy as possible while ensuring that the elections are safe and secure. there is a number of steps congress can take to advance the goal like the john lewis voting rights act between president
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donald trump and secretary of state it was recorded there's no doubt what was said when it comes to this conversation. donald trump was explicit. here's what it said. i want to find 11,780 votes which is one more than we have. the president that had 17 days left in his administration and the chief lawyer of the secretary of state's office could be prosecuted criminally if they didn't do his bidding. here's what the president said, you are not reporting it, he said. you know that is a criminal offense and you can't let this happen. that's a big risk to you and your lawyer. a big risk the president of the united states said in a conversation that was recorded.
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it's no surprise this president goes on to claim not only several conspiracy theories included to debunk charges, the balance in fulton county georgia, the voting machines were operated by dominion voting systems tampered with and replaced and the conversation could be heard such charges are untrue even if trump insists otherwise. you want to have an accurate election he replied we believe we do have an accurate election. he responded no, no, you don't. you don't have, not even close. you are off by hundreds of thousands of votes. i reread that to think for a moment about the state election official who had the foresight to take the conversation so history would be clear but also
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made it clear that where 5 million votes were cast, the notion that they could find 11,790 votes, 780 was just plain wrong. of all the absentee votes and all the votes in person of all the activities that took place before and after, he refused to conceive that point. i can tell you it cost him because when it came time the georgia legislature signed into law to preside over the state election board. he paid a heavy price for being honest and courageous in the conversation with president trump. the secretary also removed under the new georgia law as a voting member of the board. clearly they were out to send a message that if you don't take
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the line and follow it and allege that he found some votes you will pay a price for it. that is what we are up against and why the hearing has taken place. one of my heroes and friends and former colleagues said the vote is precious. it's almost sacred. it's the most powerful nonviolent tool in a democracy. recent efforts to prevent americans from participating in the democracy remind us how much work remains to protect this precious almost sacred right this is the latest attack on one of the states for an acting election integrity laws. pretty simple. national democrats in the big business have colluded to bully
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georgia in retaliation for its voting laws many are similar to those in my state of iowa where we have experienced a record turnout and recently no instances of anyone being hindered from voting. i object to the title of the hearing. like others on the committee, i am a fan of history. i try to learn from it. i don't use it to insult my opponents. as i said, the title of the hearing is offensive and as a student of history the title diminishes the challenges and unfairness that minorities have endured in the jim crow south at the hands of southern democrats.
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the right to vote should not be political. we should all agree participating in america's democracy at the ballot box is a fundamental right. it's a right we should want to protect and it shouldn't become a political football at the time when voters on both sides of the aisle have doubts about the integrity with polarizing rhetoric and history it is not helpful. i'm eager to hear from the congressman owens about what he thinks about the comparisons of the voter id requirements to the system of legalized oppression in which he grew up. there's a lot of falsehood's being peddled about the new georgia law when president biden repeatedly said that georgia and the voting hours early the post gave him for pinocchio's and its fact check.
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they were shocked that biden kept repeating the same claims and it goes to show the claims about georgia are not about truth, they are about politics. and it goes beyond politics. the concerted efforts of liberals and allies to mislead about the georgia voting law have had terrible effects on georgia it self. there is an organized campaign that started to make big business to punish the people of georgia for the political choice. when you make political comments and it hurts people's pocketbooks, there ought to be something for everybody to be offended by, most infamously major league baseball moved the all-star game from atlanta, a move that is likely to cause the city's economy 100 million jobs, and that is affecting the income
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of georgians and probably some jobs in georgia. after activists took a break from the donors to get him fired for his work as a citizen legislator. when partisans and companies collude to ruin the livelihood of their opponents, there is a term for that. it's economic terrorism. the american people don't like this. a recent npr poll asked whether people support or oppose professional sports using their public role, position and events to influence politics. 55% opposed it and only 40% opposed it. on the other hand, the american people do like securing elections. it showed 77% of the american support voter id laws including
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74% of the independents. 66% to support the voter id for absentee ballots. 80% agree states need no excuse voting 93% say the voter registration role should be accurately maintained. there's something wrong when somebody dies that they ought to be removed from the voting role. in 2021 i'm not sure that apple pie would do as well as the common sense election integrity. i can tell you the people of iowa -- we passed laws that do just that. i have a statement for the record from our secondary state explaining how we work to make
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election laws easy and honest. this showed why they are necessary. we will be hearing from friends that voter fraud is so rare we don't need to take steps to prevent it but in iowa in the second district the representative won a race last fall and every vote counts in iowa which means they better be legitimate in fact during the election we find numerous instances of double voting. it's not a big number, but it does happen. and with congressional races being decided by only six votes, it obviously matters. at the same time, i want to be clear there is no evidence of anyone being unable to vote in
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iowa due to the voting security provisions. all this talk about the importance of voting for democrats is less than amusing. speaker pelosi tried to use the power of the majority to through doctor miller out of the house second district in iowa even though her election was fully certified, fully certified by a committee of three republicans and two elected democrats. her opponent didn't want to admit she lost but she skipped courts and the democrats super lawyer, who by the way is facing sanctions in texas tried to change the results of the house instead. when people will stop at nothing to win races it's more important than ever that the law be secured. sadly, my friends on the other side seemed to disagree. elections and voting legislation that's been proposed in congress
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will take away the ability of the states to establish voting rules. it's bad for the integrity and voter participation. i hope to hear from the president pro tem jones about what really happened in georgia, not the made-for-tv headlines about jim crow 2021, but a sensible fair comments and severed that they made to increase voter confidence in. basic claims of the voter suppression are just as corrosive towards the democracy as baseless claims of fraud and we heard too much about that from last november. we should all be committed to making new elections to maintain
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the confidence of the voters and when i hear about voter suppression lost with more votes than anybody and the winner one by any and you're telling me about voter suppression the way people turnout, give me a break. >> we are talking about what happened since then and state legislators across the country. since 2014 senator lee he has led the effort in the hearing. he may not be able to question witnesses but he is asked to make opening remarks and i will extend the same courtesy. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i do appreciate the courtesy. i think it is excellent that you
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are holding this hearing and it is the greatest crisis. and a democratic lieutenant governor, every vote counts and we make sure they do. people in my state look at what happened and they cannot understand what is happening in the 21st century. the 2020 election should be a great source of pride. we suffered through a deadly pandemic and even more voted in 2020 than any time in history, both republicans and democrats. celebrating the significant achievement, the former president mounted a campaign on misinformation, spreading lies to the defeat.
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and as this led directly to the violent assault on the nation's capital and took the lives of five americans. i was proud when the republicans and democrats in congress took together amidst the broken glass and ransacked offices to reject the former president's big lie. i was proud to cross the party lines to certify one of the most secure elections in history and when republicans and democrats came together again, days later for the inauguration of president biden, america sent a powerful message to the world. neither a deadly pandemic nor a violent insurrection could defeat the american system of self-government. that was just 19 days ago. capitalizing that resulted in the highest voter turnout in over a century, dozens of states have moved for it to restrict
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access to the ballot. as of march, more than 360 bills have been introduced in the state legislatures to make voting harder it should be harder to cheat which of course falsely implies voter fraud was a widespread problem. did we not just go through and election were there was virtually no evidence of voter fraud and by the courts and that's the conclusion they came to. did we not reject a violent attempt to overturn the election based on the false claim that it was stolen to fraud? i realize memories may be short, but the wave of the voter suppression law is premised on a little bit more than the big lie with a slap paint job. if you rejected the lie then you
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should oppose these efforts today. we should easily agree that when any voter of any party disenfranchises the democracies deprived of the foundational right to vote and it's exactly why the 1965 voting rights act, which helps the federal government prevent the voter disenfranchisement has been bipartisan. 1965 to 2006 repeatedly reauthorized the voting rights act of bipartisan basis. including 2006 by the vote of 98-0. among those voting yes in 2006 for the ranking member grassley, senator graham, senator cornyn, the reason it's been a bipartisan bill is it is
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pro-democracy, not pro- republican or pro- democrat. so i hope that we will increase support for the already bipartisan john lewis for the ad right to advance today. the government powers under the voting rights act. with my dear and close friend, the hero to many called the heart and soul of the voting rights act no administration of either party had the necessary tools to prevent states from enacting changes making voting more difficult for americans. ..
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>> that day we put aside our differences much bigger than political. in the months ahead i hope we can answer to defend our sacred right to vote against democracy its name. thank you. >> thank you senator durbin and senator grassley for holding this hearing today. this is an important topic. i don't think we do justice to this topic by entitling this jim crow 2021.
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instead of that process it looks like today's hearing is just performance art in order to enhance a false narrative how far we have come in this country. think goodness with minority voting rights participation. the right to cast a ballot is the cornerstone of our democracy. the process by which the will of the people is heard and turned into action. the legitimacy of the laws is the consent of the governed by the public officials at the ballot box. i believe our standards should be we should make it easier to vote legally in america. but at the same time make it harder to vote illegally. sadly the right to vote was denied to a generation of
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americans based slowly on gender or race this type of discrimination stands against the founding principles of our country. i hope i can speak on behalf of everyone in this room when i say we need more americans to participate in our democracy, not fewer. in texas 2020 we had a historic turnout of registered voters. sixty-six of all ethnicities. just as americans have a right to have their voices heard congress has a responsibility to make sure those elections are fair and free. without fair and free elections we don't preserve the core constitutional right of the people to make their voices heard at the ballot box. expanding for access does not have to come at the expense on - - at the expense of common sense guardrails to protect
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the integrity of the ballot. for everyone person who votes or is disqualified that disqualifies a vote of the legal voters disparaging those same common sense protections like voter identification like jim crow 2021, is false and dangerously so. our founders understood power lies in the hands of the people. and government takes its power away from the state legislators it seizes power from the people of those states to hold elected officials responsible. this is very important because the founders gave us a roadmap. as to the power residing to hold the state legislators accountable. article one section four gives the states the power to regulate, the time and place
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and manner of holding elections. congress may make or alter such regulations except for the place of senators. the states are to chart their own course subject to guardrails that were necessary congress can provide additional guidance that cannot hijack the process entirely. nowhere in the constitution does it empower the federal government to usurp the role of the states in holding elections. nowhere does the congress have the authority in the enumerated powers as reflected in article one, section eight of the constitution. in a recent gerrymandering case chief justice roberts issued to the state legislators check and balance by federal congress. through hr one congress is not acting as a check but a
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hijacker to take over constitutional authority from the states as a sole arbiter how the election is run in vermont or chicago. this past election we had the highest turnout ever in a presidential election. according to exit polls, the number or percentage of americans who cast a ballot is roughly the same as a percentage of the african-american population in america. i am encouraged by this trend of more people voting and hope it continues we should have this hearing and look at appropriate bipartisan solutions to improve voter access. using rhetoric to describe access voting laws like the one in georgia is misleading. is not constructive. it undermines public trust
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with congress and the election system. as we have learned the georgia law comports with the existing laws of many democrat one states and reflects the safeguards by the carter baker commission. not to say there's not more work to be done but it is important to temper the rhetoric to understand the specifics we talk about rather than jumping headfirst into this debate with a rush to judgment. the georgia provision requires free id card to receive an absentee ballot. that's nearly identical to the provision of the 2002 bill supported by senator biden in the current chairman of the committee. help america vote act would have required everyone voting to provide a copy of a photo
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id. if they don't have one they could get one or provide a paycheck government document or utility bill. they could do it for free. this is a radical proposition that identification coupled with free id cards is a radical restriction on voting. it doesn't hold up. to the contrary to preserve the right of people to vote and for their vote to count equally in a free and fair election and this helps to inspire public confidence at the same time. the carter baker commission, jimmy carter and james baker to preserve the integrity of our elections reach the same conclusion. the electoral system cannot inspire public's safeguards if we cannot detect fraud or confirm the identity of
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voters. photo ids are needed to board an airplane, interest federal building, operate a motor vehicle, cash a check, by alcohol and pick up will call tickets that major league baseball games. i support efforts to expand voter access that can interfere with the integrity of our elections this is the next an opportunity to discuss that and expand access for eligible voters i appreciate the chairman and ranking member holding this hearing. not so much the title but the subject matter is important i'm eager to hear more from today's witnesses to make today we welcome to members of congress to testify the reverend warnock from georgia and from the fourth district of utah in addition representing the state of georgia senator warnock has senior pastor of ebenezer
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baptist church in atlanta were late colleague senator lewis on - - congressman lewis was a member. please proceed with your statement. >> thank you chairman durbin and members of the committee for inviting me here today. i'm especially glad to join these distinguished witnesses. mr. chairman, i come here today to stress the critical need for the federal government to act urgently to protect the sacred right to vote. america is a land where possibility is born of democracy. our vote is our voice to help determine the direction of our country and our own destiny within it. record numbers of georgians use their voices and voted in
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the last election. and in response to the swell and democratic participation, politicians at the state legislature responded not in celebration that retaliation. they could've gotten busy having not seeing the outcome that they wanted or changing their message or adjusting their policy, instead they were changing the rules as if the democracy belongs to them and not the people. we have seen voter suppression bills since the election of november and january all across this country. 360 voter suppression bills and 47 states and 100 bills since i highlighted the issue on the senate floor one month
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ago. as of today five of these bills including my own state of georgia has been signed into law. these efforts very how they suppress voting. some new laws like in georgia make it harder to vote by mail. some make lines even longer. part of the cast of a provisional vote. the new login state politicians who refused to acknowledge president biden's lawful and decisive victory to override local election officials. we can dissect these bills if analyzing them piece by piece makes them are rational. it only obscures the
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unmistakable picture. this is a full-fledged assault on voting rights unlike anything we have seen since the era of jim crow. for all their differences of how they suppress the vote, what these bills share they are predicated on the big lie the outcome of the last election were the result of fraud. or at least the presidential election those that want and are okay with outcome with their lust for power willing to sacrifice our democracy by using the big lie as a pretext for their aim some people don't want some people to vote to bc we've seen these tactics aimed at the same communities they are part of a long and shameful history in georgia and throughout the nation.
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that history is filled with moments of hope and promise when the nation comes together and recognition that preserving our democracy is absolutely essential voting rights are preservative of all other rights. just 15 years ago the united states congress reauthorized the voting rights act of 1965 under a republican president. with a bipartisan vote in the senate 98 / zero. at the time our colleague mitch mcconnell praise the passage declaring a lot to make a difference for all of america. many members of this committee including the chair, and the ranking member enthusiastically voted in favor of it. that was 2006. why shouldn't voting rights legislation be just as bipartisan now in 2021 and as
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it was and 2006? voting rights should always be bipartisan. it's not the difference between right and left but right and wrong. many argue the senate is dysfunctional and incapable to be in a capable manner we can refute these claims coming together that is democrats or republicans but supporters of democracy itself to pass before the people and the john lewis voting rights act this would turn the tide against voter level suppression proposals all across the country these pieces of legislation from expand ballots for every citizen democrats independence because strengthening our democracy does not benefit one party
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over another. instead democracy reform benefits all of us by ensuring our government is of the people, by the people and for the people. john lewis was my parishioner. is honored on many occasions to stand with him as we took people to vote after church at ebenezer. he understood our democracy transcends all else and nearly died on the edmund pettis bridge to defend it. today are country faces the most widespread assault on voting rights since that era the four most powerful words of the democracy are the people have spoken the most sacred action the senate can take is to protect the right of the people like it did in 1965 as we move forward in this discussion i asked myself on many
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occasions, what would have happened if we did not pass federal legislation with the covenant of our democracy in 1965? where were georgia be? how would it prosper on the other side of the segregationist curtain? if we had not acted in 1965 what would the country look like? surely i would not be sitting here on the 11th black senator in the history of our country and the first black senator in georgia. maybe that's the point. it concerns me some people don't hear the irony in their statements that we must protect minority rights while refusing to protect minority rights in society. we've got to act. history is watching us. children are counting on us. we must pass federal voting rights legislation no matter
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what. >> senator grassley please introduce your guest. >> it is a great pleasure and as a outstanding nfl football player. it's my pleasure to introduce congressman owens that represents the great state of utah along with our colleagues senator lee and romney congressman owens is a new addition to the house. >> thank you chairman and ranking member grassley members of the committee for the invitation to join you today at this hearing. my story begins with my great-great-grandfather who came in the belly of the slave shift the slave ship and sold to the burgess plantation. he understood on - - escaped in the underground railroad.
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purchasing farmland paid off in two years. my grandfather served in world war i and a respected and successful farmer raising 12 children all graduated from college. stationed in the philippines in world war ii. returning home to texas actual jim crow laws denied him a postgraduate education. raised in a generation to use this as motivation he received his phd at ohio state with a successful career as a newer and professor and researcher. i grew up in the era of actual legalized institutional racism in tallahassee florida. in the sixties when the days of the kkk jim crow and segregation. my first experience with white america was at 16. at 18 was a black athlete receiving a scholarship now in
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the fourth district in u.s. congress. is it today before you as someone has lived the american dream as millions of other americans from all races and every background that all men and women are created equal. in the statement every american should have equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. but someone who has experienced jim crow laws i want to set the record straight on the next regarding the georgia state law. while any comparison between this law and jim crow is outrageous. this is examples of my own life of what jim crow laws look like. the age of 12 my father allowed me to participate in a demonstration with college students at a segregated theater because of our color we cannot enter. only 50 years later did i learn my father parked across
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the street to make sure i was safe. in seventh grade we never received new books but books from the all-white school across town. at service stations they were white men only restrooms and the filthy one in the back for black americans designated as colored. in addition jim crow laws like the poll tax and property tax and violence and intimidation at the polls need it nearly impossible to vote the section of the georgia law that's brought so much outrage from the left simply requires any person applying for an absentee ballot to include evidence of a government issued id on their application. if a voter does not have a drivers license or id card they can use a utility bill. bank statement. government check. paycheck. any other government document that shows the name of the voter. they cannot produce this form of id they can still vote a
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provisional ballot. by the way 97 percent of georgia voters already have a government issued id. what i find offensive is the narrative from the left like people are not smart enough or educated enough or to have enough education to do it every other culture and race does, get an id. true racism is this. the projection of the democratic party on my proud race this south bigotry of low expectations. president biden said this is jim crow on steroids. with all the respect mr. president. you know better it is disgusting to have actual violent suppression and we grew up in with the state law and only asset people show their id. this type of fear mongering i expected in the sixties. not today. by the way the poll test would
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initiate by the democratic party. intimidation of black americans by the kkk initiated by the democratic party. jim crow that i grew up in in the south and segregation initiated by the democratic party. the bigotry of low expectation, not italians or asians or polish or jewish but only black americans, is being done by the democratic party. where black misery thrives and is prevalent and lack of education and jobs and high crime. defunding police is all done from the democratic party. by increasing illegal votes and not giving voice to those legal of black americans who see and wake up today is the tragedy of this process. we see 18 percent of black men turn away from the democratic party because they see their
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vote can count. the black women percentage do the same a record number of hispanics and asians doing the same. all americans expect fairness, security and to walk away from the poll booth knowing that if we did not win we will work harder next time to make sure our message resonates. but you call this jim crow 2021 is an insult, my friends. if you never lived jim crow. we are not in jim crow. for black americans to go out every single day to vote the way we should is a right we should have in which we have no way to do any of the above. thank you very much. >> we will turn to the panel of witnesses.
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think the members for attending we will come five members on the right to vote. introduce the majority witnesses then ask senator grassley to do the same. the first witnesses professor anderson charles professor of african-american studies chair of african-american studies at emory university in atlanta. her research focuses on public policy in the intersection of race and justice and equality in the united states. the author of multiple books including white rage and one person no vote. she is well known and the president director of council of the legal defense education fund the organization founded by thurgood marshall leading some of the most significant
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legal battles racial justice and equality. she first joined in 1988 took over the counselor in 2013 the honorable stacy abrams joining us from atlanta served 11 years in the georgia house of representatives was seven years as democratic leader. 2018 the first black woman to be the gubernatorial nominee. after witnessing voter suppression efforts during the 2018 elections she launched fair fight to protect the voting rights of georgians and other americans. senator grassley please introduce your witnesses. >> i will introduce beaker pro tem and then senator kind will introduce secretary gardner. >> is my pleasure to introduce miss jones. and her nearly 20 years in office she has distinguished herself as an advocate for
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changing lives and increasing economic opportunity through improved public education and government that responds to the people. elected by her peers to serve as the highest elected woman in the general assembly in 2010 after serving as majority whip. she had authored various bills with local control and accountability and transparency also reforming georgia's k-12 education. speaker jones lives in georgia with her husband and a graduate of the university of georgia with an mba from georgia state. a businesswoman and mother of four. we think her for appearing today. >> i'm pleased to introduce new hampshire secretary of state bill gardner the longest-serving secretary of state in the country. first elected to serve the people in new hampshire 1976. one year before i was born and senator grassley doesn't even want to know how many years
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before we were board. he has been serving the people so well i would point out secretary gardner is a democrat. i am a republican. i'm sure there are things we don't agree on but i have invited him to appear because this should not be a partisan issue free and fair elections are an american issue. that is why there is bipartisan opposition to the bills to federalize the state -based system. he is well-positioned to talk about these problems how that bill would be catholic on the elections and more fundamentally the real problem of the fact the legislation is a takeover of the federal election system. thank you for being willing to testify that the longest-serving secretary of state in america has a lot to say we should probably listen to before we make radical changes to the state -based
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system. >> thank you senator koch and the procedure today we will swear in the witnesses. each has five minutes to provide opening statements in each senator will have five minutes please try to stay within your allotted time. like to ask the witnesses and remote status please stand in place to be sworn in. raise your right hand. is a testimony will give the truth the whole truth so help you god? >> i will assume all witnesses answered in the affirmative. thank you. professor anderson please proceed with your opening statement. >> thank you for this opportunity to speak with you with a history of voting rights i will focus on three key things that echo powerful
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in the landscape. one is the target. number two the language for the amendment and number three the disenfranchised with election integrity. in 1890 during the rise of jim crow the legislator the sole reason the mississippi legislature revise the constitution to eliminate from politics. similarly the representative rush to champion a bill in the legislature that would cut four fifths of the negro voters in the state i call bureaucratic violence because as attacks and undermining african-american voting rights and citizenship rights while providing this legitimacy that physical violence that it cannot bring with the omnibus disenfranchisement program in
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mississippi to modify throughout the south including the poll tax. the grandfather clause and other barriers to the ballot box. not surprising that participation dropped precipitously. in 81980 black voter turnout was 51 percent. by 1912 a few years after the constitution to include the poll tax and the grandfather clause black voter turnout dropped at 1 percent. the states were able to destroy black voter participation by violating the spirit and the intent of the 15h amendment while adhering to the letter of the constitution they did so by doing language by using the legacy of slavery as a proxy. the poll tax for example requires all voters to cast a ballot but it did so with the
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endemic poverty with centuries of unsafe labor and then sharecropping. but because of the property paying in the 1900 the equivalent of $239 in 2022 vote. similarly the liberty test that requires voter to read a section of the constitution explores the consequences to deny education to the enslaved for hundreds of years. after the civil war grossly underfunded. the race neutral clause worked us supreme court ruled in the 1890 williams that the poll tax and literacy test did not violate the 15th amendment because it applies to everyone who wanted to vote. that decision ignored that not
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everyone has to do with the legacy of having their ancestors enslaved for centuries. the jim crow law was that by 1940 only 3 percent of those eligible african-americans in the south are registered to vote is justified millions of americans citizens from the ballot box claiming election fraud in protecting democracy they knew that was not the case the lives of voter fraud serving the same function today as it did during the rise of jim crow it put fear in a segment of the population that democracy is in peril for those laws that target black voters with race neutral language in the 21st century indiana implemented the first voter id law and the nation. the secretary of the state we called in 2001 through 2002
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election integrity was a huge issue. a fear of votes being stolen if that didn't turn out to be true the fear was still there. in 2021 as georgia passed they are lost a representative powell admitted widespread voter fraud was not found. it's just in people's minds that there was. that fictional loch ness monster led republican legislators to propose 361 voter restriction bills about those proposed voter fraud if left unchecked the onslaught of bureaucratic violence would make the mississippi plan pale by comparison. thank you. >> thank you doctor anderson. secretary of state bill gardner is next. >> thank you mr. chairman, ranking member, members of the
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committee. i appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today about a critically important issue that impacts all of us. the integrity of our elections and the foundation of our free society. while i certainly support efforts of individual states to improve their own elections , the states have long been testing grounds for innovation to enhancing and protecting the most fundamental right of the citizens in this country of our right to vote. with that said, i'm deeply troubled and concerned about the direction some in congress would take the states in terms of the conduct with elections. and unjustified federal intrusion into the election process of the individual states will damage voter confidence, diminish the importance of election day, and result in lower voter
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turnout. we only need to look at the history of the national voter registration act of 1993 commonly called the motor voter law. to see the federal involvement in the election process, does not render the promised results. when this was enacted by congress come it was believed many more united states citizens would be able to vote. millions of dollars were spent by the states to comply. they completely change the voter registration process in the states. in contrast new hampshire maintained and exemption due to having election day registration at the polling place. and as a result as far as
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voter turnout voting age population surged to the top tier of voter turnout among the states. and has consistently maintained its position in the top three states for the past four presidential elections. since the year 2000 new hampshire has double-digit percentage points higher than the national average. again using voting age population. the past voter turnout shots illustrate these trends and the very important to take a close look at those charts. in a one-size-fits-all federal approach, legislation known as for the people act would trample new hampshire state constitution which requires all votes to be received and
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counted and the results publicly announced on the day of the election. and permits absentee ballots to be used only by voters who will be absent on election day or who have a disability preventing the voter from attending the polling place. the election process in new hampshire is relatively simple. the massive federal legislation contemplated by congress will overcomplicate our election system. at tremendous financial cost to negate conditions and procedures that have served new hampshire voters well. some for over 200 years. i believe the shots i have provided, based on facts are self-explanatory. and why i believe this
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legislation of hr one or s1, will hurt voter participation in the states. especially in my state of new hampshire. >> thank you mr. gardner. the next witness. >> good morning chairman durbin and ranking member grassley and members of the committee. i am the president and direct counsel of the naacp of the legal defense fund thank you for the opportunity to testify before you this morning. since the founding a leader in the struggle to advance voting rights for black voters representing mlk junior and the marchers in selma alabama litigating cases interpreting the scope of the voting rights
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act over decades we continue to litigate with communities in the south to strengthen and protect the ability of black citizens to participate in the political process free of discrimination. we monitor primary elections for non- partisan prepare to vote initiative and a founding member of a nonpartisan hotline which is now administered by the committee for civil rights under law. last year we partnered with lebron james to recruit young poll workers for the 2020 election so polling places could remain open in black communities despite the pandemic and 40000 new poll workers were recruited as a part of the effort. our experience outlines in detail that contrary to numerous news reports the 2020 election did not go smoothly. voters overcame a litany of
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barriers and obstacles with determination and resilience to produce the highest turnout ever recorded in a presidential election and did so during a nationwide pandemic. throughout the spring and summer of 2020 we were involved in numerous lawsuits and efforts challenging faith and voting options for those voters during the pandemic in texas louisiana alabama and south carolina. results of lawsuits change identification policies and curbside voting access to significantly increase voter protection and accessibility. voters stood four hours to cast a ballot during the primary and general elections. up to nine hours. the determination was extraordinary. one elderly african-american woman fainted she refused to get into an ambulance insisting she would stay in
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cast her ballot. polling place closures created confusion. robo calls attacking black and latino voters encourage them to vote on wednesday rather than tuesday november 3rd election the civil rights protection hotline had over 30000 calls from voters facing obstacles in the general election. with the most disturbing features voter intimidation at levels not seen for decades was an alarming feature. during early voting numerous floridians received e-mails that are proud boys would come after voters who do not cast their ballot for the republican presidential candidate. as voter suppression continued after election day encouraged by the former president michigan arizona pennsylvania and more participated in a campaign to disrupt accounting and the certification of the
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ballots cast in those states the violence in the capital was the result of a concerted effort to undermine the election and overturn the results state lawmakers and dozens of states have unleashed a wave of laws as of march 24 state legislatures have introduced 361 bills with restricted provisions in 47 states. georgia enacted a law to criminalize the provision of water to voters standing in line. arkansas and florida are following suit a bill in south carolina would prohibit voter participation efforts david by black churches by outlining early voting on sundays. litigation is the principal tool available to challenge voter suppression laws since the supreme court ended the preclearance division in shelby county in 2013. but litigation cannot really
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the challenge we are facing it is slow and expensive the average length is between two and five years if thousands if not millions of voters are disenfranchised. this is not a model that can be sustained in a healthy democracy we need congress to act. the framers of the 15th amendment gave congress explicit power to enforce the guarantee of people protection against voting demonstrate on - - discrimination based on race. for 100 years after the ratification until the passage of the voting rights act, congress abdicated its obligation to use this power as black people were systematically disenfranchised with a literacy test. now congress to must once again uses power that is guaranteed to black americans my full testimony has been submitted and provides greater
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detail and source material that i hope will aid the committee in its deliberations. thank you. >> thank you very much we now have president jones. >> thank you chairman and urban and ranking member grassley and distinguish members of the senate judiciary committee when inviting me to testify before today's committee hearing. i come before you as a proud georgian and member of the georgia general assembly speaking is pro tem in the house. we are making it easier to vote and harder to cheat in sharing voter accessibility, transparency and integrity. in 2021 we held primary and general elections utilizing a new statewide election system during the first modern worldwide pandemic with record turnout.
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all these together with changes of voter preferences and choices stressed the election system. the obligation was to initiate a comprehensive review to assure the state citizens have the ability to vote easily in a timely manner and with confidence. strengthening the election process is not new through 2021. 2003 through 2020 cents republicans had control 59 elections bills were signed into law including at least one bill each every year. through 2019 legislation addressed concerns primarily expressed by democrats after the 2018 general election including a process to secure provisional ballots to lincoln the period of nine years before an active voters are removed from the rules. senate bill 202 is a forward facing approach to elections
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implementing measures to increase voter accessibility and fairness. please allow me to breakdown the key components. for the very first time election superintendent shall continue processing, counting and tabulating ballots until such activities are completed on election day to prevent the untimely release of returns. makes clear the business of elections is to be run and funded by the government not tech millionaires and partisan allies. for the first time georgia law now requires two saturdays instead of one and two optional sundaes of early voting. senate bill 202 creates more uniformity of early voting 159 counties. now 134 of georgia's 159 counties will offer more in person voting hours than ever before. georgia's total amount of
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between 17 and 18 days of early voting is more than delaware, dc, new mexico, hawaii, massachusetts, w york, oregon and wisconsin. for the first time, start and end dates for absentee ballots are more logically coincide with in person early voting and practices of other states. this change will increase the likelihood of voter successfully can cast an absentee ballot. 90 percent of absentee ballot request in 2020 made greater than ten days before the election successfully voted. in contrast only 50 percent made fewer than ten days before the election were successfully voted. this provision increases successful voting. certainly the legislation does not prohibit poll workers from giving people water in line or them bringing their own food
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and water as has been a long practice. in fact the build is the opposite. it prohibits offering anything of value within 150 feet of a polling place except water offered by election officials. because in 2018 and 2020 activist and candidates appearing on the ballot aggressively passed out water and food, gift cards, some with logos at polling locations while voters stood in line. practice commonly referred to and violates the spirit of free elections. most states have a prohibition of activities considered to be campaigning in a protected space ranging from 30 feet in virginia 100 feet in california or 150 feet in oklahoma. i would be remiss if i did not note the outrage i have seen the last few weeks.
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sturgeon makes the no excuse absentee voting more secure states like connecticut, delaware, massachus new hampshire and new york have no excuse absentee voting their shame is there is to bear not georgia. also signature matching provide applications has been criticized by democrats and republicans in 2020 and replaced it with objective forms of identification. let me be clear georgia do not eliminate no excuse absentee voting. with these misleading soundbites lead people away from the facts because they don't support what many are hearing or seeing about the election law. it's plain wrong. members of the committee i look forward to answering your questions and setting the
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record straight on how we make it easier to vote, harder to cheat to ensure every legal vote counts. thank you. >> sorry if i get your title wrong when i introduced you i think i elevated you to president. but thank you very much for your testimony. we now have stacy abrams. >> thank you chairman durbin ranking member grassley members of the committee. to make compensation regarding the lewis voting act to occur as a backdrop of jim crow style voter suppression measures through state legislatures grounded of pride and insecurity in the 2020 election as a necessary reminder post reconstruction laws known as jim crow targeted black voters never excluded eligible citizens by race these behaviors limit
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access. and hundreds of bills sending a significant number that was made possible by the supreme court vetting of the supreme court act of the shelby county decision. that decision was a history of voting discrimination to put restrictions and barriers to participation the state level anti- voting laws across the country in 2021 doesn't place the urgent need with that preclearance formula into the modern era for reinstate voting practices and to strengthen and protect voting rights wherever suppression occurs. throughout history georgia has been among the worst including malicious prosecution of lawful absentee ballots in the black voters intimidated in
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2015 the department of justice objected to 170 discriminatory voting changes at the state and local level. after shelby removed preclearance analysis showed black voters were 20 percent more likely than white voters do not vote due to paul closures with an estimated 34000 through 85000 voters being unable to cast ballots in 2018 alone after 214 closures. this would have been examined by a federal court awarded by the doj if they were discriminatory before being put into effect. georgia voters now have a deleterious effect on the elections which relies on misinformation, falsehoods and false analysis to restrict access with communities of color and those embedded in
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the lot i would highlight only a few they are more likely than white voters to vote by mail for the first time in the last two election cycles. suddenly it shortens the time. to request the absentee ballot application and a new restrictive id requirement to have an effect on old were older voters those of color and black in particular they are more likely than white voters to stand in long lines including the eight hours that occurred june 2020. sp2 to criminalize as a volunteer handing a bottle of water or food while standing in line these eight laws target voters of color by restricting access to asian and pacific islander native americans. in texas and michigan each restrict the voting rights with people of color the
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fundamental rights with the political ambition and prejudices of state actors to maintain power and that is that the appropriate remedy the advancement act with the protection of democracy. the testing voting rights sense of voting rights act of 1965 while each may have likely declared loyalty the first obligation of the fundamental dangers of democracy which must be aggressively nonpartisan. actions taken force participation or discourage engagement antithetical should be condemned. set of advocating for voting rights not to have a success for either party but there debate among americans of good
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will and profound hope we will honor the legacy of my late friend john lewis and those who walked in the fight for a more perfect union by enacting critical legislation into law. thank you for taking questions i urge you to strengthen our democracy. >> thank you ms. abrams. jim crow at its worst was more violent than the situation we face today. i don't want to recount all of the horrors of that bigotry and racism that occurred in that era. but the bottom line question we are addressing in this hearing is whether there is a designer intent and legislation considered and passed in many states including georgia, to limit or restrict the right to vote of minority populations with the intent of having the influence of an outcome in the election. it goes without saying there is a difference in the
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witnesses of who appear before the committee. i would like to ask stacy abrams the speaker pro tem said the new georgia law made it easier to vote. you recounted a few instances but can you think of elements of the law that do the opposite? >> first it is a falsity it isn't expansion of rights. in the state of georgia 60 percent live in counties that already had two saturdays of early voting. what changed now it changes the ranks and that is a good thing but at the same time they change the ranks they reduce mandatory dates eliminated weeks of early voting during federal runoff. federal runoffs were predicated to eliminate access
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for african-americans and then to a mandatory weekend voting day. another example is the falsity to stand and hours for voting yes it codified you can vote between nine and five but for 70 percent of georgians early voting was 7:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. that actually eliminates hours of voting only a short period of time. that is a misunderstanding is still misunderstood by the "washington post" early voting hours are now optional and not mandatory. 70 percent of georgians experience longer voting hours and hours shortened hours there is a narrative that says the use of a social security number allows for returning your absentee ballot. you cannot apply for the
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absentee ballot with a social security number you must have a form of identification that is unavailable to currently 200,000 georgians. those are just a few of the issues i would dress the criminalization of handing the water. we have to be clear and the state of georgia eight our lines for communities of color is not unusual. we see between four and eight hour long people do not come prepared to stand in line for the whole business day they don't bring food and then to ignore the fact the poll workers were inside the building do not have the time to come out and handout refreshments because they are busy processing the voters who have been underserved those are a few examples why this bill is deleterious in effect and malicious in intent. >> ms. jones i would like to ask you to respond to the
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question. there was an allegation made either former president of the united states relating to the voting in the state of georgia. he went so far in a recorded conversation to say 5000 dead people voted. he replied only two that they could find and it was to too many. but can you comment on the 2020 election? was there voter fraud as president trump alleged? >> i am here to discuss senate bill 202 not to go over the 2018 election in which my former colleague stacy abrams never conceded. no or am i here to relegate 2020. i can say the bill does increase accessibility for seven counties with two saturdays of voting. . . . . thn
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is i'm trying to understand the logic behind new voting laws which would give less time to request absentee ballots, strict new id requirements for absentee ballots, illegal for election officials to mail out absentee ballots and the like. in light of the 2020 election, i believe mr. rothman's burgers spoke the truth, and there certainly is no evidence to suggest otherwise when he suggested the election in 2020 following the old law was absent
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any major voting fraud and should not be questioned in terms of results. so, if the premise was 2020 was sound, why the changes that restricted to certain practices that created opportunities for people to vote in georgia? >> thank you, chairman durbin for the question. since 2003, 59 election and the phils have been passed by the georgia general assembly, at least once every year. after the 2018 elections, we had an elections bill that addressed some of the concerns expressed by democrats. in this bill, after a worldwide pandemic record turnout, a new election system once again we are coming back to address concerns expressed by democrats and republicans. the bill absolutely will reduce the lines and it will make clear that there has to be proper
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notice so the voters can know if a precinct has changed, it has to require notice at the old precinct location with a 4-foot by 4-foot sign. also at the new location. there are many provisions, but let me mention specifically with your regards about shortening the absentee hours. as recommended by the association of county commissioners, which is a bipartisan group, and the u.s. postal service, our training to request national absentee ballot allows someone to request the friday before the regular election, which almost certainly meant they would have an unsuccessful, so this moves it back to ten days which is more expensive, i will admit, 11 days than what the u.s. postal service recommended which was 14 days. but i do believe that it would result in more successful absentee ballot casts regardless
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of whether one lives anywhere in the state and whether they are a democrat or republican. >> i would say in conclusion, under the new law, giving less time to request absentee ballots and shutting down the number of drop boxes from 94-23 cannot make it easier to vote or create more opportunity. i think the opposite is the case. senator grassley? >> speaker jones, did you look at any other states for guidance or inspirations and the provisions of sb 302? >> yes, sir, we most certainly did. we wanted to make sure that although our voting system is more expensive than many in the country particularly in the northeast, we wanted to make sure that any changes that we made were mainstream, common
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sense and made it easier, more fair, more transparent and more secure for a voter regardless of their geography or whichever party they tended to vote for, and i do believe this bill does that. like most states in the union, we do have a voter id, which is common sense regulation and requires to pick up a child from daycare or a flight to go visit grandmother. it's to cash a check, and i think the bigger issue for the 3% who do not currently have either a drivers license or free, and i emphasize free voter id, i am most concerned about their ability to participate in the 21st modern century and society as a whole. that is perhaps where we should give our efforts to is to not undermine the security of elections for absentee ballots,
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but rather help the few that don't have one to obtain one. thank you, sir. >> can you tell me what sb 202 does to reduce the lines and if it has ten examples you could give, give me just one or two. >> yes, sir. thank you. because particularly in the june primary, when we had a brand-new election systems, the poll workers were learning how to utilize machines and we did have some long lines in some areas of the state. they were primarily in counties that were democrat run. but regardless of that, what we did is we have required that at any single point in time in the next general election there is a line of one hour or longer and then asked following subsequent
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general election, the election superintendent for the county must each either slip add machines, coworkers or all of the three. >> i would like to ask secretary gardner, iowa, new hampshire brag about first the caucus and one for primary. in fact, hr one or its state equivalent, s1, is passed, if so, what effect do you think that would have on the ability of the states to preserve the first in the nation status? >> senator, s1 would not specifically have an affect. however, i've made the statement that it could put the new
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hampshire primary in a perilous position, and i stand by that statement. >> okay. let me ask you one other question. your state has voting laws that are seen as restrictive, and as you've told us in your opening statement, it is consistent that it has some of the highest in the country. would you agree with me that voters turned to tend out more than when they have more confidence that the vote would be counted appropriately, and what effect has the voter id provision had on the turnout? >> absolutely. the trust and confidence voters have in the process is a huge boost to turnout. new hampshire had a voter id law for the first in the 2012
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presidential election and so six months ago that was the third presidential election that we had a voter id. we had in 2012 the highest turnout since 1960 in new hampshire. over 14% higher as a whole and higher than we had in over half a century among our own presidential elections. in 2012, the 2016 we even went higher than that, 14.5% higher than the country as a whole with the second presidential election using voter id. in 2020 it was the same. when voter id was going through the legislature, there were people saying that 10% of the
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population was not going to be able to vote. this would hurt certain groups more than it would hurt other groups. and there were pulse that nonprofits like pew research, public and came and testified in the hearings saying that it could be 11% decline and in our state it was just the absolute opposite. as i said, three presidential elections and averaging you have to get back half a century. so, those are the facts on that issue in new hampshire. >> thank you, mr. gardener. senator whitehouse, remote. >> as you know, i am inclined to ask why and i can't help but
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wonder why after the trump administration top election security official and georgia'ss own election official established for the integrity of the last election. the legislative body in the country pivots as if on command to file and move voter suppression bills. 361 of them by one count when you see group behavior it's often interesting to look for the motivation. you have the big lie that the election was stolen, which allows for skepticism to be brought against elections, even if it isn't founded. and at the same time, you have unpopular policies demanded by a republican donor that has every interest in building an electorate that will give the
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policies rather than giving up on their policies in order to attract voters. as our friend says, limiting voters serves us particularly when it is to make sure that some people aren't voting. and of course, the donor elites weapon of choice and we see the conservative party money groups already announced $39 million of spending campaigns to restrict voting rights at the state level and block the passage of the for the people act. and then going up to the same groups spent over $100 million in the money during just the 2018 election cycle. at the state level, we seem to particular groups very prominent. one the state policy network and number two, the legislative exchange council, the so-called
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ale. exxon severed its ties and it makes the cleanup attack by severing that is a pretty strong signal. so, alec has singled out representative jones calling her and alec legislator. alec is funded by coke industries. it's received millions of dollars from right-wing foundations like the charles g coke foundation, the feral freedom trust, the bradley foundation, and also through the identity laundering donors trust and donors capital fund. it's working now with the heritage foundation on a 24 million-dollar campaign to produce the model legislation for the state legislatures like georgians to adopt and these are the lobbyists and what they call crucial states. alec created a secret working
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group on these related matters by lisa mitchell, who many people will remember for her role backing trump's efforts to flip georgia's election results. so, alec has its hands all over this. there's also the georgia public policy center which is the local affiliate of the state policy network. representative jones as said i want to say how much i appreciate the georgia public policy foundation. we rely on the policy foundations research and work. they have been an invaluable resource to us. well, guess what, alec is an official associate organization of the state policy network with the georgia public policy center. and the sdm policy paid for dozens of think tanks to become members, so there's a lot of
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back and forth between the dark money group and the dark money state policy network. like alec, the state policy network is largely funded by the big corporations and right-wing foundations including the clock brothers, the bradley foundation, the ro foundation, the coors family, and of course the ubiquitous identity launderers, donors trust and donors capital fund. there are lots of other familiar names moving into the space. the heritage foundation, the koch dark funded groups, the heritage action for america and announced plans to spend 24 million on the effort to shake the voting laws and work at the block the people act. in march, heritage boasted the effort to strengthen georgia's election law and restore the voter confidence in the state including 600,000-dollar ad by digital advertising in the grassroots advocacy initiative
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for the investment of $1 million. at the same time we have the honest elections project. it has pledged tens of millions of dollars to the conservative election efforts. the project is a group that can use all of the anonymous funds given to its pre-existing judicial education project which was used to steer the bradley foundation grant into coordinated efforts that are chronicled elsewhere. to take up the voter suppression legislation and to congratulate the state for enacting sp 202 last month. last is true, the vote was made in the poll washers asked with
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finding suspicious activities involved on the voters and neighborhoods of color. like the other groups, finances are largely opaque coming through the donations via the donors trust as well as the bradley foundation and of course the state policy network. so, there is this complex interlocking network of billionaire right-wing dark money that i think tends to signal why they would have moved at once based on no actual evidence of fraud or dishonesty of the elections. >> is my time expired? >> i'm afraid it is. >> my apologies. my clock doesn't run when i'm remote and i will yield back my nonexistent remaining time. >> i appreciate your
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consistency. what would account for the elephant herd is apparently marching in one way. hr one i believe is supported by most every liberal group in the country. most of my democratic colleagues to support hr one. why? what motivates you and redistricting under your proposal you take redistricting away from the state elected officials and give it to some independent commission. what's that got to do with voting? that is about trying to change the states to be able to draw the new line based on population shift. hr one has a 6-1 match for the low dollar donations. what's that got to do with voting? nothing. it's got to do with political power to have the federal government subsidize campaigns favorable to you and the 6-1 match had been in place in my recent election, south carolina
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would have had over a billion dollars spent. the people of south carolina deserve better than that. i raised 110 and my opponent raised 132 with a 6-1 match and it had been about a billion dollars. i think that is cruel so hr one is not about righting the wrongs but it's about power. it's about trying to grab power and i can understand why people want to grab it. i don't understand people willingly sitting on the sidelines, and we are not. but we are here today talking about the voting process. you are sort of a legend in your part of the world. i think rightly so. it's my understanding that you oppose hr one and the senate equivalent. is that correct? >> yes. >> in 30 seconds or less, why? first of all we don't have any
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early voting in new hampshire. i can show you plenty of academic studies that show the opposite of that just because it makes the voting easier does not raise the turnout automatically. it is a day for everybody. it goes back all the way to the beginning, predated the federal constitution and it ends that day because every polling place the officer has two that evening read the cast for every candidate on the election and that is the end of it.
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it is just not allowed under our -- >> so you believe that it would be a power grab is that fair to say? by the federal government? >> yes. >> and the same thing with no fault absentee. >> it's the same thing. >> thank you very much. the carter baker commission looked at voter fraud and voting in 2008 and they found that there is no evidence of extensive fraud or multiple voting but the votes occur and could affect the outcome in many other findings. the absentee ballot remained the largest source of potential voter fraud. that's what the carter baker commission said, not me.
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for the candidates in the political party activists from handling absentee ballots. that is related so my question do you support voter identification laws? >> yes. >> they've had voter identification laws in fact every state requires some form of identification and it narrowed the set -- should be limited to the american citizens? >> do you support about what harvesting are you familiar with the term?
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>> i am familiar with how the term to describe a variety of efforts but for example the reservations where they are precluded from access to reach in a timely fashion it's appropriate to collect the ballot and retrieve them do you support it beyond? >> it depends on the situation and a variety of behaviors and each of the behaviors should be examined for the utility and for the veracity and to the extent they help the voters participate in a lawful manner they should be permitted. >> do you believe the republican majority and georgia house-senate, when they are making the changes to the state voting laws, do you think they
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are motivated by trying to suppress the african-american vote? >> i've seen it happen sometimes there's been other bills that are truly bipartisan in nature that luck -- >> that is the motivation. >> the motivation behind certain provisions are the direct result to the increased participation does the speaker of the house, the speaker pro tem jen jones is motivated by trying to limit the african-american voters in georgia? >> i believe there is racial animus that generated the bills. i wouldn't assume that racial
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animus is by every person. the result is that it exists and eliminates the right to vote regardless of a certain person if the bill is adhering to the ability than that is problematic and should be rejected. >> senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. thank you to the witnesses. i am just looking at the facts. i think we need to get the facts straight. in the 2020 election more than 160 milligan voted more than ever before. and in fact, the trump trumpadministration homeland sey official charged with protecting elections deemed the election the most secure in american history. is that correct, ms. abrams? >> that is correct. >> former attorney general barr stated there was no evidence of widespread fraud that could change the outcome of the
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election. is that right? >> that is also correct. >> so my problem is why do you think 361 bills have been introduced in 47 states that would restrict access to the polls when in fact the way things were running was working for the people of the country, they were voting by mail like never before, exercising the right to vote and they did it safely. why has this happened? >> with all due respect to the secretary of state, i would refer back to senator sheldon whitehouse we saw an increased participation from the communities that are unfortunate or not favorable. we are entitled to participation and what the law has done is in uniform fashion reduce
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entitlement participation. they do so by targeting behaviors that are specifically attributable to the communities that voted in opposition of republican values. that isn't to say they vote democratic but when the overwhelming majority of the communities exercise the right to vote we have seen when they target the behaviors of the communities of color it is not only reminiscent of seeing the jim crow law as doctor anderson has clearly played out as reverend warner said earlier maybe it boils down. can you tell me how the voter
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fraud is a recent editorial in a major newspaper talking about since 2000 oregon has been up 100 million and documented only about a dozen cases rounded to the seventh decimal point that is .000001%. >> that is correct you have a better chance of being struck by lightening than the voter fraud. president carter spoke out against the report that was referenced earlier and believed that the report was being distorted to support the provisions of 202. in fact, what the report calls for is a deeper study of the vote by mail basing the study on 2005 to 2008 and report specifically noted that we have the two dates, oregon and washington states voting by mail and there is no significant voter fraud in those two states.
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so voter id, for absentee voting that is quite unusual. there were only three. i guess now georgia, four states that require photo id for absentee voting and that's what we are talking about. we are going to be marking in the rules committee i'm pretty familiar with the bill. can you explain why it has important standards given what we are seeing in the assault across the country but, but why we haven't had any legislation passed with mccain-feingold that would dismantle by the courts it was time to also focus on all of the dark money flooding into the politics as well as ethics rules that are necessary for all of us and that used to be a bipartisan issue. >> i think it's important that
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we see this. it's access to the political process and is about ordinary people having access to the political process. we think the right to vote is sacred, the counting of the ballot. but if there are forces that neutralize the ability of the ballot to have meaning, then congress needs to examine that so citizens can feel that they truly have a role in our democracy and have their voice heard. it cannot be a sham, it can't be a shell when activists marched and risked their lives for the right to vote during the civil rights movement. they weren't just looking at the ceremonial act of casting a ballot. they believed being able to participate in the political process would allow them to meaningfully change the condition of the lives and communities. so everything that verizon the ability to give that meaning it seems to me is relevant and important for the community to consider. >> with your indulgence, one question with a fast answer, ms.
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one of the things as i prepare for the hearing that i'm cheering next month one of the arguments made is it will be hard for the states to enact. however, we already have 43 states with early voting, 21 states with same-day registration and automatic voter registration. forty-five states that allow all of the voters to cast a ballot by mail last year. in 2018 michigan approved many changes that went into effect before the november 2020 election. >> senator cornyn. >> my first question is for ms. abrams. is the georgia election law that speaker jones talked about, is
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it a racist piece of legislation? >> i think there are components that are racist because they use racial animus as a means of targeting the behavior to eliminate the participation. >> so, you believe that the georgia legislature made a deliberate attempts to suppress the minority vote? >> yes. >> georgia has a no excuse absentee voting provision in the law. as i think it has been said certainly in the written statement connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new york do not have any no excuse absentee voting. the voting laws in connecticut, massachusetts, new hampshire, new york are they racist? >> i would be say they are
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behind and the provision would expand access but as we explained earlier it is how they are targeted. the state of georgia targeted the communities that used these resources for the first time to their benefit and after 15 years of republican dominated a balloting it suddenly changed its mind about the utility and processing and timeliness. >> so excuse me, we have five minutes for questions. if you would respond. just to be clear you think connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new hampshire and new york that have more restrictive no excuse absentee, do you believe those are racist? >> senator, i'm responding to the question. >> [inaudible] >> could you answer yes or no? >> i'm stating very specifically i believe restrictive voting rights laws should be by the
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people act. the laws that were changed in 2021 in response to the increased use of people and 15 years ago they were perfectly satisfied in the utility until they were used by people of color, the intent matters. >> you think the voter id requirements are racist? >> no, sir. in fact i wrote a book about this. >> it doesn't that restrict voting, the requirements of the voter id? >> i support voter identification but it limits who is permitted to use their identification and create a
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narrow and narrow -- >> to use the free id or utility bill or something like that, so you don't believe the georgia law restricts voting because of the voter identification requirement? >> that is not what i said, sir. the absentee ballot requirement that now as voter id in the exceptionally rare usage because it will now push almost 200,000 voters that do not have access out of the prophet. >> sometimes it's racist, sometimes it's not? >> of the intent always matters and that is the point of this conversation. that is the point of the jim crow narrative, jim crow didn't simply look at the activity. it looked at the intent. it looked at the behavior and the targeted behavior that was disproportionately affecting people of color. >> do you know that the gallup poll says black and voters
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support the voter id and 65% of the voters overall? >> sir, i am among those that support the voter id. i object to narrowly tailoring the ability. >> so you agree with the voter id and the circumstances but not in others? >> that's not what i said. >> you said voter id without mall intent is okay? >> no sir, that is not what i said. >> i have a question for you in my remaining time. connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new york don't have any no excuse absentee voting georgia decided to permit. why the differences between georgia and these other states? >> thank you, senator. georgia has a long history
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particularly since republicans have been in charge since 2003 of expanding access to voting. the senate bill 202 does know differently and the voter id requirements that are being put in place for absentee voting are no different than the voter id requirements for in person or early voting. they are exactly precisely the same. can i ask one last question of mr. gardiner. i think you said that there is no early voting in new hampshire but you don't believe that in practice turn out. can you explain that, that seems a little counterintuitive. >> it certainly counterintuitive but it's factual. if you take a look at the charts that i've submitted to the
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committee, the two important things there is no early voting we have in election day and it stems back to the constitution from a long time ago and the second one is the no-fault absentee that is unconstitutional in new hampshire but the charge is important if you look at the chart that i gave i've been secretary of state during 12 years and the first five the state of oregon had a turnout higher than new hampshire in each of the five. starting in 1996 after oregon decided to go to all male voting we have had seven presidential elections. oregon has had a turnout and all seven of the presidential elections that is fact.
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so, i have lived through these years watching results that take place in certain states that's why i'm not projecting what new hampshire does other states are different than new hampshire but in my state i have seen what ways to make it easier to vote actually work and what ways make it easier to vote to not work and these charts are factual. it's all factual information, so for seven presidential elections in a row ever since oregon decided to get rid of the election day registration at the whole and go to no-fault everyone has mailed in a ballot. there are no polling places. they have multiple days to vote. multiple locations where they can cast their ballot.
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they say that is the easiest, but i know what happens between the two things. the state of oregon secretary tried to convince me in the early 90s to join him because the whole country would be voting by mail. if new hampshire did it on the east coast in oregon dated on the west coast. so, this is factual. i implore you to take a look at the charts. starting in 1976 they take a look at it, compare one state to another. based on the voting age population. >> senator. >> thank you to the witnesses
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today and to the committee for paying so much attention to the rights of americans to vote. it is profoundly disappointing that in 2021 we need to have a hearing to address the surge and voter suppression efforts it loses and takes time to reflect on why and how the issues were. bills like the ones that passed in georgia i view as an affront i've long worked to support my colleagues efforts, senator leahy's efforts and others to pass the advancement named the john lewis voting rights act and i want to ask some questions
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about that today and about our efforts to try to applaud the whole created by the supreme court's ill-conceived i think decision in shelby county some states pursuing the laws as it currently exists, can you explain why these are so difficult to successfully challenge in court? we have challenged under the constitution litigation takes a long time. it's expensive and it can take from two to five years. i will give you an example, they were part of the team that there
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were 500 offices that were elected and justices of the supreme court, attorney generals, district attorneys, lower court judges, county councilperson, elections that preceded despite the fact that we had demonstrated 600,000 were likely disenfranchised by that particular voter id laws of the litigation is a blunt instrument. what preclearance gave was the opportunity to get out ahead of the voting discrimination before it happened and to review the crime that should have happened which is one of the features that hasn't been talked about the way that this was rushed to. we were there and bills were dropping at 11 p.m. and hearings were held the next day at 7 a.m. as we try to keep up with this process. this sweeping ominous bill was passed in this fashion that
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didn't even give an opportunity for study. where is the racial impact study on these provisions and how they will affect black voters in the state you won't find it because it wasn't done. it would allow them to look at every proposed voting change to determine the effect on the black voters. they were hell-bent on pushing the law through as quickly as possible. how would having the john lewis act in place operate on other similar laws in the future given the points you made earlier about the timing and the intent and the context of the voting legislation that is critical, how would the preclearance analysis have impacted the enactment of the senate bill
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202? >> what the preclearance does is look at the context, look at the history and look at the affect. those have to be taken because there is a different history then let's say texas or new hampshire. each state when we look at what happens when these things occur, not in the macro but what happens in the very places for example in the state of georgia, the closure of the polling places, 214 led to between 54,000 to 85,000 voters not being able to cast their ballots because they could not get to the ballot, to their polling place. >> this is not incidental, it is the difference. we also know the requirement of providing the id 200,000 that
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have not been acquired to send their identification will change how they participate and when you have to pay for the paperwork for the identification. >> a quick closing question one provision surprised me were concerned. strips authority over from the secretary of state and transfers it to the state legislature given the context how will this affect the partisanship of the future administrations and how would you read it given the recent history in georgia? >> this is a very offensive language that will put into power people in the communities and for anybody that seems to believe that those close to the people should be making the decisions giving number one
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giving state legislators the authority on their own motion to remove officials is dangerous. if that isn't in place in 2020, the outcome could have been vastly different and we should be deeply concerned by the aggressive attempt for the purely partisan purposes. >> thank you for what you are doing the majority party in the chair would show such an inflammatory title it also reminds all of us were certainly
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should of what jim crow was and how when it happened pushing through the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments of the constitution guaranteeing all americans and including black americans and black americans who have been enslaved and cannot and guaranteeing black americans the right to vote. these had a significant effect. enacted with great opposition coming from the democratic party. the 15th amendment was the last to be ratified in march 1870. 1870 was a big turning point for the civil rights in america, for black americans. it was in 1870 that we sell the
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very first member of congress, a gentleman by the name of joseph who was elected to the house of representatives in the 1870. the same year the first black american was elected to the united states senate. all in all during the reconstruction period there were 16 black americans elected to the congress. there were over 600 black americans elected to the state legislators and there were hundreds and hundreds more to the local positions throughout the country. jim crow was a response to that. white americans who didn't want
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black americans coming into power and who resented the votes as republicans in fact didn't want them to have the right at all to withdraw federal troops it paved the way for jim crow. jim crow policies restricted unconstitutionally the right of black americans to vote and it restricted all kinds of other behaviors put in place by democratic governments in each of the states. it was an unfortunate era. michael lancaster is the georgia
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state director of the frederick douglass foundation and the people who suffered under jim crow in a recent "the washington times" article stated comparing absentee ballots changes to banning black people from restaurants. others wrote, quote, it's become clear even well-intentioned critics have no idea what the law is it is clear that they have no idea how favorably the new law compares including the state of delaware. a majority support the key provisions including the
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provision that voters be able to identify themselves. including 63% of black voters in georgia all of whom indicate support for the new voter id requirements. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> if a potential voter does not have a driver's license, he or she could also show a state issued photo id card is that correct? >> that is correct. or one of the other forms of federally accepted the forms of id. >> and if somebody doesn't have that, that could be provided is that also right? >> that is correct. any department of motor vehicles office or any of the 159 elections boards. the voter id requirement is not
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more restrictive for the absentee than they have been widely accepted and certainly not criticized in the past for georgia. it's precisely the same requirements to vote in person or to vote for one form but not another. thank you, senator. >> my time is expired. i suppose i will be able to submit additional questions for the record and i would note in closing the secretary of state is willing to testify at the hearing. it's disappointing the secretary of state isn't here to be able to testify. i also want to thank my friend and utah colleague who has been
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alive and has existed in the country at the time jim crow laws were still in effect. in some ways he's been subjected to some of the same insults underlining jim crow. he's been drawn alongside a klansman and a brazen act demeaning someone based on his race. demeaning him in a way that ignores the truth, the reality behind the jim crow law. it was designed to help hold black americans back and they didn't like the fact that they were voting as republicans. let's not compare the voter registration law that makes sure people cannot vote. we can do better than that and
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we should. >> thank you, senator. for the record and i will concede the era of jim crow in the south was propagated primarily by democrats. southern democrats and segregationists. the political change in america starting in the late 1950s and early 1960s and republicans became more dominant in those states for the most part. what we have today is the party of lincoln extending the voting rights act that used to be a bipartisan exercise. democrats support trying to overcome the shelby county provision making certain that we can review every state's activities as to whether or not they are fair or not fair so i would conceive this point but i don't think that the senator stuck with the proposition to the day.
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at this point, we have senator blumenthal. republicans never cease to be the party, never ceased to be the party. they believe the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments matter and that the inherent dignity is such that it should never be denigrated by subjecting someone based on their race through a lack of civil rights, so it isn't fair or accurate to portray the parties as having somehow crossed as if in the 1950s. the political alignment has
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changed. that's obvious. the nature and subject of the hearing used to be a 98-nothing proposition. some states are subjected to preclearance. the designation of preclearance with a constitutional nature raised by the court of the united states is very different than the stated opposition to the voting rights act itself and the many other provisions that have done some good and still have overwhelmingly bipartisan support. >> i'm sorry you resent it, but it's a fact that we are dealing with a voting rights act that used to be universally and bipartisan and now isn't supported. >> it isn't accurate to say they support the voting rights act and republicans do not. we are talking about an application of section five of the voting rights act based on
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the implementation and the failure to update the findings was leaving some states unconstitutionally in a different position. >> senator hirono by remote. >> senator hirono is not available. >> i am. mr. chairman? i'm so sorry. i saw the -- i thought senator blumenthal had been called. i'm sorry. i'm here. this is for ms. ifill. the average is two and a half year not sustainable.
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how effective is the current dissection protecting the right to vote and a comparison to the preclearance process that was in place under section five? >> thank you very much for that question. let me clarify the supreme court invited congress to update the formula under section five. it didn't strike down and so while i'm hopeful senator lee and others are willing to participate in the process to update the formula so we can pass a new preclearance formula under the voting rights act, the preclearance formula allows us to stop discrimination before it happens by introducing a federal process that allows for initial review, whether the federal authority is republican or democrat in terms of the general
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or the district court in dc to review and determine what the racial impact would be. and that is before the law is passed. we have filed suit along with other organizations and likely more than a year during that time as i said we are still litigating in 2018 the voter id law that was enacted in 2014. if we think that that is appropriate for a healthy democracy to hold scores for hundreds of elections which potentially hundreds of thousands if not millions of voters are affected and ultimately it violates the constitution or the americans with disabilities act or any of the other reasons voting changes have been struck down, then i think that is what the committee has to focus on.
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as a matter of democracy, we need to deal with these matters before they become the law. >> i agree. in the meantime though, the supreme court has these cases that test section two and some of the arguments would very much like to limit the impact. the department of justice under the administration brought how many cases? >> i think zero. >> one would be the maximum. according to section two if the supreme court goes along with the arguments that were made, that would make it even harder. you would have to show a different impact and much more than you currently have. >> it would be utterly
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devastating. a blow to one of the finest moments in the country which is the passage of the voting rights act and when the senate passed the voting rights act of 1955, they were very clear that they meant to only get not only the current forms that existed but the senate report said it was also designed to get ingenious forms of discrimination that might be created in the future. congress was forward-looking. they understood that it wouldn't go away so it would be an affront to the movement to senator john lewis and others that feel demand when they cannot give water to their elderly relatives standing in line trying to vote. >> justice ginsburg wrote when
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it's worked and continued to work to stop the changes are you concerned with these cases before us it would render a 6-3 decision to further limit the remedy? >> i hope they've seen what has happened since 2013 and i hope that they would be humble enough to recognize that there are things they did not know and that they will read the record and take account of what the reality is and the crown jewel of the civil rights legislation, voting rights act and ensure that it remains intact and an
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effective tool for combating discrimination. >> i appreciate the other of course stacey abrams and ms. anderson as others have testified for the enactment i want to mention one more thing. i've heard some comparisons that say georgia is better than hawaii. give me a break. they had all mail-in ballots and we had the second-highest percentage of the voter participation as a result. this is why it is so important and why we need to look at with the post office was doing in the 2020 election that made it that much more. thank you. i think my time is up. >> senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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ms. abrams. it's been over two years and you still refuse to concede that you lost the race for governor in 2018. you have said, quote, you do not concede the process was proper and that, quote, they stole it from the voters of georgia. yes or no today do you still maintain that the 2018 election was stolen? >> as i've always said i acknowledged since the beginning brian kemp one under the rules that were in place but i object to the rules that permitted thousands of voters to be denied with their votes cast out and so i will continue to disagree with the system until we have deemed the progress. it was undone but i will continue to advocate for a system that permits every eligible to cast their ballots
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-- >> i'm going to ask you to please answer the question i asked. yes or no do you still maintain the election was stolen? that's your language. a. >> my language was that it was stolen from the voters of georgia. we do not know what they would have done because not every eligible georgian was permitted to participate fully. >> you also told "the new york times" that your loss was fully attributable to voter suppression. do you know in georgia whether the percentage of african-american georgians who were registered to vote and who turned out to vote, is it higher or lower than the national average? >> it is higher than the national average because georgia is one of the largest states with an african-american population. >> but that isn't tied to the size of the population. those registered to vote in 2018
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to 64.7%. that compares to 60.2% of the average that voted and the election you claim was stolen from you was 56.3% that is higher than the average of 48%. let me ask you this. in 2018 we do you know which demographic group in georgia had the highest registration percentage and highest turnout percentage? >> i have a guess but i will defer to you for the answer. >> the answer is african-americans have the highest just ration and turnout, despite your claiming that it was stolen and somehow voter suppression. let's shift to the georgia law in particular, which there have been mountains of lies spread by both democratic politicians and by the press. does the georgia law will reduce the number of early voting days? yes or no? >> yes. >> it does so because you have to look at it in total. it isn't simply looking at the
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number of days that were expanded for 40% of the population which have been the norm. it also has to look at the early voting runoff states that were indeed shortened. >> is it correct that it raises the number of mandatory days and early weekend voting? >> it is a partial answer to say that certain states and counties hadn't participated in the use of all of those. they had been optional and most, 60% of georgians had been able to vote for the full number of days. 40% will now join and that is a good thing, but that is at the exact same time the bill eliminates weeks of early voting and limits allows the elimination of weekend voting. >> do you believe requiring an id to vote suppresses votes? >> as i have said, written,
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testified and repeated today, i believe that voter identification is always appropriate. you should know in the ways we are narrowing and restricting that has been a common and necessary complaint as we noted in 2018 what happens to native americans in north dakota who were denied the right to vote because they were required to have photo identification that included language but they were not entitled to demand. when we have narrowing of opportunities without expansion of access that is absolutely wrong and i would stand against it in georgia. during the 2020 election, did your organization collect ballots for voters? and if so, where the people collecting ballots for your organization paid? >> we did not collect ballots, we didn't pay people to collect ballots.
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we sent to voters absentee ballot applications as did the secretary of state, as did a number of organization because in the midst of a pandemic we thought it was important for voters who may or may not have that information about what their rights were to ensure they had the education and opportunity for engagement in our elections. a. >> i want to be clear about your testimony to the committee. it's that your organization did not pay any person in georgia in 2022 collect ballots for anybody else. >> no, sir. >> okay. thank you. >> from georgia, senator flex. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to the panel for joining us. mr. chairman, i would like to enter into the record a number of statements that may clarify for some of our colleagues the motives and circumstances that led to the passage of this infamous law in georgia.
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>> without objection. >> this is the republican lieutenant governor, republican lieutenant governor jeff duncan who said, quote, this is the fallout from ten weeks of misinformation that flew in from the former president donald trump. he further said there is solutions in search of a problem. republicans don't need election reform to win. we need leadership. that was on meet the press. he further said in an op-ed in usa today he observed the reaction legislation such as not allowing the distribution of water within 150 feet of a polling station just to appease the extreme right corners of the legislator districts and to avoid primary challenges. ms. abrams, in the exchange you just shared with senator cruz, the question of early voting opportunities was raised.
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can you please clarify for the committee what has changed about early voting and runoff elections in georgia under the new law and what the impact might be if those change? >> certainly. in the state of georgia, previously the law says that elections occur during business hours. most counties are sorry, 60% of the voters were able to vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., which is the hours of operations on election day. for the majority of georgians, the time allowed was from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. it now mandates that it be an option. the challenge was an optional permission is that it is no longer a given and we have a number of counties that have taken options as an opportunity. we celebrate the fact that more voters will have access to the weekend voting but it is not
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when 60% of georgians previously enjoyed that right. we know 78% of georgians were able to vote, i'm sorry, the mandatory, the actual date and weekend. 78% of georgians were able to vote during this earlier voting our. we know that for example in the state of georgia we have 159 counties, some have a smaller population and fewer than 2,000 persons and so it's insufficient to simply look at the number of counties participating. we have to look at the population participating and we know in the state of georgia that it is restricting access to the right to vote. we also know that the optional notion was something that counties felt they had the right to do and we had a number of counties that were already using the sunday voting so yes it is clarified in the law that is one thing but to claim that it sickened expansion of access to
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the majority is not only untrue but it's misleading and it is false. >> isn't it the case none of us knew where they were previously three weeks of mandatory voting and runoff elections and now there is just one? >> yes. >> fair fight action, your organization issued an extraordinary report documenting the history of the voter suppression that accelerated as we discussed in the hearing following the shelby county decision of the supreme court which ended the preclearance functions of the voting rights act. since 2013 since the supreme court decision, georgia has closed hundreds of polling places and the average distance voters have to drive to go vote has more than doubled and not surprisingly, according to a nonpartisan analysis by the journal of constitution black and brown voters have been impacted the hardest by many of the changes and are more likely to miss voting in an election because of the long distances they are forced to travel and i
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would like to enter this report georgia's racial discrimination and voting and urgent need to modernize the voting rights act into the record with your permission. >> can you explain why the closure without the do g doj preclearance can be so harmful and why the advancement act which again just to remind everybody on the committee what we are here to discuss we are talking about section four and section five for the department of justice civil rights division that would pretty clear changes that may have disparate impact. why is restoration of the function so vital to ensure harm is not done by the closure of the polling locations in georgia over the last decade?
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we saw in clayton county. to have a deleterious effect on the likelihood of the voters going to vote if they had to a police station. before 54,000 to 85,000 people who were not able to cast their ballots and black voters were 20% more likely to be affected by the closures.
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this changes the ability to participate and i want to clarify something i said earlier with your permission. with preclearance instead of being able to remove access to voting locations they look at things like distance, cost of travel, transportation and the ease of the voting being restricted to increase access to the right to vote.
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>> anybody that has run for office or voted in georgia knows its common it causes all kinds of confusion and leads people to show up at the wrong precinct often through no fault of their own and again i want to clarify for my colleagues on the other side of taken a genuine interest in the content of this new law in georgia, exactly what these changes mean and i hope that this is clarified. under the prior law, voters who showed up at the wrong precinct because of closures or changes could cast a provisional ballot at that precinct. under the new law if they arrive arrived before 5 p.m., they are forced to go to a different precinct, to travel in some cases across town. in some of the counties to travel up to an hour to a
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different precinct to cast their vote or risk disenfranchisement. ms. abrams, what does this change in the new georgia law mean for voters that rely on public transportation to vote or have their kids with them or have a shift that they cannot miss at work? >> its presumed people that vote before 5 p.m., those people have universal access to transportation, information and the ability to change their behavior. but let's assume you get in line at 1 p.m. and you get to the end of the line at 4:58 p.m. only to discover you've used all the time you have before your 6:00 shift to cast your ballot. it would no longer permit you to cast an absentee provisional ballot which was put in place under this very congress to solve the problem. those out of precinct provisional ballots would be
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discarded and that is inappropriate because these are not people making the choice not to do what's right. during the 2020 and 2021 election as you know, we had volunteers standing in front of polling locations directing people to new locations because they had been given misinformation and we know a number of counties that changed their information. while this attempts to address it, we know that they are not tested and thus do not know voters will be protected and can be penalizing them before we have the protections necessary. thank you ms. abrams and mr. chairman. >> senator holly. >> thank you, mr. chairman and witnesses for being here. ms. jones, can i come to you. we have heard an extraordinary number of lies told about this law from the president of the united states all the way down, certainly including members of the committee, including today,
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and also from an unbelievable assortment of for-profit corporations. this has been one of the most incredible organized campaigns by these megacorporations in american history to try to influence legislation and ultimately to overturn it. of course now the same corporations are taking this effort to states across the country no doubt soon coming to mind, the state of missouri where we have our election integrity measures adopted by our voters and our legislature and also by referendum that will soon i'm sure be on their side. let me just ask you about these lies that have been told over and over. the president of the united states, his big lie that this legislation cut off the amount of time, closed the polls early. that was a lie. we heard water is not made available to people waiting in line, that is a lie. we've seen it told over and over but i want to zero in on the corporations. the unprecedented power, tell me why do you think these corporations, so many of them have been so eager to paralyze
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they know is not true, it's not like they don't have whole teams of lawyers. they are the most powerful corporations in the world, they have entire legal departments at their disposal. why do you think they've been so eager to lie over and over about the law that your legislature adopted? >> thank you, senator for the question. you know, i can't speculate precisely on their motivation but i can say that if they have teams of lawyers and people to analyze the bill, their unjustified outrage is ridiculous. i believe most of these corporations if they read the bill and compare the voting law to most of the rest of the state, they would know that georgia has an extensive system
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of voting. we made it more expensive. i must clarify, senator, that the georgians always have had for decades the ability to offer early voting not decades but as long as we federally voting, the hours up to seven to seven. that continues to be the case. what we did is counties that offer fewer than 9-5 early voting hours we have required 130 counties that have longer early voting. but it has been disappointing to see some and i will just say some in the business community either not read the bill or feel that they would be punished somehow by some of these enormous nonprofit organizations that have placed a lot of pressure on them. >> let me ask you to some of the pressure tactics the corporations have brought to
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bear. we've seen in public what they've done. we've seen the statements that they've made and the lies that they've told. tell me about the companies and what they've been doing in the legislature. i'm sure they have teams, fleets of lobbyists just like they do here in this capital. what are the sort of tactics that they have used in the legislature to try to influence, intimidate, just give a sense of what has been going on. >> i will say i've worked closely on the bill and participated in the writing of every word of it and i can say i was quite surprised by a couple of the companies outrage given that i never heard from a single one of them and if they had particularly let me also say by a couple of the chambers of commerce the provisions that they wanted retained in the law were retained and in fact we
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went further by requiring now to saturdays of early voting whereas previously it was only one saturday of early voting, so we expanded the ability for voters, early voting to vote, but yet i honestly cannot explain their reaction other than to say they must fear some of these organizations that have an unbelievable amount of money. we've seen about $10 million already spent in georgia in accurately portraying this legislation and as you know if you say something often enough, however inaccurate it is, there are those that will begin to believe it and so perhaps they've been influenced by that. >> so what you are saying as many of these corporations that are now howling in public and spreading this misinformation in public and lies, they actually
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had nothing to say earlier but now they are out there denouncing the law calling in voter suppression, calling it jim crow and when they had the opportunity to shape the bill or work on the bill they didn't but now they are mounting a public pressure campaign saying they are going to go work in other states and now they've changed their tune and are trying to arrest the pressure. am i getting that right? >> i would clarify by saying that the few provisions if the chambers of commerce were representing their interest they were not communicating specifically we retained those provisions like three weeks of the very expensive early voting and in fact expanded the number of hours available. we kept no excuse for early voting which i'm sorry to say delaware in particular, the president's state, does not have early voting so we retained
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would be taken away contrary it would require no excuse absentee voting, early voting with multiple days and continuing to receive the ballots after the election. give us a sense of why these provisions that are in your constitution are so important in
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your view for election security in your state. >> they are important in new hampshire because it is what has made the turn out what it has been. it is a combination of the trust and the process. if you take that away from new hampshire, we are not going to have the turnout that we have had over the years and i, earlier the conventional view that makes voting easier will
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increase the turnout. but the charts that i've provided you can see the facts and that is just not the case. many academics say that they were again is the state. everybody may hold a ballot. they have multiple days and locations and when oregon went to that process, they had a long turnout, seven presidential elections in a row and before that when they didn't have it they were head of new hampshire, five presidential elections in a row. so it's different. they have integrity is important, the belief that the process is important, it is a fine balance and all the states
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try to obtain that fine balance to work with a process that keeps people trusting because if they lose trust in it they are not going to bother if it isn't of any value to them it doesn't have anything meaningful for them anymore, they stop doing it. and we are always striving to reach the voter made ground that people can trust it but it's also easy. we've had the third-highest turnout for the presidential elections in a row based on the voting age population. you can see in the charts it worked for new hampshire. >> thank you for the testimony. we appreciate that. senator blumenthal. ..
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in georgia and other states quick. >> look at the core provisions of hr one with early voting, absentee voting it goes right to the heart of those provisions we spent talking about in the georgia bill that are teed up with the advancement act would require the voting changes to voting and consolidate polling places or eliminate polling places or have new regimes and impose new laws that they first have
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to go through the scrutiny of the federal authority. one aspect of hr one might immediately provide for greater access to voters across the country by expanding registration and early voting and absentee voting the other protects voters against discriminatory voting changes proposed by state or local jurisdictions. we need both to protect minority voters. >> that answers very important. it shows the effects of shelby county are more than just changing the location a reducing the number of polling places the entire system with access to the ballot box. i was very critical in the
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georgia runoffs when there were sweeping attempts to suppress the voter intimidation online and disinformation targeting communities of color. in fact i wrote a letter demanding facebook and twitter take stronger action to fight disinformation in the runoff election including fact checking and labeling to reduce the spread of information. how would you grade facebook and twitter for their handling of the spread of disinformation during the georgia runoff election? >> i had a long conversation with facebook in particular to address the issue of miss information on the platform. we believe this is yet another form of voter suppression
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facebook is used by african-americans we have an ongoing conversation they have policies against misinformation in voting and against voter suppression and we press them to have a more aggressive infrastructure to deal with these matters when they occur. something that really disturbed me on twitter during the counting of ballots in georgia after the november election when they were discrediting the process, the license plate of the voter was posted on twitter by someone who wanted to stop the account and undermine the legitimacy of the election something incredibly dangerous to those who were so bravely doing their duty and counting
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ballots. it's a long way to go there has been improvement on facebook and twitter better way to go to make sure the platform does not allow for the misinformation and intimidation we saw in 2020. >> and i agree. >> thank you mr. chairman. still a long way to go. >> ms. abrams i want to talk about major league baseball to boycott work georgia at a cost of $100 million of economic activity and thousands of jobs for georgia residents. march 8 when describing the georgian election law you call it jim crow. on march 10th well before the georgia election laws passed you register the website stop jim crow
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march 14 you call the georgia election bill redux jim crow mah the bill passed into law. march 31st you wrote an op-ed in "usa today" about georgia's law in the first two words were boycotts work. two days later april 2nd major league baseball announced the boycott of georgia according to media reports the decision to pull the all-star game you spoke with executives and describe the law as jim crow 2.0 urging major league baseball to speak out after the decision you conveniently claim you strongly urge them not to boycott after the horse was out of the barn and the damage was done so you publicly attack the georgia law as jim crow no fewer than ten times before major league baseball
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which are the game he told corporations be boycotts work that if they don't attack georgia's law "i cannot argue with an individual's choice to opt out of their competition. ". after all these efforts to smear georgia as a jim crow state do you regret your central role to cause mlb to withdraw the all-star game from georgia? >> senator i would not call georgia a jim crow state i think the law that passed jim crow access and i stand by that characterization because we have explained today in great detail why that is so also with that same op-ed i acknowledge the boycotts those who use boycotts to gain access for the very rights we were fighting to defend.
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however i do not think boycotts in georgia at this time would be inappropriate remedy but i believe it's important for all civil disobedience rights to achieve the outcome with access in the united states. my conversations with major league baseball were clear i did not think of boycott was necessary i was intentional about my language. and while i am not the commissioner baseball or the head of a corporation, ime georgia citizen i have every right and responsibility to reach out against the laws of have an effect on my community. i regret the decision mlb made to remove their game and the economic effect it has on georgians at law - - at-large but i will support anyone who stops is racial animus or voter suppression is happening
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in georgia or elsewhere in the country one day of game is not worth losing our democracy. >> . after you spent weeks for condemning your legislature telling the legislature boycotts work i doubt your words are comforting to those who will lose their jobs or have their livelihood affected by major league baseball decision. now turning to secretary gardner again he's been in office since 1976, longer the members of this committee have been alive ago we had a term for those soldiers that were in combat repeatedly. maybe panama or mogadishu even one guy jumped into grenada. they are called been there done that if anyone has been there done that with election laws it is bill gardner. you have repeatedly over decades reviewed election laws. you see before the congress
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now in the for the people act with sweeping reforms what you think this federalization of state -based election system would due to your elections in new hampshire secretary? >> senator, it would be comparable to the elections in new hampshire. when the federal election campaign act originally passed, there was a threshold state said they would not be affected by it but then within two years states were completely taken out and we could not control the rules for the election. then we went to the national voter registration act in 93. people of new hampshire local officials wanted voter registration to be in person process the only way to maintain that was if we became
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exempt from the national voter registration act. so we passed legislation made it retroactive that's only way to get exempt to keep our election process the way new hampshire wanted it. we were sued not from anybody by new hampshire because both sides agreed but from an organization in new york city. the federal government gave an exemption to us so we no longer had to comply with nvr a. if you look at the chart starting in 1996. the first time a presidential election happened after the national voter registration act. from that point on in new hampshire, new hampshire has been at the top of the country. we don't allow people to register by mail unless they are absent or out of town or they are disabled we have a
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rules we have applied all these years and you can see how it has resulted for presidential elections in a row, third highest in the country before that, fourth in the country. you can see from the charts. then we went to the help america vote act we became exempt from and vra because we were exempt we did not have to comply we don't have provisional ballots in new hampshire one of four states in the country that doesn't have provisional ballots so it has worked for the people of new hampshire the proof is in the pudding. now, if you were to pass this you completely take away a process that has developed
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over many years, why would you want to do it? with the turnout as it is, listening to all this is a pretty sad story in a way because rhode island had a lower turnout in 2020 then georgia. but states have different ways of doing it that works. that's why said at the beginning doesn't have to be like arkansas or california that why should we be made to be like california in particular? we have a way of doing it that works for the people of new hampshire. the turnout is the proof that it works in this legislation
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for our way of voting. >> we appreciate your testimony. >> stacy abrams i have questions for you what you to specify the difference between absentee ballots and in person voter participation i would appreciate it if you some clarification why the georgia laws are limiting particular voters access. >> when you address voter identification you are demonstrating who you are for purposes of receiving a ballot that you are not asking to surrender that proof or to give it to a poll worker who then can retain in perpetuity. you show it to prove who you are then you proceed georgia for 15 years had a similar
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situation with regards to voting by mail that ricard required identification in an envelope clearly marked for anyone to steal your identity so it could be a signature verification process. after 2018 and then in 2020 the changes were made to make it a more equitable that was necessary and it worked. so effectively with this process you have to surrender your identification in an envelope clearly marked for anyone to steal your identity they can open the envelope to get information about you. either a photocopy to allow them to steal your identity it
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should create a deep fear and any person pursuing this. it is not apples to apples comparison. there is no other form where we say these pieces of information will set in an office. there's no provision for how long or who has access to it. very real difference with an absolute distinction to cause harm to voters. in addition signature mismatch allows for thousands of voters who admittedly do not have the proper identification to submit and it has worked for 15 years. nothing that occurred in 2020 or 2021 to discredit that process except it works for most voters and in particular for the first time in georgia's history successful using it to help change the outcome in the election. my challenge isn't a
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democratic or republican victory but it is a harm to voters and disproportionately harm voters of color those who lack identification with able voters and older voters who don't sacrifice the personal and private information to participate in elections and that is deeply concerning to every american. >> in terms of the landscape of our nation on voter id laws and with regard to challenges to voters, how does the georgia bill fit into that? give us a vision what the landscape looks like and why this is so concerning in terms of the changes we're seeing in the effect it will have on the right for franchise. >> thank you senator. people do confuse the idea of
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ideas that were talking about one thing. georgia is only one of four states that requires a photo id for absentee voting. yes many states require voter all id but not required government issued. twelve states require id bits non- photo idea can be a utility bill or other forms of identification that connect you to your address. some states require no id to vote unless you vote for the first time that is massachusetts west virginia vermont and then the vote by mail states like oregon and washington. is important to understand whether for or against id there is id and ideally requiring people to have the onerous identification you have to get by going to the local on - - motor vehicle bureau you have to pay to get your birth certificate or
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travel to the bureau in the 21 contiguous counties in the black belt of georgia motor vehicle offices are only open two days a week or one day a week. that is the concerned what is required we should not presume all states that have id require government issued in some form to connect you with your address. >> thank you mr. chairman i will yield to the client gregarious wise senator from louisiana. >> i think i will call him senator kennedy instead. [laughter] >> thank you senator booker. you are a fine american. ms. abrams.
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can you hear me? i don't know where to look. i hate to the zoom hearings. with voter confidence in the electoral system and the perception of voter integrity and election, let me start over. i'm sorry. in terms of the confidence americans have in their electoral system, do you think we are better off having an election day or election month quick. >> i think we are better to have a process that allows every single american the opportunity to participate in an election that election day was based on the rarity that no longer exist for millions of americans and that we have a number of americans who are limited in access because there is no paid time off for voting. we have to make every opportunity to make voting accessible to every american. >> me stop you.
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i have a bunch of questions. before we get off the subject and get me off. so you are okay with us not knowing weeks or months who the winner is of the election quick. >> yes. >> talking about the georgia bill, help me understand. i'm not interested in a 30000-foot view. not a criticism. i'm speaking to myself and not interested in platitudes. you are against the georgia bill. right quick. >> . >> certain provisions. >> you call that a racist bill. right quick. >> i think there are provisions that are racist. >> tell me specifically. give me a list of the provisions that you object to.
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>> i object to the provisions that remove access to the right to vote, shorten the federal runoff. from nine weeks to four weeks that they cannot return in the absentee ballot application. >> our audio is not very good here. can you start over? >> insurance the federal runoff. from nine weeks to four weeks it restricts the time they can have an absentee ballot application with photo identification that they are willing to surrender to participate in the absentee ballot process. >> i want to stop you. that's where they are not comparing signatures quick. >> yes sir. only the four stay in the nation to require voters.
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>> what else quick. >> eliminates 300 hours of dropbox availability. it bans nearly all out of precinct votes. >> if you get to a precinct and you are in line for four hours you get to the end of the line if you're not there between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. then you have to start over again. >> is that for everybody quick. >> it restricts the operation hours because now it has a standardized timeline to make it optional for counties that may not want to see expanded access they can limit their hours instead of from 727 a can be 95 so for those voters that cannot vote during
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business hours. >> i get the idea. let me approach this another way. if a state decides to require a voter to prove who the voter is, do you consider that racist? >> not at all. voter identification is a part of the american democracy. >> you are okay with that. >> i support identification. >> what about ballot harvesting? i heard earlier you talked about letting the tribal elders. not talking about that. but both parties will do it and probably are pay operatives to go out to help people with the balance and collect their ballots. are you okay with that or against it quick. >> i don't think it is either
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or. it depends on the conditions and the rules for making it easier for those who want to participate to do so safely and securely. >> you are okay with ballot harvesting. >> i did not say that. that encompasses a wide range of behavior. >> but i'm trying to get down from the platitudes to understand what you are for and against. >> help me with this. let's suppose the republican party wanted to hire people to go out and knock on doors of the voters and say have you voted yet and they say no. then the operatives are sent to contact the voter and say let me help you with your ballot if you have questions i can suggest you might want to vote for and after i will collect it for you and make it
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easy. is that okay? >> i am both an attorney and a former legislator it is not simply the words. >> i am an attorney and a legislator and i would trade places with you. keep going. >> we both know the context and the rules and the structure matter. in very narrow circumstances you just described if there are no controls of course i object to that. if you look at those piecemeal components and talking about how to make it easier for voters to participate in elections, i am not certain what that looks like that you specifically describe sounds like you are in violation of a number of different rules. >> one last question the chairman is really indulge me.
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do you think it was a smart thing for president biden to do to call everybody who supported the georgia bill a racist? >> i think this bill is grounded in racial animus. think the language we are using. >> it's an honest question. how do you know that quick. >> for 15 years the republican party of georgia not only sanctioned but celebrated a vote by mail provision. only after voters of color for the first time in 15 years successfully use those provisions in favor of the party they support that the rules changed. for years. for more than two decades early voting hours that supported supported voters perfectly fine only after communities of color used those permissions. >> doesn't that hurt white and black and brown people? >> it hurts everyone.
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if you watch me i vote for the rights of every person. >> that's a long way from the president calling people racist. >> i'm responding to the question you asked me. my point is the motivation is grounded in those engage in gauging and behavior you disagree with his racist when it is targeting communities of color. >> i agree with that. i agree with that. the chairman has gavel to me. but how do you know that is what they meant quick. >> we asked them not to do it we show them the effect and they refused to abide. i worked with these people for 11 years i don't believe every single person who supported this bill has racial animus in their hearts. but for the purposes of voting rights, then yes you should be
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held accountable and the bills should be stopped. >> i'm sorry i went over. >> thank you senator kennedy. >> thank you mr. padilla. >> i'm sorry. >> any collie who wants to discuss the intricacies of the administration i more than happy to do so being a chief elections officer not just the most populous state for the most inclusive democracy of any stay in the nation even if it takes alligator sausage in california wine to put together. speaking of, in many ways this is a continuation of the quality conversation begun by the rules committee with them off most recent. as the majority leader schumer
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and minority leader mcconnell and others on this topic. i raise this in the hearing are republican colleagues raised the frame of working to make it easier to vote for harder to cheat that it's a guiding value and referenced that was inspired by election reforms after the 2000 presidential administration has seen and heard first-hand. and in recent years they use the mantra easier to vote and harder to cheat. and in some places it seems like we've done a heck of a great job on the second part. harder to cheat. study after study and report
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after report and investigation after investigation continues to document voter fraud in america is exceedingly rare. easier to vote requires a lot of work thank you to the chair to prioritize this topic for a hearing in this committee today i hope action by congress in the very near future easier to vote part requires a lot of work. the science that we have a lot of work to do that we have seen in multiple stakes in general election night. the movement in some states four fewer days or hours or locations to vote as time goes on. the shame in some states we could debate the value of
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voter id law but when they are written in such a way that concealed weapons permit goes to the voting booth but the state issued state university id does not than there is an agenda behind the impact of these laws. what does help amplify increasing the opportunity to vote by mail for eligible voters like new hampshire that's a big part of their increase of participation in 2020 the big part of california's record turnout as well offering eligible voters more hours and days and flexibility of where to vote in person if that is their choice. the acceptance of more vote by mail ballots even if they arrive after the election.
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the implementation of those postelection audits continue the integrity. we have the playbook how to strengthen our democracy to maintain the security of our elections and facilitate more participation but sadly the term voter fraud is a pretext to do the opposite. several colleagues have referenced how 2021 is an election year that's our record registration in most parts of the country. record turnout in many states across the country as a whole. wire the proposals necessary? you have to ask the same question as of march 24th , 361 bills introduced in 47
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states that would restrict opportunities to vote in our election and colleagues i just because are introduced doesn't mean they will see the light of day it has a really been enacted. twenty-nine passed by at least one chamber and more under consideration. that's a long preamble in the lead up to my main question for our witnesses. i begin by saying want more people should recognize that voter suppression is rooted in white supremacy. and during the jim crow era wish he targeted in motivated voter suppression was often blatant. legislators adopted races paths policies like a poll tax in the effort to shape the
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electorate. today's voter suppression playbook is still rooted in white supremacy is motivated by the same factors as the jim crow predecessors. but overtly racist policies replaced by neutral ones like mandated in person in requirements the decommissioning of polling sites manipulated discriminatory voter id laws but just because the voter suppression tactics are neutral, cannot be harder for people to recognize and understand the pernicious effects. so my question is simply, can you share how the seemingly race neutral policies have disproportionate racial
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impacts? >> if i might begin by saying thank you. let's talk about a provision we have not talked about today that this law sb 202 provides for unlimited challenges to the legitimacy of voters. i'm sure many people are aware there are organizations to make it their business to challenge voters to determine if a voter should have been able to cast a vote. there were 360,000 challenges after the november election in georgia. the georgia secretary of state found no substantial findings that supported any widespread voter fraud through those challenges. that's the case, 360,000 challenges failed to produce anything significant why does sb two oh two now provide
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anyone can make unlimited challenges to the legitimacy of voters? it is a form of voter intimidation often used to target black and latino voters, target voters from immigrant communities. what is the predicate and the underlying basis? why create this system in which anyone can engage with these unlimited challenges to voters? we know this will disproportionately be targeted with communities of color but yet with sp two oh two it's not connected to any evidence or predicate necessary. it is not designed to get out voter fraud but create an unlimited system of voter intimidation. >> .
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>> i would only add we know of those 364,000 challenges one of the provisions included is the counties that could legally dismiss the challenges for lack of evidence and basis will now be penalized by the state that doesn't only terrify voters that push them out because they are unaware how the process works and they could be terrified if they participate in the bill the ability to participate can go otherwise. this is just one more example in addition to the numbers we gave earlier how difficult it is to behave with integrity with the racial animus and the mere presence as a threat to
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democracy i would like to see the rest of this from doctor anderson who can connect the dots between jim crow before and jim crow 2.0. >> thank you for your question senator. the challenges were in the jim crow constitution in north carolina that allowed any voter to challenge the veracity and legitimacy of the voter. that was intimidation. that kind of engagement and harassment that we see replicated in this bill. i would also say the limitation of drop boxes. to deal with the pandemic that
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the post office is being deliberately undercut to deliver absentee ballots in a timely fashion so the drop boxes provided access to voters to engage in the election process. with sp 202 is elimination in atlanta the majority of black voters we go from 94 drop boxes down at 23. they are housed inside in buildings that can be closed. this is how they limit access to the ballot box these are not race neutral it is not race neutral as a poll tax law. we don't want black folks to vote that's the underlying premise behind them as was
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made very clear and that's what we're seeing right now with these voter suppression laws. to the massive wave of black voter turnout happening in 2021 election. >> thank you senator. >> thank you to the witnesses for being here. speaker jones thank you for your leadership in the georgia legislature. my kids were born there lived in atlanta and have a lot of family in south georgia. over the past several weeks i have heard a number of reports and also several comments today that it seems to me we are not properly characterizing many aspects of senate bill 202. what would you consider to be the blatant mischaracterizations you heard today or reported in the press
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quick. >> thank you senator tell us it would take a while for those today but most recently. no id is surrendered to vote absentee. the exact same voter id requirement has been a lot to vote in person will now simply apply to absentee voting. >> how does that work? if you go to a poll location they ask for an idea have a government issued id or another except of all form how does that work are they copied and submitted with the ballot? >> no sir. if you have a ballpoint pen you can take the number on your drivers license or the number on your free voter identification or i would like
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to clarify a utility bill could not be used. you cute lawn - - could use one although 97 percent of georgians do you can submit a copy of a utility bill that is a federally allowed form of id. it's not a hardship. >> i just want to be clear have a lot of other questions. when we hear people talking about an unreasonable requirement, north carolina our drivers license number is eight or ten digits you can write ten or 12 digits then you satisfy the requirement on the absentee ballot quick. >> yes sir. >> people said i think ms. abrams said she focused on the nine to five window. it sounds to me in the law
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that was established as a floor and you provided the options for local boards to do the 727. >> we had 134 that offered fewer hours between 95 it is expanding the hours for early voting. >> what about the assertion mentioned by a witness who said providing water to the elderly parents or grandparents could get you in jail? is that a part of the bill? >> no sir. just as in long time current law and probably your state. there is a protected distance that was being gamed and manipulated during the last two election cycles by activist and candidates handing out items of value
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sometimes with their logo and simply. >> all of this is characterization. >> it's important to point out in georgia you have just under four weeks of early voting quick. >> third on - - three weeks which is quite expensive. >> that include saturday and sunday options. >> it mandates to saturday's previously was the only one. >> and to sunday's are absolutely available. only 16 counties utilized sunday voting in 2020. all 159 counties can do it if they choose. >> the provision for drop boxes driven more by the logistics of what you can secure it to prevent
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tampering? the prior when you said you went from 90 down at 24. >> . >> i live in fulton county there will be sufficient. we never had drop boxes before 2020 they were purely put in place by the state elections board at the social distancing concerns. i am optimistic we will not have social distancing concerns with the next general election. should we have them the loss of allows for the state elections board to take them back to the way they were during the pandemic outside the locations but for security reasons they were overflowing because they were not monitored. nobody watch the camera this will make sure every vote counts. >> that seems rational. mr. chair, i have to associate
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myself with that comment this has been a contentious hearing. and we have our differences but i really believe we need to get the facts on some of this law. i don't think setting the premise with the joe on - - jim crow 2021 is a productive way to get people to start - - talk about states like delaware that is currently implementing the voting. we were the first to cast ballots in the last election cycle uk castor absentee ballot in september. we do allow for weekend voting we have a lot of early voting. when i was speaker of the house the gentleman behind me had the bills and the jim crow bills we have had increase participation among the african-american demographic and minority demographic. there does seem to be a number
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of states i'm sure we will never have a hearing on here they are behind the eight ball. if we had the restrictions and other southern states, then probably we would be rightfully insulted that yet they get a pass. i hope the people of georgia and the american people will get past some of the misinformation the 361 bills referred to repeatedly if you look at it i think cleansing voter rolls to prevent dead people from voting is not a bad idea. if the record will be open i will provide something without objection that breaks down the bill maybe some are going out but not 361. these are games being played. there's an article here without objection i would like to submit where fundraising on
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aspects of the georgia bill that never made its way into law. it looks like a lot of people are creating a lot of noise at the expense of identifying legitimate areas that voters don't have the right to vote. north carolina characterizes my laws that i ratified and passed by almost a 70 percent vote republicans are third behind unaffiliated 70 percent with integrity laws the georgia law has more to do with election integrity than voter suppression i hope we can get to the point to find the real offenders and lead them out but not have circular discussions where fundraising e-mails will go out and people will talk about voter integrity but they are not getting anything done. thank you for being here today. thank you mr. chair. >> thank you to everyone for
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participating. >> jim crow 2021 is a provocative title. it certainly raise the interest level in this committee. participation today is an indication of that. i think this is a serious issue that the professor is with us she may not have had as many questions but put in a historic context. people were boldly stating their intentions with efforts of voter suppression not so often now we have to be honest and take a hard look. senator tell us stepped out like a law that required strict id and limited voting the federal court found targeted african-americans with surgical precision to determine the state legislature enacted the law with discriminatory intent. that's not from the 19th or 20th century that modern times
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like the texas law implemented after the shelby county decision it was ultimately determined to violate the federal court against the black and latino voters. it appeared the people who run the election in georgia where willing to stand up to the president of the united states when he personally called the head of the secretary state with the avail threat to suggest he could be guilty of a crime if he didn't set out to find the votes necessary to make donald trump the winner in georgia. he resisted the effort. it took a lot of fortitude on his part as an elected republican he was criticized for many republicans in georgia the same that went into legislative session then passed this bill in the process stripped him of authority.
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he paid a price for saying that. and what has never been asked whenever answered what is the incidence of voter fraud in georgia causing the legislature to change so many versions after 2020 and the special election of 2021? there wasn't. the senator from north carolina raise the question that people voting. how often does that occur? president trump said we think there are 5000 dead people who voted in 2020. he replied there were two. they were wrong. they never should have done it. out of 5 million. it defies logic to think we're in a position now were changing the laws of the state after producing record turnout
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with so little fraud but still the efforts are made to seem to make a substantial change. 's senator blackburn online? >> yes mr. chairman. i had to leave the hearing and come back. i am available now. >> we were just concluding the hearing that i want you to give your chance. take a five-minute. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> thank you to the witnesses. they have been incredibly patient with us today. this is such an important hearing from us. i was the elected in one - - election commission before elected office i know how incredibly important it is to make it possible for everyone to vote. i appreciated your comments mr. gardner on your focus that it's easy for people while
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still making those vote safe. i believe everybody should have the opportunity to vote. i have a pickup trick on - - a pickup truck in for 25 years it said vote. it was a way for me to send the message to everyone. it has been a little distressing to me listening to this hearing. i got in for a few minutes to hear the premise of this hearing as if there is an assault on the right to vote in this country. we know we have had record voter turnout. my colleagues across the aisle know we have had record voter turnout in recent years. to say jim crow laws in my
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opinion that is not a valid premise. i find it unfortunate that there are some who continue to push that on the state of georgia. i think we have to look at the lead up to this and the things that have been said. look at the "washington post" and their comments about president biden when he falsely claimed george's recent reform law so working people can cast their votes after the shift is over and then president biden went on to explain the georgia law is jim crow in the 21st century which appears to be the inspiration for this hearing. the problem is, as we have discussed the "washington post" gave president biden's remarks on this issue for
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pinocchio's. in other words they say that was a lie. "one of the biggest changes would expand early voting access to most counties. that is the georgia public radio report on the georgia voting law. "for most counties you will have an extra weekend day and your weekday early voting hours will likely be longer. in actuality the georgia voting law that president biden claimed ended early voting actually did the exact opposite. it expanded the voting opportunities. unfortunately president biden repeating the lie had real-world consequences look at this with major-league baseball. this repeated lie cause the all-star game in atlanta to
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die. i would have loved to ask senator warnock how he will answer to his constituents for the loss of that game. ms. abrams i do have a question for you. when you heard the comment that repeated falsehood from the president that this is something that would hamper voting rights. and the comments about the georgia law, does this hurt or help your cause for access to more individuals. >> with all due respect to senator i disagree with your
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characterization early in person voting 70 percent of counties already had more than eight hours of early voting. sb 202 ratified. >> i don't mean to interrupt. thank you for that. because i do have another question you want to go to ms. jones. of voter on the election commission my question for representative jones is the voter rolls and updating the voter rolls. we took this as a very serious responsibility and worked hard to update voter rolls. when you talk about the legislation being pushed they would disallow there for them a lot ballots would go to people as we saw in 2022 no longer live in an area or individuals that are deceased.
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people saw hundreds of these on social media. talk with me how the process going through cleaning up the roles to underpin the accuracy and the integrity in the elections quick. >> it is incredibly important so you can have integrity and elections that the voter rolls are not only cleaned up but also some security on the backend because we did have voters receive absentee ballot requests for previous occupants of their home or apartment. that is why we see the reasonable requirement in the absentee ballot that we left there drivers license number or other provisions if they
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are wine of 2 percent of georgians that don't have that. they go together we want everyone to cast a vote and we went every legitimate vote to count. >> that is imperative the one person one vote rule to make certain the rules are correct the only people who currently live in an area are able to vote in that state or county for the election see you eliminate a lot of the voter fraud it should make elections more secure and make it more difficult to cheat. that is how we preserve the integrity in the election system. everyone entitled to vote should be able to vote.
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secretary gardner i do have a question. >> senator. >> yes or. >> i will submit my question to secretary gardner because you have been generous with your time. and the hearing has run very long. thank you for letting me get in a couple of questions. >> mr. gardner will receive the question help anyone who does will respond in a timely fashion. i want to think the witnesses it is evidence of the interest in this issue. it is clear we have work to do the question is whether we do something in a bipartisan way
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thank you to everyone who's participating in defense of the democracy the hearing will stand adjourn. [inaudible conversations] >> wash.
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host: california republican doug >> california republican joins us after two pieces of legislation focused


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