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tv   Legal Experts Testify on Voting Rights Act  CSPAN  July 15, 2021 5:34pm-8:01pm EDT

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of the subcommittee on the constitution will come to order and let me first apologize to my colleagues and to the witnesses for my delay. caused by a number of circumstances including most recently a stop subway tram. i do want to thank all of you for being here today. yesterday president biden issued a call to action an urgent plea
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to protect democracy amidst an onslaught of state laws restricting voting rights. they declared that quote where taken the most significant -- of our democracy since the civil war end quote. during the sewer is whether the president then president johnson made a similar call to action in the summer of 1965. the troopers mercilessly attacked -- the bridge in selma alabama and peaceful protest of discriminatory voting laws. in the wake of the attack and is the nation came together to come to present johnson's call to an end to voting discrimination in america.
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five months after bloody sunday as he came to known the voting rights act passed by congress with rod bipartisan support. the purpose of today's hearing is to heed president biden's call to action to protect our democracy just as congress he did present johnson's in 1965. two deep leg flawed anti-democratic supreme court decisions undermining the voting rights and shelby county in 2013 and this morning i met with a number of deeply courageous members of the texas house of representatives. they shared their harrowing stories of the impact of the supreme i court's decision in
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texas which has some of the most extreme voting restrictions and the country. efforts to purge the voting rolls including efforts to purge tens of thousands of newly naturalizedhe citizens exercise their constitutional right to vote as americans. they criminalize the right to vote for people in prison for improperly filing a provisional ballot. and mail-in balloting for opportunities to vote for communities like medical professionals come individuals serving in the military -- sadly there areta similar stories of states across the country and those stories include the threat of criminal prosecution to intimidate the exercise of a fundamental right and what's a
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deeply impressed me about the stories i heard that and the number of them are here in the e audience today. it's their exercise of rights. their exercise of rights as american citizens. we cannot let these attacks on democracy stand. the voting rights act was immensely successful and they were able to use the voting rights act -- the voting rights act he came known as the crown jewelco of the civil rights movement and in subsequent decades thee voting rights act was reauthorized five times with bipartisan support but beginning in the 1980s the court began
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to chip away at his protection and on july 1 the supreme court struck this latest -- citing the power section to the voting rights act for the democratic national committee. e the partisan decision was a stunning display of a judicial overreach and section 2 of the leading rights act plainly required the memberss of every racial group had equal voting opportunities. as justice kagan said in her powerful dissent the majority did not like the statute congress " road so it quote roas its ownwn set of rules limiting section 2 from multiple directions end quote.
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a koala -- follows the equally devastating 5-4 decision and shelby county in 2013 and following shelby county states have been free to pass voting restrictions without preclearance to assess whether thee changes are racially discriminatory. and in 2021 alone 17 states already passed 28 laws to restrict voting rights with 21,000 polling places nationwide that have been eliminated since shelby county in millionsbe of voters have been purged from the voter rolls. the supreme court is at the low point of legitimacy when its decisions undermine the institution of our democracy. and shelby county the supreme court has methodically
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undermined all the tools congress crafted in the voting rights act despite the discrimination in voting. the right to vote should never be a partisan endeavor not in this great country the united states of america but if the senate is unable to meet this moment and reauthorized it a cause of republican opposition to border protection passed with overwhelming i partisan support of over 50 years. we are forced to consider all of our options including eliminating the filibuster. i have long been in favor of the filibuster before my first bow to -- both as a member thed united states senate as a member of 12 that eliminated the
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filibuster but i've seen over the past 10 years one by one many of my colleagues reached the same in conclusion that reform is necessary because the truth is that voting rights aren't bipartisan. they are widely supported throughout american society on left, right-center in private and public sectors to polling shows the vast majority of voters support equal access to the ballot box and just today more than 160 companies have released a public letter of support for the john lewis voting rights advancement at protecting the right to vote is a matter of lifting up to america'ss founding ideals that our government derives its just power from the consent of the government end quote. a tsunami of voter suppression
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pills on this nation my deepest hope is that today we can renew a bipartisan law protecting voting rights in this country. i turned to the ranking member. >> thank you mr. chairman. as long aide said that vice pays to virtue and in few areas is this more clearly to the y comes to voting rights. today we see democrats giving long emotional speeches about protecting the right to vote for today's congressional democrats do not believe in the right to vote. they do not believe in democracy and they are championing efforts to take away the rights of american citizens. the rhetoric used by chuck schumer and other democrats is consistentlyth inflammatory indd one of the phrases that they'd
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like to use today is jim crow 2.0. ironically and importantly there some truth to what they are saying. we do have legislation pending before congress that would indeed be jim crow 2.0. it's worth asking what was jim crow 1.0 per jim crow 1.0 were series ofwr racist laws that wee written by democrats that were enforced by democrats whose purpose was to prevent the boaters from ever voting democrats out of power. jim crow was offensive and it was racist and bigoted and wrong and the democratic party who wrote the enforced and implemented it. once -- what is jim crow 2.0? the latest effort by democrats to write laws and preventen -- before the senate s
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pending what the authors have entitled for the people act many are rightly calling it the corrupt politicians act are the only objective in the corrupt politicians act to keep politicians and to take away the right of american voters to vote democrats out of power. grub politicians act would strike down every voter i.d. law in the country. 80% of americans support voter i.d. at 60% of african-american support voter i.d. and repeal every one of those laws. mind you democrats are saying we support the right to vote so we are going to take away the decision made by the voters to enact voter i.d. laws. what does the corrupt politician next to? 29 states that prevented valid
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harvesting. dallas harvesting is the practice where you send operative collective ballotsce f others so a paid operative for example from the dnc will go into nursing, collect hundreds of ballots from seniors, some of may no longer be competent to makeke a decision and the recent 29 states have prohibited is that it invites fraud and it's very simple. for that operative with a diminished capacity for them to vote the ballot they way they wanted to and if someone has the temerity to vote for the other side the corrupt operative canan throw that valid in the trash. if you cared about the integrity of the election you'd want to stop valid harvesting but what does the corrupt politicians act to? it strikes down every law that has to do with valid harvesting and mandated nationwide. get the democrats to say they protect protect the right to
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protect the rights of a belief is whether they want to strike down what the voters chose to adopt which is protecting the integrity of their elections? corrupt politicians act automatically registers to vote every single person interacts with the government. that means if you get an employment check or welfare check raise have a driver's license or you go to public or private university bingo you are automatically registered. what is the predicted in fact intended consequence of that? that millions of illegal immigrants would be automatically registered to vote. in fact corrupt politicians act explicitly immunizes the state officialss who would be registering illegal immigrants about it when you register millions of illegal immigrants to vote you are stealing the right to vote from american citizens. that is not protecting the right to vote. that is stealing the right to vote. the correct politicians act
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mandates all across the country be allowed to go because democrats have made the decision that millions of illegal immigrants and millions of fowl and send murders and rapist are running they believe they are likely to vote for democrats. just. a moment ago the chairman said that the voting rights legislation should not be partisan. the corrupt politicians act is nakedly partisan and the federal election commission when it was enacted was designed to be bipartisan. what does the corrupt politicians act to? it makes a partisan and makes it three democrats into republicans. so chuck schumer would have the federal elections agency as an attack dog to use as a political weapon not to protect integrity not to follow the law but to ensure that democrats can never be -- that voters don't have the right to vote.
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when congressional democrats talk about shelby county and wanting to make every jurisdiction americans subject to clearance understand what that means. that means your state legislature in your home doesn't have the ability to pass laws concerning voting without getting an unelected bureaucrat from the department of justice to sign off on it first. mind you the disaster joe biden is not made in senate, chris has confirmedis extreme partisans to the department of justice kristin clarke who is a left-wing radical activist would be in charge of voting across the country with the ability to stop an elected legislator from passing laws concerning voting. i ask do you actually believe the rhetoric from democrats if you want to protect the right to vote why the would you say you can't vote in less than elected democrat is not accountable to the people that it's okay.
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this is not about the right to vote. you've heard some strange at rhetoric about the supreme court decision i tell you i was proud to lead an amicus brief for 11 senators and they break his case. the state of arizona prohibited valid harvesting because ballot harvesting is fraud in its corrupt. the supreme court by a vote of 6-3 agreed with the position that i advocated on behalf of 11 senators that states have the authority to protect the integrity of their elections. we should protect everyone's right to vote and i will know by the way the civil rights decision is legislation that's been adopted in us of our rights act of 1964 is significantly greater percentage of republicans voted for it than did democrats. 82% of republicans in the senate voted for this or attacked in 1964 and 69% off democrats.
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we should protect the right to vote and that means not striking down comments and voting of integrity laws and that means not subjecting the state legislatures to oversight by an elected bureaucrats. that means protecting the right to vote for everyone regardless of race regardless of ethnicity and one of the ways we protect the right to vote is enacting commonsense protection to stop that right from being stolen. an unfortunate congressional democrats are not interested in doing that. >> thank you senator cruz. i understand some of the other members want to make an opening statement. senator leahy you are recognized. >> thank you, thank you. we have heard the rhetoric and the reality and i look at my
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state which has some of the most open voting anywhere both in how you can qualify and who can vote and we do everything possible for open voting times of voting, mail-in voting and does is give a partisan result? it goes back and forth. it's also the only state that selected one democrat u.s. senate. i have no problems with the way we do it but we also have one of the highest percentages of voter turnout of any statement unit because people know they can vote in their encouraged to vote
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and they will be able to vote. no matter what their nationality, they can vote. it really frustrates me when i see so many states who seem to be doing everything possible to limit the ability of people to vote except for the particular ones that they want. mr. chairman i thank you for holdingar this hearing. about what we have to do to restore the voting rights act in response to the supreme court effort to cripple it. it's one of his this party's greatest legislative achievements that is enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support democrats and publicans alike are virtually its entire existence. so it's an affront to the role of congress to the decisions that of vetted this law making a
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democracy where millions are shut out and these decisions want to shut them out again. the decision a few weeks ago didn't surprise me. it's the same playbook as the disaster shelby county decision of 2013 were a partisan majority of the court are placed congress is clear bipartisan will with its own section of the voting rights act. the decision ignored the well-established attempt and vented seemingly out of the thin air new hurdles effectively strangling -- let's be clear section 5 in section 2 of the vra is not an exercise in judicial nibbling surround the margins that was somehow -- a few things.
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section 5 and section 2 are vital organs of the law. section 5 empowers thehe justice department to stop discriminatory changes to voting procedures and taking -- from democrats and republicans in the past no matter which party held the presidency. section 2 empowers ordinary americans to seek redress in court against voting changes discriminating against minority voters so the partisan majority of the supreme court new tattoo is doing with section 5 and section 2 of the act. the vra ishe on life-support and we the people are left with very few ways to protect their precious right to vote. empowered by the shelby county
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decision and the former president they climax of the 2020 election was stolen from him. dozens of states rush to enact voter suppression laws. literally tens of thousands of americans are having their right to vote chip away so it's already a four alarmwa fire for americans and with the brnovich decision -- section 2 declares open season to suppress americans voting rights with impunity. i don't think we should sit idly by. those who argue it's a partisan exercise could use a little history lesson. since its original enactment in 1965 the vra's corpus provisions
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have been rasterized repeatedly five times, five times and overwhelmingly republicann and democratic votes in congress. president nixon, reagan george bush all signed the vra reauthorization into law which was a landmark law for our democracy. i voted to reauthorize it four times throughout my service in the senate and i sat with democrats and republicans in doing that. in fact i went back to see how many republicans voted the same way i did how many democrats. the most recent voting rights vra rasterization was in 2006.
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the vote was 98-0 two let me repeat that. 98-0 so i think it's pretty clear every republican in every democrat in the senate voteder r it and you have a lot of republican senators who are serving today who voted yes. i just suggest everybody checked the past before arguing this and what is a partisan effort is thi court's decision of shelby county.e i offered to champion the bipartisan voting rights advancement act and push to enact rights to wrist or the voting rights act. a republican friends -- so i will put my full statement of record. mr. chairmanan i appreciate your courtesy. spent thank you senator leahy
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are the way to deduce the witnesses. josé garza joins us remotely. yes more than 40 years of experience in law dealing almost exclusively with federal law. his practice is focused on governmental entities and federal litigation including the first and 14th amendment issues redistricting federal voting rights and civil rights. mr. garza recently retired as litigation director for texas rio grande legal aid and is currently a voting rights counsel for the mexican-american legislative caucus and is in private practice. mr. support inez represents latino voters and voting litigation involving mr. ken cuccinelli, ken cuccinelli gives a lawyer served
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as a politician and national chairman of election transparency initiative coalition formed in 2021 to restore confidence in elections and eliminate posts reform by democrats. mr. cuccinelli served for the trump administration is the acting your of u.s. citizenship and immigration services and then as the acting deputy secretary for the department of homeland security. jenai nelson is associated director of the naacp and the defense fund and continues to cutting-edge scholarship on domestic and comparative election law theory. she received her b.a. from new york university and her j.d. from ucla school of law. after graduating from law school
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ms. nelson clerk on the northern district of illinois and the eighth circuit. a senior at turning with a nonpartisann education to promoe transparency of government politics and law. prior to judicial watch was a lawyer in private practice with government with asian regulatory matters and commercial litigation. he's an active member of the federalist society of law and public policy and was appointed to the united states election assistance commission board of advisers. professor richard hasen is chancellor professor of law and political science at the university of california irvine. he is aimed nationally recognized expert inti election law and campaign finance
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regulation. he writes as well in the areas of legislation statutory interpretation and torts. he has a b.a. degree with the highest honors from uc berkeley and j.d., m.a. and ph.d. in political science from ucla. he clerked on the 9th circuit andrs the civil appellate practice. we will begin my swearing-in the witnesses as where custom on the judiciary committee and then proceed to opening statements. if you would please rise. do you solemnly swear the testimony that you will give is thee whole truth, the full truth truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?
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mr. garza if we couldd begin wih you and we know you are testifying remotely and then mr. nobile and mr. hasen. >> ranking member thank you so much for allowing me to come before the committee and testify on these important issues. what i would like to do this afternoon is focused on the impact of these changes to these laws. my client, i think it's important to start with the impact of shelby county. in 2013 with decision and shelby county taking out section 5 of the voting rights act the voter
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i.d. law in texas became enforceable and was immediately enforced. the lawsuit was filed on behalf of a poor or minority texans and i also representative -- in that case and in the process of going forward with that case we secured testimony and discovery a decision declaring that the statute the way it was written at that time discriminated against latino and african-american and elder votes. the district court joined the enforcement of that law. the state of the texas appeal that law to the fifth circuit and secured a stay.
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one of our clients -- in extremely poor texan and he testified before the court and the courts sided with his testimony but regarding the difficulty that he and hishe h family have had in extreme poverty and the burden it would take for him to secure a new versa 2 to get to be able to use the i.d. that was required by the state. that was part of the evidence that was presented. in interviews with the plaintiffs that we presented to the court they talked about thef importance of voting and talked about going on election day to the local polling sites where everyone knew each other and the pride that he took going to cast
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his ballot on election day. there was an election that was scheduled right after the decision came out and mr. latta was able to vote with the injunction the court had entered however he was unable to vote in that election and that was f the first election in his long life that he ever missed. eventually a decision from the fifth circuit is found the voter i.d. law violated section 2 of the voting rights act or it unfortunately before the decision became final and before the remedy was imposed mr. latta passed away.
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here we have in real life a gentleman who is a veteran who enjoyed voting is a function of hisot citizenship more than anything else and he missed the last election because the law that had been found to discriminate against minorities under section 5 and blocked by section 5 was allowed to go forward in the shelby county decision. even afterer the district court determined that itec would viole section 2 it was allowed to go forward again by the order from the fifth circuit. the assault on minority voting that i've witnessed in my 40 years of litigation continues today with restrictive voting laws that are putting proposed legislature limiting the time
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for voting that has no purpose except to limit the number of people who can vote. thank you. >> thank you mr. garza. mr. cuccinelli. could you turn on your microphone? >> thank you for inviting me here today but i'm ken cuccinelli mr. busy attorney generalrn of virginia and currently serve as a national chairman of the election transparency initiative where we work everyday to help improve transparency security accessibility and accountability of elections in every state so every american regardless of partyi' or race is has confidene in the outcome of every election. to begin with the state seek to address the shortcomings in our election systems that would help to get beyond thece hyperbolic d
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rivalrous rhetoric that each and every ruler procedures not only an onerous restrictions but allegedly knee-jerk in the race is pretty lee given in america today it's easier to vote than ever before. imagine an election with just a table with a stack of empty ballots. thedy is dispensing ballots. anyone who comes along to fill out alex no one is watching drop those ballots into a drop docs. for good measure will mail a blank ballot so every single name on her outdated poll. no one would trust the outcome of that supposedly and restricted s voting process. we need rules time place and manner rules. only citizens can vote, reasonable rule. citizens have to register. registrars had k to keep poll
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books on the data. one ballot per registered voter reasonable rule enforceable transparency is required so are your one can see the election is clean and secured from start to finish every step of the way. it's a reasonable rule. ensuring each voter is who they say they are a reasonable rule that the carter baker commission recommended an overwhelming majorities of americans supported. voter i.d. has been reticulated politicized by the radical left propaganda machine. yet despite six months of media assault on the basic commonsense need for voter i.d. the american people have been unmoved in their overwhelming support for the new sick election integrity measure.ur it might explain why some very high-profile per founders of the false voter i.d. is racist propaganda like stacy abrahamson suddenly flip-flopped to get on the right side of the public.
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on the basic mechanics of how election should be best to run when you take the discussion out of the over charged political atmosphere of today americans tend to agree on what it takes to run good elections. we have seen that one doesn't need fraud to shake confidence in an election and does anyone remember bush vs. gore? florida's election system was held up as a sad joke. and competence election breakdowns untrustworthy machines haphazard and consistent rules. americans confidence was shaken. it in 2000 the left was screaming about lack of confidence in her elections in 2016 and again in 2018. highly-regarded pollster scott rasmussen wrote an articlede ths year where he recorded while 31% of americans lack confidence in america's war in the correct person as president following
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the election of 2020, 26% held the same view after the election of 2016 and there's not much n overlap between those two groups. here in the u.s. senate you can learn from florida. howw did the people how did people afford or respond to to the shocking relevé steps is helpful for j it -- for their election system was. they fixed the laws and procedures andve many parts of e state to improve the quality of their personnel. and are working to upgrade and improve their election systems but it's important that washington not step in to dictate its own one-size-fits-all approach that is really more about control of elections i won party that achieving the confidence of the american people and the outcome of our elections. the first and most important thing the senate can do is to stick with the voting rights act in its current form to fight actual discrimination where it occurs as noted in brnovich and
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not go beyond it to a partisan federal takeover of our election.. one need only look back at florida 20 years after bush vs. gore when much of the country suffered election break downs in their state. florida the third largest state in the largest swing state smoothly tallied its votes with no significant complaints from either side. citizens can have confidence in their elections but only if the federal government doesn't force them to eliminate the basic rules of fair and accurate elections that are proposed with asp one and is rumored with the next round of the john lewis bill. thanku. you. >> thank you very much and i apologize if i -- and are qualifications that you are former attorney general which is particularly egregious for one who is former attorney general myself. >> i appreciate that. >> and we have another attorney
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general, former attorney general that tie is here. we are in the middle of votes right now and i'm going to ask senator cornyn to preside while i go and vote and senator cruz will be voting as well. in order they will be ms. nelson, dr. nobile and professor hasen nehro believed to be back hopefully by the time you are done. we look forward to questions. thank you. c thank you committee members. my name is jenai nelson founded byby thurgood marshall and fighting to defend the voting rights of black citizens were for 80 years. her countries sordid history of
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racial discrimination in voting is pressing the future and functioning of her multiracial multiethnic democracy. since the implement of 2013 shelby county decision disabled section 5 voting suppression against black voters and other marginalized groups has metastasized at alarming rates. now the decision in the consolidated brnovich cases a singular force and a national reach that minimizes the right to vote based on discriminatory intent or discriminatory results on account of race. the brnovich decision improperly and physiologically departs from section 2. ignores -- and severely curtailed what congress intended and is just as kagan stated the
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new guidance by the conservative court majority are quote mostly made up fact there's an mostly inhabit a long result in quote in other words the guide poster on board from truth. for example he expressed text of section to which requires an equal opportunity to vote instead asked whether a state's entire system sufficiently is open to all. contrary to any prior interpretation of section 2 and to several other factors that originated by this very body aptly called the senate -- which have guided did litigation for decades. another guidepost is comparing a challenge voting restriction to 1980 to0 nearly four years ago
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when congress amended section 2 to correct the courts previous reading ofti the statute in the city of paul bill versus bolton. this benchmark -- the purpose of section 2 which is to prohibit on equal footing opportunities and racial groups and not to impose 1982 as a reference point for evaluating current law.. in other brnovich -- government actors can disproportionally burdened the voting rights of disenfranchised racial groups so long as government has made the theoretical and the even assist stated she'd interest in combating voter fraud. this threatens to return or nation to the time when states adopted neutral voting laws under the. of the ballot but with the intent of excluding black voters from the voting process.
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not only does this guide posts post find a supported has no basis in the records. arizona cannot point to anyy voter fraud that justifies this law. study of the 834 million ballots passed in elections between 2,002,014 found at least 35 critical allegations of in-person voter fraud. by contrast there are voluminous examples of proliferating racist donation voting during the same period. rein short this unscrupulous decision disregards the purpose and the court fundamentally disagrees disagrees is with congress's views of its enforcement power toy legislate broadly to protect the right to vote from racial racial discrimination present a short attempt to rewrite in weekend section t 2 resulting in a pocketable costs to our
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democracy. since the t disabling of section 5, section 2 has been the primary defense against discriminatory abridgment. in 2020 loan lbf filed five cases under section 2 and a filed two more this year. in the first five years following shall be an impressive 61 were filed under section 2. it's been eight years since the chief justice expressly invited congress to update section fives preclearance formula to reflect traditions. brnovich has issued its own tacit imitation for congress to act and it is within congress's power in the west today that i wasn't making a 82 to reject the supreme court's latest section to initiate bold legislation to protect the right to vote. the texas senate legislators took the rare measure of leading a special section to protestto e
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discriminating -- discriminate terry bill. the urgent need of congressional action to upgrade with an unequivocal mandate to protect the right to vote from partisan excess and racial discrimination could not be more pronounced in as a person first anniversary of the passing of the late congressman and civil rights martyr john lewis i urge you to do everything in your power to protect the right to vote. what he describes as precious almost sacred in the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in a democracy. thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. nobile. saying thank you senator cornyn and ranking member blumenthal ranking member cruz and senator blumenthal. my name is russell of mine and i
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take a privilege of any age -- i got left off his line for section 2 in section 5 and hundreds of cases however the country before it was in private practice. i was an attorney at the department of justice and the two statues that are in question today. i party submitted my testimony my written testimony and testified before the house so i will try not to repeat the things i've previously put in the record but there is one thing i'd like to emphasize for my written testimony and that is the new standing given to the attorney general under the proposed john lewis act. that is a sea change for the department of justice. there is no limit on it then i would urge precautions by the senate to let it that seriously. i have scoured the internet and i've yet to find a single explanation from anyone as to why the attorney general after two and 70 years needs to
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suddenly start weighing in on 14 mma cases. as you begin trying to devise how they revise shelby county and brnovich cases i would stress in both cases questions in some of the discussions plans the two cases together but they are two distinct cases with two distinct opinions for the last 15 years basically the same two trends transit election lawsus producing one trend with basically those growing what i now realize is political race theory interpretation to the voter rights act and also you have this explosion of both denial cases that he they didn't have until approximately 2008. both cases come until recently i never thought about having characterize some of the interpretations of the vote in ryczek but having seen the
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materials i understand where they emanate from an infected people i've previously worked with -- to be sure the people that did support the people i worked most closely with theyce were and sincere and helping to force a lot to improve racial relations but that is the case were around. i truly believe coming up with a up with banov onguard interpretation of the voting right is a -- and undermines the ability to enforce civil-rights law in america. thisod mindset was handling of e 2011 redistricting cases in texas which i was a member of the trial team on. as you may recall texas opted to file for preclearance in the district court of washington d.c. and there was a trial date. at the outset the department determined which districts
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qualified. as part of that is part of its public position that the department took and i want to be careful to not disclose any privileges but as far as the position they took they lump together asian splats and latinos into a nonwhite district that was essentially a tripartite coalition district. of these groups have in common? they voted natalie fay may have in common. the primary and the general election and elections in other cases, other offices they did not put together but they got lumped l together. so by doing that you basically turn of section 5 district into an ideological district. snobby racial district or protected district by people being dashed to turn it to an ideological district. and ofof course one of the thins
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that is lost in that discussion is that minorities are not homogenizeri groups that you can lumped together based on the fact that they are white but coalition theories -- civil rights laws often assume it is but coalition district assumes the entire group is racist and you basically put everyone together. at some point the vr ca system becomes an ideological protection system. in that case it was created to protect a democratic tripartite coalition district. the other -- his proliferating is devoted not cases which was touched on and i'm running out of time here so want to make sure i get everything. the provisions in their the committee doesn't object i would
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like to take some extra time to finish my comments on those denial claims which the brnovich case discusses. the new section under dashed and tell brnovich came about. brnovich involved regulations that control who could handleoua ballot and were you voted and those are regulations that have been around for quite some time. >> thank you very much. i will start since they chairman and ranking member -- i'm sorry we have another one. excusexc me for faster hasen. we are in a hybrid fashion and i didn't realize we had forgotten you. >> thank you very much. ranking member cruz members of the subcommittee thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today to speak about the supreme court's recent decision inry brnovich versus te
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nasa committee a case where outside of the con text of reducing in. the opinion by justice emil alito for the conservative majority ignores the relevancy of the voting rights act and ford's congress's intent. let me begin with some history. a component of the act that congress passed in 1965 called section 5 required dates and localities with a history of racial discrimination in voting to as the h o is department of justice work with supreme court of washington d.c. for -- this preclearance requirement requires the jurisdiction to show minority voters were not made worse off by the change. congress prevented states from passing the restriction rules when courts struck down the old ones to prevent backsliding to worse conditions for voting. the concept of hbo has long been retrogression all. the shelby county decision felt
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it was no longer constitutional and infringed on the state right to = 20 bravo section 5 stopped dead but it wasn't not deal with this from another tory laws on the books. some litigants try to use section to the act to attack restrictive vote rules that allows the city of mobile require proof of discrimination. congress agreed to that interpretation and passed it. this revision reject it a impact.e it says they are not equally open to participation and members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participatert in e process and to elect representatives of their choice. in 1982 amendment creates a broad statute which congress
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looked at the totality ofst circumstances including socioeconomic conditions which could make minority voters spacex to barriers to voting as well as neutral justification for state or passing restrictive voting rolls. and tell brnovich it never interpreted to not cases in whichti a state and locality mas it harder for minority voters tv register to vote. lower courts set a tough standard for returning state law for her purpy cases so for example the fifth circuit one of the countries most conservative court held a ruling that texas does restrict voter identification law in section 2 but then went texas amended its law in response to law to make it t less onerous the fifth circuit called it no longer in section 2. ..
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1982 senate report accompanying the passage of the voting rights act amendment brnovich offered , nonbinding so-called guideposts for decisions. the act more as roadblocks for voting rights plaintiffs. giving restrictive voting laws numerous ways to defeat section two claims. one guidepost holds that if a voting practice was not in practice in 1982 -- nothing in section two's text, history or precedent supports a 1982 benchmark when early voting was scarce and volter registration difficult. this in fact the opposite. non- retrogression cap states are making voting worse. it encourages rolling back to
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the standards set in 1982 as a baseline. the guideposts is the totality of the circumstances on its head. under tenuous nest, the state passed a voting law it proves it's a real justification and not a pretext as justice kain expense in her dissent throughout american history election officials having certain anti- interest using voter suppression laws. it's just the opposite repeatedly said voting laws could not be justified by voter fraud any fraud on the court has made it hard to bring the voting system by relying on racial discriminatory content of voting rolls. congress should reverse the statutory decision through carefully crafted legislation for justice congress has done
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in the past approving voting rights renewals by broad bipartisan majority including on 2006 legislation. scope of congress' power especially because statements appear to be a threat for new voting legislation f unconstitutional. thank you for your time look for to the opportunity to answer questions. >> thank you very much. youse know, i want to begin by asking you about the chief justices role. i know you are familiar with historyth here in 1982 john roberts was a young attorney and special assistant and president reagan's department of n' justice.
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voting restrictions under section two must meet the burden of adopting insufficient according to the court's decision to show it had discriminatory impact to the public archives advocating against and effects test as it was known the court agreed with city a mobile and passed a revised section two that may clear plaintiffs could have discriminatory impact is it a vindication now chief justice
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roberts of policy preferences, which congress rejected outright and revising section two in 1982. >> thank you for the question senator perdue believed john roberts shown ats hostility towardss under the voting rights act two. as you said, back in the 1980s he was the point person for the reaganre administration. it was clear congress was going to reauthorize section five of the voting rights act. the big fight was over the language of section two was going to be. a big pressure to overturn the statutory decision and the city of mobile which had effectively rendered section to meaningless as a standard. and congress, especially the senate report went out of its way to create a functional
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localized tests to figure out our minority voters being deprived the same opportunities other votes for the political process. john roberts fought againstip that. shows his hostility to broad expections leading the court in striking down the provision. he's essentially gotten what he got in 1982 just many decades something like the intense test brother section two is not completely eviscerated the burden, the roadblocks the court has put in front of minority plaintiff should not be underestimated. thank you. >> i like to ask
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you about the extraordinary events taking place in texas. i want to preface it by quoting an exchange that took place in the supremebu court hearing between justice barrett and michael carver in her represented the arizona republican party. question by justice barrett was quote what is the interest of the arizona rnc and keeping count of precinct to ballot rules on the books. and michael's question answer was it puts us the republican party at a disadvantage relative to democrats.
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and in that event that case pretty obvious acknowledgment was that the goal was in effect suppression of votes. so my question to you is, in texas for a second time in the last three months democrats in the state legislature walk out to prevent passage of a voter suppression bill put forward by republican majority. several of those representatives as i mentioned earlier visited me in my office this morning. the proposed legislation has a number of provisions including limiting voting hours, id requirements and other vote by mail. in yourn experience, how would enacting laws like this one of color in texas like the clients you have in texas.
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to avoid voteris fraud. there's been no evidence associated with that. instead there has been evidence of the measures limited and restricted have been enacted by local election officials would be able to vote. that has increased voter turnout especially among populations of color. it does not seem to be a nonpartisan grounding for the purpose behind theseg provisions.
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they will have an adverse impact on minority voters. they will make it harder to vote. that seems to be their purpose. that seems to be consistent with the history in texas where voting is more considered a privilege than a right than i have seen over and over again being interpreted thank you for the ranking member and will have his next question. >> thank you,, mr. chairman. good to see you again. 64% of voters including a majority of black and hispanic voters want to strengthen voting safeguards from preventing voter fraud breed that's what your organization is dedicated to doing.
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if the act or to passive strike down every voter id law in the country. with that protect the right to vote? >> know it undermines it. and it undermines confidence in the outcome of elections as well. which is also a problem. this is a lawyers committee so i will use a court analogy. it is not enough the justice system produce the highest degree of accurate outcomes possible. that must be understood and viewed to produce those outcomes sors that america can have confidence in his justice system. the same is true of our election system. it not only needs to work correctly by which we mean producing an accurate vote count of legally eligible voters, but also needs tote be clearly seen to do so by winners and losers. so we can have confidence in the outcomeme of the elections.
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i rattled off several 2016, 18 had the concern that had good reasons for over the years. sue fraud and since it is texas the current attorney general of texas, senator respectfully, spoke recently about 500 plus voter fraud prosecutions in texas. it's not that it doesn't. [inaudible] how is it possible doesn't tells voter fraud does not occurred anywhere in the universe. >> and of course it has reran an election because it goes both ways. asn a republican operative committing fraud in notkcurrant that was singular. >> it was but absentee votes are particularly known to be
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particularly vulnerable to fraudulent tactics. so 29 states prohibit ballot harvesting the correct published at that strike down every one of those laws. what is striking down the restrictions on ballot harvesting with that protect the right to vote? >> absolutely not. undermines both the right and the confidence in the outcome of elections. it does double harm. we have also seen lots of overwroughtmo rhetoric texas integrity law the georgia integrity law, indeed we had a few minutes ago house democrats in the a texas legislature fled the state of texas were not doing their jobs, who are hiding out here in washington and engaged in a political stunt. the attacks on that legislation is strikingly missing specifics. so for example the texas election is being debated right now requires voter id
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from voter ballots. does that protect the right to vote customer quest met absolutely it's also in person voting as welll but something that's happening in other parts of the country with the growth of mail in voting. the texas law this being debated prohibits officials unrequested mail in ballots from taking and giving them belting they didn't ask for one brit is that a provision that protects the right to vote? >> absolutely. i give you a northeast example in connecticut. where their secretary of state mailed out ballots their outdated in the primary election and hundreds of thousands of the 3.6 million if i remember my numbers correctly of those belts were returned with the suppose it voter not at that residence. that is an enormousup error rate
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to just lob a blank opportunities to participate at clearly ineligible the texas has cameras and live streaming and mandate signature verifications cameras in large counties. does that protect the right to vote asgh well? what definitely protects the right to vote a wide variety of circumstanceses not just when they know they're being watched they behave better. it's an excellent tactic. >> we have heard some overwrought rhetoric about the supreme court's decision is not five -- four oh six -- three. this heard democrats on
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committee suggesting this was outrageous it was far too broad, is contrary to law. am i correct that the biden department of justice filed a letter with the supreme court in which the biden department of justice reviewed its prior brief in that case and said, and i quote, the department has now concluded that, although it does not disagree with the conclusion int that brief that neither arizona measure violet section two result test. so thet. biden d.o.j. explicitly agrees arizona law prohibit ballot harvesting did not violate the voting rights act is that right? >> that is correct senator. >> explained to me how democratsio are saying this is a horrible radical right-wing crazy conclusion that upholding theor arizona law
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cannot be done consistent with the voting rights act. is the biden department of justice and crazy right wing radical group? >> probably not but time will tell. i feel confident we can predict they are not rated yet it seems erratic were getting from her democratic colleague does not match reality. mr. chairman ask unanimous consent the letter filed by the biden department of justice and the burn of educates explicitly agreeing the arizona laws should withstand scrutiny under the voting rights act. i asked that be entered in the records of this hearing. >> without objection. >> thank you. senator hirono. thank you, mr. chairman. for professor heston, and the opinion seems to be applying to the totality of
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circumstances introduces what he calls guideposts that should apply to the application of the law. things like the size of the burden imposed by a challenge that is standard practice in section two was amended in 1982. section two of the voting rights act. >> thank you for the question senator. these five guideposts would make it significantly more difficult for either the department or justice or private plaintiffs to win theirr suits. it's important to end up to understand these guideposts as justice kagan said in her defense -- mike if you are trying out what did congress
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mean when it passed section two revised version in 1982 we know exactly what congress means because congress and the senate report that very influential gave a list of by believe 13 factors to consider. justice did not draw from those factors even though all of the lower court have done so he made up these factors. and there's less guideposts and more as kinds of roadblocks or defenses the state can put up with restrictive voting laws. the key point is for a court that says it's committed to textualism, for it with the words meant, we know what these words meant this was not doing that if looking to try to roll theha clock back and make a significant harder for winning the lawsuit. >> these are not found anywhere in the section? >> that is correct.
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that is why justices called it extracontractual. when the court does this, especially justice alito sends out signals like this, which resultss in more lawsuits that are brought about by people when it gets to the supreme court will be decided in their favor. when the court does us are they not writing law themselves? >> it is a semantic question of when the courts right lob versus interpret law by the court did not give a fair interpretation of what section two means. in fact it's even worse. justice grotius and thomas in the private plaintiffs under section two which is contrary to how they understood for decades. and fun top of that justice made harder to bring claims,
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claiming intentional discrimination under section two. there cannot connected to the text, the history or the precedents of uniformly understood what section two meant before this case. >> so for you, professor and ms. nelson and mr. gar zero. it is very clear 13 states immediately pass will be recalled voter suppression laws. and now over 400ed of these laws are being considered or enacted and various states. what should we expect to see that the supreme court has weakened a section two of the voting rights act itself? and why is itig so important that we enact the voting rights act and for the people act in the midst of hundreds of voter suppression bills
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that are being enacted and considered an states across the united states. >> i will say briefly the most important thing i thought congress could do in terms of the voting rights act was to restore preclearance which is what the advancement act does. congress is much more to do in terms of revitalizing section two. telling the court as congress had to tell the supreme court in 1982 it got sectioned to wrong. misunderstood what it meant, but it needs to reverse that and impose a standard that is one that canrc be enforced to protect plaintiffs across the country. >> the other two like to weigh in? i would like to hear your views despite the fact hope the chair will allow theut other two witnesses to comment.
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>> i am happy to respond. section two and section five work in tandem to protect our democracy from the worst threats that emanate from the history of racialized voter suppression inio this country. section five was a prophylactic measure that help to prevent discrimination before it began in section two. the discrimination got through section five or emanated from jurisdictions that were not covered by section five were able to be through section two. as a result of the burn of educates there is nowal an even more barrier that existed before. it was never a replacement. it's costly it is protracted
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and adds mr. garcia which has litigated the voter id case noted elections come and go and cast the ballots in elections with no recourse when we rely solely on section two. now we have a section two that's even more difficult to enforce. we did before the people right and advancement act to restore the full robust protections of the voting rights act. and to set national standards for basic ways in which americans can cast their ballots and have faith they will be counted on an equal basis. >> when she like to add anything? >> i would echo what the professor. [inaudible] i would also like to point out, i'm sorry, i would also like to point out there already has been an avalanche of voting changes that are
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being proposed in response to thesefi modifications of the voting rights act by judicial decree. and you know, this last decision by the supreme court is just the culmination of a numberas of cases that have weakened the impact of section two in the ability of plaintiffs to bring that. >> the chair has leftward i would like to call on senator, i like to ask? >> thank you. >> let me issue a news about a supreme court decision. it happens all the time. every time the court issues a decision, lawyers have
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different opinions about the correctness of the analysis and the outcome. but his former justice jackson said a supreme court is not final because it's right. is right because it is final. under our system they supreme court is the last word on interpreting her constitution and laws. i want to just ask a few questions. there's a lot of discussion of the shelby county case, 2013. what i was here in 2006 mode reauthorize the voting rights act. one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed by the united states congress and the beauty of the voting rights act is it actually worked as a demonstrated in chief justice roberts opinion. the gap between minority voting participation in white voting participation shrunk to almost zero. the fact that 2020 in texas we
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had 66% historic numbers of hispanic and african-american voters participated in the election. it leads me to the conclusion that anybody who wanted to cast a ballot, who is legally qualified to do so had ample opportunity to do so. andas they did so in a very robustpo fashion. but in the shelby county case, chief justice roberts call this preclearance requirement of state voting law changes andan extraordinary remedy under the constitution. because as he pointed out the constitution itself embraces this notion of equal sovereignty among the states. and the federal government put odyssey the federal government under the supremacy clause has the authority to pass laws like section two of the voting
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rights act which remains applicable to the country and state. section five is very different. i gave the federal government the authority to preclear or not changes in state n voting laws without frankly any real justification other than they disagreed with it. this, as i said, was termed an extraordinary remedy. the problem they supreme court identified was that congress did not update the 40-year-old formula for which statess would be affected by the requirement but if it had it would have reflected basically no real difference between minority voting in the 2015 i guess it wass, and anglo voting in that year.
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my conclusion is the voting rights act works pretty darn wellll. in order to gain the system, congress did not update that formula and use the 40-year-old formula, which does not reflect the current reality different states were in different counties were subject to different requirements. so congress retains the authority to update section four with the current reality for the fact of the matter is if they did update the formula in the current reality there'd be norm justification is chief justice roberts opinion erindicates on the preclearance. do you agree with my interpretation already like to correct it or clarify? >> i do agree. i like to embellish it a little bit. the chairman use a descriptive example from the south and the
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voting rights i'm sorry civil rightss era culminated in the voting rights act simply does not exist in america any longer. chief justice roberts said that explicitly in the shelby county case. the voting rights act works for the preclearance, going to use the past tense, worked. the tasks like literacy that exists in the hurdles, poll taxes put in place and some the states that were covered by preclearance were wiped out. they were eliminated. and the barriers to registration and participation were wiped out, were eliminated. to t register up to the level of the rest of the country, yes. that happened decades ago. including before 2006 by the way. we have over 60% voter registration in every election since 2004.
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i think you have to go back decades before keep for defined that sameor accomplishment. so it worked, that was recognized in shelby county. one of the reasons shelby county is correct simply because the supreme court was dealing c with facts and not hysteria we are hearing an awful lot of and condemning these cases. >> if shelby county of hispanics and minorities of the 2013 there's notth been a requirement of the states were previously affected. seems to me this is no longer about race or voter suppression. your great job of s oneness as attempts to hijack the state election law. the thing that was left out
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taxpayers required to finance elections of e candidates but they disagreed on the policy the six -- one basis. we taxpayers required to pay into thatle election campaign $6 and finance the election of a canada the ardently disagree with. so let me ask just one last question about the so-called voter suppression laws. in texas, we have 17 days of early in person voting. in connecticut the chairman's estate may have zero days of early in person voting. do you believe connecticut is suppressing minority voting by having zero days of early voting as opposed to the 17 days that are available in
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texas or is there some other explanation? >> some input broadly part they are redoing the coverage will be of section five new england will be patient zero. massachusetts, connecticut, all of them the data shows us racial disparities in turnout and registration is worse there center klobuchar as i understand is next remotely. >> very good, thank you very much for thankch you to all of you for being here. the highest voter turnout persistently we have elected democratic governors, republican governors and jesse ventura. one of the things i've learned from that is what is most important people vote on i feel like they are part of the democracy. what really concerns me about these efforts which are blatant attempts to limit the
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freedom is there it literally messing around the foundation of our country. i would start with you because i met today with a number of texas we lead for the people which are you most concerned with. it is a bad bill all the way around. there are prohibitions limiting the timeframe for when people can vote. i think that is concerning. thereou is a misstatement made about how local elected officials are prohibited from sending ballots to voters. there prohibited from sending
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applications for mail in ballots. there are efforts assist people in voting. [inaudible] >> is and also the fact if you have more three pole that you are taking to the polls you have to sign some kind of statement. >> there are restrictions on assisting voters to the polls. assisting voters at the polls. >> also defining your disabilities, is there something in there on that? >> some additional affidavits that need to be filed by the voters. all of things that are included in the bill have been tested and have increased voter participation.
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until there is no evidence of voter fraud regarding these matters. there's increased voter participation. thoseei things will be limited. >> thank youon ms. nelson it's along these lines we've identified a lot of these issues george has passed a law that is kind of unbelievable in some of its provisions but how is the for the people act we know it will help in one important way in identifying those policies and states that have discriminatory conduct going forward which is one of the issues that would be forward-looking. they would have to come before the justicear department for a approval. but for the people act is firmly grounded in the constitution. december been doubted as a
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congress and make an altar provisions governing federal elections. is one of the things that interest me so much about the bill. can you talk about some of the important protections in this and how it would simply create some basic national standards instead ofrd this mass including how we count the ballots after some states including some blue states waiting and not even starting to count them until after the election is over and evans kept in suspense for weeks. anyway, go ahead. >> aythe facts very comprehensive and expansive peace of legislation that equalizes voting across all the states. senator made the point for me in many ways by pointing out this early voting in texas and then in connecticut. we have learned over the course of several decades that expanding opportunities for eligible americans to vote only enhances our democracy. it only invites more people to exercise the fundamental constitutional right.
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it is something we should all be encouraging. before the people act as that by creating a baseline of two weeks of early voting across the country. it also creates a program of automatic voter registration so only eligible americans will be automaticallye registered. it takes the onus off everyday americans you have to register themselves. unlike what senator cruz said earlier, it does not allow people to vote to be registered it's limited to those americans which is a benefit for all americans. it also includes same-day registration as well as online registration. including welcoming under the electorate after they had served their time these are provisions we now note 67% support.
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unlike much of the rhetoric we have heard today the principle of for the people act are overwhelmingly supported by the american electorate. that includes 50% of republican votes at 58% of independent pose and 77% of democratic voters. this shows that this law is not a partisan issue. it is not partisan propaganda. it is an american issue pretty strengthens our democracy across the board. >> i would note your point about people voting after they have completed their sentences, their prison sentences. florida, while electing republican state white actually voted overwhelmingly i think it was 65% to allow people who had completed their prison sentence to vote. i think one of the points we want to make care and i may cheer the rules committee is what you have just done. there is significant
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bipartisan support as we saw during the pandemic for people voting safely in the way they would prefer. that is the core of this bill paid that is why i know we will eventually be successful. so thank you very much all of you. >> thank you center klobuchar, satterlee. >> use served as the attorney general for the state of virginia both before the shelby case and after the shelby case. what can you tell us about your experience with the second progress prior to the shelby decision and then your experience in section two after the shelby decision was rendered. >> there ten is always at least theoretically unreconciled the economy or section two legitimately demands currently in voting watch of the procedures print section five
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demands preclearance state take race into account in for instance redistricting. so after shelby county, a couple of the small number of d.o.j. section two cases caught preclearance states, texas was one in the section under shelby county they were not to c have sub taken race into account but it was explicitly done. until was a catch-22 at that time. that is gone away. but it's gone away for the next set of redistricting of course. the burdens of doing this in complying with preclearance for those who have not participated in it are pretty extraordinary with over 10,000 election districts in this country. if you move the polling place that you vote at, i don't mean you, center if your state moves your polling place here in virginia where ion was, in the firehouse to the
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schoolhouse you had to get federal permission for if you moved it from the cafeteria too the gym you had to get federal permission. >> why did that require >>preclearance? >> everything required preclearance. there's literally no detail of your election system too small to be demanded to be precleared by the federal government. and. of course it's partially a deterrent to making anyg changes. consult evolution of state systems under that circumstance is slower than otherwise would be. that is just speaking to a good government perspective of running the state well. >> açai read hr four, i read it to require preclearance for states and based on mere allegations, not proof of voter discrimination. if that is the case and potentially every jurisdiction every voting jurisdiction could be subject to preclearance is that right? >> that seems to be the point especially with the 25 year
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look back. wouldn't that dramatically exacerbates all it takes is allegations as you note with the attorney general or settlements easy way to your state intoo preclearance under hr four is to sue small election jurisdictions which cannot afford to litigate, settle in ways that are not distant advantageous to them and that settlements count as one of the strikes against the state and locality for bringing it into preclearance with 15 of those over 25 years, which is easy enough to file that many suits. the state is in preclearance. it had nothing to do, nothing to do with disparities and discrimination based on race or any otherer reason. >> is there data that suggests
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combating state enforced voter on and on. >> is now pretty think that's pretty much for the voting rights act suggests. good section five went awayyo whenever is initially enacted you had permanent provision of section two. >> which your experience the voting rights section of the asdepartment of justice consistent with what was just described pre-shall be imposed shelby? >> tickets very granular for the supreme court has intervened a few times until the section how far that goes. but in one of the cases in alabama,th the name is escaping me at this point. they sued over an advocacy group sued over budgetarych changes. i guess that intimate into what he jurisdiction does. that is a set aside change but that should give you insight into granular it will get.
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>> with the potentially every jurisdiction in america be subject to preclearance. >> i would add hr forest two forms of preclearance for they have the traditional version that sometimes gets messed up. it is a national coverage for integrity measures and a new triggering mechanism. and some people may be covered by both. >> they be covered in both respects. in your opinion what are the section two violations that are so rampant that are so pervasive as to warrant preclearance? is there anything to this condition we saw with the initial enactment of the voting rights act and application of of section five. anything like that? >> not currently. as was mentioned settlements are very thin mechanism for
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triggering mechanism. i represent small jurisdictions and represent the state and mississippi voting rights they can cause hundred thousand to million dollars there's all sorts of non- substantive basis for settling these cases that do not involved the dissent degree do not involve showing a federal court. >> department of justice attorneys or did you see department of justice attorneys communicate with outside groups when making decisions whether to bring in any of these cases quest yes they would always go solicit information or insight reviews from advocacy groups in section five. some of the other stuff the influence obviously they know how to do it. they've been doing it for a while for that personal relationships with all of these people they pick up the phone and called them. they beat expedited with processing and things like that pray think a lot of it was thought of the oig report
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from 2013 of which i was there and i could cooperate virtually everything in it. >> and in your view is that voting rights section sufficiently nonpartisan you could say they can make these decisions without any appearance or reality of being outcome driven or politically motivated? >> it is not nonpartisan. as a practical matter it is just not connate set that aside? there are some people in that section her pathologically incapable of setting aside their views. >> senator lee we are going to have a second round i want to enable senator to go and i will call you back with the ranking members permission. >> thank you mr. turner time is limited in hours long i want to have a minimum get in
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one question directed at professor hassan. professor, justice alito like many of my republican colleagues has held himself out to be a challenge of philosophy the basic premise of the philosophy is judges start the words of the statute as they would bewe understood at the time they were written. and they were clear go nofu further. any additional analysis would go beyond the role of the judge and is considered inappropriate and judicial activism. but in writing the majority opinion justice abandoned textualism altogether too reach a conclusion that is entirely divorce and the actual text of the voting rights act. it's late to bear the for the
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conservative majority of the supreme court textualism only applies where it is convenient to reaching the desired case outcome. professor, can you explain how the justice opinion effectively ignores the text of section 202 of the voting rights act? >> thank you, senator. so the first thing i would say is that justice kagan's opinion in the dissent is a much more fateful interpretation of what the words actually say in the context in which they were written. justice has not been as strong of a textual list consistently some of the other conservative justices. we think of justice gore search and thomas especially. including three justices appointed by president trump
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justice kavanaugh wrote and yet this opinion abandons it. theytu came up with these guideposts have absolutely no connection to the text of the statute which is something the often look to. or early versions of section two. again this part of the act was rewritten in 1982 because the supreme court got it wrong in 1980 this is mobile case. that said section two did not cover discriminatory results. congress clearly put it in any honest textural list would say this as kagan explains in her dissent. are the voters treated worse question i gave you can say they're treated worse than any voting law that is what should
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be targeted at. what justice did smoke and mirrors to defeat in this area. quick question for all five of the witnesses. it is a simple yes/no question. i ask that you each respect to my question with a simple yes/no response. the preface of the question is this, when i wasas in high school government class member the teacher teaching us democracyas works best when many eligible people participate. the teacher get it right? yes or no professor hassan. >> yes. >> ms. nelson. >> yes. >> mr. garza? >> yes.
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>> yes and with confidence and transparency. yes. thank you. seems like a simple concept. but i ask it for the record because i have heard far too often not just from several of my republican colleagues this year but for many republican leaders including election officials across the country this supposedly philosophy of all they want to do is make it easier to vote but harder to cheat. the date it suggests the got the harder to cheat down prettyy, good. every study, every investigation has not only documented voter fraud american the exceedingly, exceedingly rare. what my colleagues seem to have forgotten about is this part of the mantra the easier to vote peace. and so i note this is not a hearing on the for the people
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aske , but as the former secretary of state of california having not champion but implement the measures called for in the for the people act policies like automatic voter registration, same date rotor registration. as voting vocation in their county most convenient to them if that's their choice. same date registration and more. scott just good for the voter in terms of improving access. these taken together also help improve election security and protect the integrity election for yes election integrity is a responsibility. we all agree for high school government teacher and all of you said yes government also had a role and responsibility
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of all eligible voters. that is what should be driving the actions of congress and state houses today. >> thank you, senator padilla. senator alia interrupted you in the ranking memberha is no i will let you continue. >> i am stunned with the suggestion, it was made by one the colleagues at moments ago is the involvement of one of the witnesses. justice alito is textualism and original as him as a pretext in order to uphold reprehensible voting practices. this simply is not true. not only is it not true, i believe that statement was made with reckless disregard for his truthfulness. if they are going to come in here and assemble the finest jurists that is ever served on
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the highest court of this country, you better be prepared for. you might disagree with the decision as far as the policy outcome. you mightmi even disagree with the way he read it. i don't, he got it right. but do not come in here and say that because you disagree with that you think he's using it as ati vermeer as a pretext was something reprehensible that is not fair, that is not accurate cheapen the entire process. help those who madegi that suggestiontr will apologize because it's wrong. it's morally wrong you know that's not what happened the last election was biggest election turnout in history.
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if feverish cries of discrimination and voting have been relentless so much so there causing people not only for the facts and the law they are voting in record numbers. i am completely baffled by the hysteria of the left over the state of voting in the country. i see no evidence demanding a federal takeover. nor tracy federal authority to do what they are doing for the constitution whether you like it or not we've all sworn an oath to uphold, protect, defend and we cannot treated as if it were some inconvenient truth. it is not it is the law. and it does not empower us to
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take over elections. likewise, the vast majority of americans support commonsense reforms to election laws. requiring photo identification, banning ballot harvesting of drop boxes the left is lostt its mind does not ballot the voting rights act. they don't. they make that very clear. certainly, it cannot be that any voting requirements are unacceptable. and that is exactly what we have heard at now cm from the left since day one of the congress. it's activists d.o.j. has taken to harassing the states by bringing frivolous cases against them. for trying to do what americans have asked them to do. to make it easier to vote and
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harder to cheat. so, if we are told we cannot make even these basic reforms for the integrity of the elections none mean anything we are all disenfranchised. i went every legitimate vote to count. that cannot happen if he refused to allow states to make these common sense and nondiscriminatory reforms. to determine elections that is make no mistake this that is what this is about. look, you cannot step in and try to impose what really would amount to a defective nation wide preclearance standard. and expect that will pass constitutional muster. as much as people were trying to characterize this as if we
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were living in the immediate post- jim crow era, that is not where we are. the very same practices that prompted preclearance and the need for preclearance in the 1960s are not there. section two is still in place for what actual instances of discrimination take place. those are adequate remedies but have yet to receive a single explanation as to why those are inadequate. i've yet to see a single stretch of evidence indicating there so many section two cases mounting and going on addressed and unresolved as to warrant the fecteau nation wide preclearance. we cannot let it happen it's not constitutional. the arguments we've just heard are patently wrong and unfair, thank you.
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>> thank you, senator. we have a big difference of opinion. but i just want to go back to what the supreme court said about preclearance. nothing was unconstitutional in striking down in shelby county. but it was no' needed anymore. in fact chief justice roberts majority opinion shelby county acknowledge preclearance had worked. senator cornyn just a little while ago said preclearance work. none of them said it's unconstitutional. >> it was and is always unconstitutional i am [inaudible] >> going back to the supreme court opinion, justice roberts said conditions had changed. and in the south there is no
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longer any need for it. frankly, it's late. justice ginsburg said in dissent throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella and a rainstorm because you are not getting wet. well, now we are getting wet. : : county, numerous states rushed elimination of voter registration so i would like to ask because if litigated around iethe country, what is your experience in the way of shelby
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county tax we've seen a rise of the person that is starting beckett section five took away the basic jurisdictions with history of racial discrimination to instruct the jurisdictions would not continue on the basis of race. we clearly do not agree with the outcome but it must be reiterated that the decision is very clear that section five is constitutional, , for is the
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trigger for five and inviting congress to update them to ensure that reflected modern conditions and that's what this act does. update this act with conditions and questions aboutut jurisdictions and findings, actual findings of discriminations and concessions up discrimination when short only those jurisdictions that continue to discriminate on the basis of race are subject to federal preclearance. as constitutional and within enforcement power on the 14th and 15th amendment to require jurisdictions that engage in racial discrimination to submit voting changes for preclearance. it simply an evaluation of whether the changes will happen in impact, it's not punitive are
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finding in and of itself, it's a way for the federal government to ensure our elections are free of racial discrimination. in the absence, we've seen countless violations of the voting rights act. the same day the shelby decision came down in the state of alabama, texas resurrected voting laws compound to discriminatory under section five resurrected from and began the process of implementing them and they have c this impact predicted. we seem copycat legislation of the end of section five and litigating to try to beat those laws back buton litigation is nt a remedy because lessons occur in elected officials are installed and for decisions made
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in racial discrimination cannot be undone and that's why it's imperative this body move forward by chief justice robert and at the invitation of the court based on attempts to reconstruction through two moved forward to clear legislation that's a mandate to protect the right to vote both instructionally section two. >> i think you've made clearly what i think is paramount here, our goal is to restore preclearance process under section five do what it was before and after john lewis voting rights advancement act which would accomplish that if
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supported by a broad array business community leaders and political officials ineligible into the r record a letter signd by 160 suchh companies, companis and countries urgent passage of the john lewis voting rights management act. do you have any questions? >> the chairman said this decision eviscerated section two. i want to confirm what we talked about earlier, is that correct the biden justice department explicitly agreed that the arizona provisions challenged
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were consistent with and satisfied the voting rights act? >> it is correct and if i could add there's not a lot of talk of the justice in this section two opinion but the extent of any burden, the departure insignificant disparity, opportunities for other opportunities to register and vote in the significance of this, that section 211. it is not new. everybody that brings this, you look at the history, the size, the burden and otherca opportunities and it doesn't matter because it's a completely different metrics. but this argument that alito deviated from the text is sort of unfounded.
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>> can you tell this committee about actual jim crow laws? >> i have to hear when i say people like the president of the ussr around the notion of cleaning up elections by saying it's a new jim crow, is offensive to the real thing. it's like people claiming racism as an excuse when there isn't racism to accomplish other goals it diminishes occurrences of actual racism. , virginia and brought part of the 1902 virginia constitution with me. article two, i urge the committee to submit part of the recordco real jim crow laws. article two is aboutre the franchise, property requirements, literacy requirementt, and runs around literacy requirement so whites could get access to the boats where blacks were not. it allows those active in more
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in the confederate states to register to vote regardless or son of such person, it's called a grandfather clause. let me read to you the spirit of the constitution in article nine section 140. white and colored children shall not be taught in the same school. that's what's going on in the 1902 virginia jim crow laws. i brought with me a six paid test from 1958 in georgia, you have to pass this test to register to vote. we give citizenship test for people to become citizens, they are a cakewalk next to this. i wonder if anybody on this committee could name every judge in the judicial circuit you live in. i can't and i was attorney general that's one of the questions on here.
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i submit this as well, this is a real jim crow impediment, both literacy and these tests. you can find is in california, connecticut, delaware, these are real jim crow block. >> which party wrote these laws? >> most universally by the democratat party. >> which party enforced the democrat -- >> which elected officials benefited from the jim crow clause one party control was maintained for decades and decades of the democrat party and jim crow laws were designed to keep politicians from which party in office? the democrat party saturday democrats are at it again, among other locations, subjecting every state election law to be
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able to be vetoed by unelected bureaucrats of the department of justice. unelected bureaucrats can veto a voter id law adopted by state legislature elected by the voters, is not respecting democracy and protecting the right toac vote? >> it's undermining. >> how? >> when the will of the people expressed through elected representatives make policy choices in their sovereign state and federal bureaucrat with the power to undo the entire process, you are vetoing fine unelected person the result and will of elected representatives in that state. they make selections less useful to the people. >> it's impossible to miss why
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the democrats want to givee detailed parcel because the bureaucrats are not just principal nonpartisan of virtue but they are radical leftist activists. the department of justice issued a report detailing perverted citation of the civil rights division and it criticized the voting section for ignoring qualified attorneys environment plenty of lawyers with five left-wing organizations including aclu and naacp. moreover, recent hearing in the house, maureen riordan testified how political the division was. she said she was shocked how they work and the dishonesty she said even after a court sanctioned exploring section
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$594,000. collusive misconduct with aclu organizations, she was urged to continue to strategize with leftist organizations. you worked in this section, is consistent? >> it is. >> can you describe what you saw when you worked in the department of justice. >> i left in 2012 and i was there during the time it was relevant to this report, it was retrospective when it came out but virtually everything in that report, i saw. i know her, i have not talked to her until recently when she's gone out to private practice and i've report respect everything she says and i believe everything she says. it's a way of sorting out political abuse, among people hired since i've left but i have a hard time imagining anything has changed. the culture of the offering and tough to change towards a pretty
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consistent -- >> today's hard left as opposed to voter idd laws, if democrats succeeded in the veto power, or any state be able to pass the voter id law? >> no. >> final question -- senator club chuck and witnessed said if there passed into law no illegal aliens would be registered to vote. is not remotely credible and why? >> no. the draft bill clearly not only what register millions of noncitizens including illegal aliens because they get into state databases, states interact with the people who live in the state so illegal aliens have drivers license, millions.
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they be automatically register. >> the bill doesn't say citizens. as as individuals. there are other provisions, ites criminalizes, worry about criminalcr statutes to intimidae state and local officials with new federal criminal penalties if they ask questions, basically worded if they ask questions. >> registered illegal aliens. >> not only that got, it removes penalties for anyone registered to vote this way from actually voting and elections and denying other americans the quality of the boat i've heardic on a bipartisan basis everyone values. >> is allowing millions, does it protect the right to vote of american citizens? he utterly undermines it c becae
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it cancels out millions of vote on it unpredictable basis. i do not it will be an enormous number and i can think i want a recount race from my state legislature, i remember all the way back to the states race i in and he won by only 6000 votes and we have the current attorney general in virginia won by a few hundred. the difference a return elections is enormous and because it'ss unknowable in ters of numbers, it would got conference of the american people and the outcomes of our elections. >> heard mr. knobel say in effect that justice adhered to the wording of the statute.
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is that your view? >> absolutelyfa not apologizing justice alito, i want to double down and say this is an opinion on more to the text. you can read justices decide which was on for many pages but let me go to one example, one of the factors that the senate recognized in its 1982 report company the revision to put in results test it was violation of section two from continuous justification for it w law so wt it means is that states often states often will use neutral sounding rationales for passing laws like promoting voter
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confidence from a processing the purity of ballot box and when congress decided when it passed section two, you got to see, is a real justification that state comes forward and says we are trying to prevent fraud, he put the evidence from you say where is the evidence? some are justified, i don't think all claims are antifraud, sometimes it's correct but what the senate reports and went section two requires is ask, is this a real reason the state has to be asked for to. reporter: evidence, where's your evidence of fraud? and one of his five, he tells us it's a nonfactor and he says this interest, he says
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explicitly that the state can assert an interest in preventing voter fraud and that not prove voter fraud is a problem. it's anti- textual, it turns section two on its head by letting state get a free pass and at the same time upping the person that's applying to the so if it's only an inconvenience in your benefit is an impact on minority voters under justice alito's interpretation, thus the opposite and those factors were drawn from supreme court decisions predating including white versus register so he'sin not following text, he is doing
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the opposite. this is not number one as a witness has voting rights act 101, it's a perversion of the act and every time i read this, i get angrier have justice has worked the interpretation and turned it into something that protects state from attacks on balls that are discriminatory. >> let me ask you in real time at the time of jim crow but right now we are seeing a tsunami of voter suppression loss in the me just ask you, the laws passed by arizona and florida and georgia and texas potentially that reduce the hours of voting, and person voting, are those laws done by
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republican or democratic legislators?lo >> i think if you look today almost all cutbacks in voting role are being passed by republican election officials so the laws that limit polling places or circumstances of mail in voting or absentee voting or harris county in texas 24 hour balloting, laws that forbid sending unsolicited applications for absentee ballots, not the ballots themselves, all of those laws are by and large
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republican-controlled legislators to proof them, correct? >> correct. >> i think we have it from the lawyer representing arizona when he was asked and i cited earlier by justice bear, what is the interest of the arizona republican party keeping out of precinct ballot rules on the book and out of precinct ballot rules forbid both from being counted when they are cast out of precinct, with the interest keeping those votes from being counted? michael answer because it puts us, the republican party at a disadvantage relative to democrats. politics is a zero sum game. roi began with the hope we have
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some degree of bipartisanship because voting itself shouldn't be partisan, we are to have bipartisan agreement that voting is a good thing and every one of the witnesses agree senator padilla's high school teacher that maximum participation by burning an eligible citizens is a good thing instead of voter suppression we are to be engaged in voter encouragement but that is not the result of voter suppression loss that are enabled and emboldened by bernadette and shelby county and we knew need john lewis advancement act to protect those rights. i understand the ranking member something in the record. >> thank you. senator lee asked me to submit this for him it's a letter from an attorney analyzing the
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election reform bill and i would like this letter entered into the record. >> go ahead. >> if i might ask a couple questions, the chairman suggested a minute ago reaching early voting would somehow voter suppression and even racist. you know how manyci days early voting the state of texas has? >> the state of texas has 17 early days of voting. >> you know how many georgia has? >> georgia has 17 days of early voting. >> you know how many arizona has? >> eighteen days of early voting. >> how about connecticut. >> zero. >> i thought no early voting was racist voter suppression. >> i don't think it is but certainly allegations have been bemade. >> maybe connecticut is an outlier, surely connecticut --
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>> no early voting in delaware. >> not one day? >> not one thanks. >> why are democrats are claiming this is water suppression when connecticut and delaware have zero. >> it's politically convenient to do so. >> thank you. i might just say for the ranking member, by his own residence told me earlier today, i wish he had been there, the effects of the loss on their practical access to thee ballot place. the intimidation that has taken in place in texas as a result in in connecticut we are moving toward expanding voting access to both statutes constitutional amendment.
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it's exactly the opposite instead of constraining and restricting valor accepts, it's being threatened in texas. the state of connecticut is moving to expand voting rights. >> what you do with the fact that voter turnout has increased in minority owner turnout increase in the states you are demonizing right now? >> voting turnout increase across the countryas and the rights of individuals are not measured in overall numbers of turnout, they areey measured an individual access to the ballot, a measure that restricts discriminatory way the accident ballot is wrong and should be held illegal and the purpose of the john lewis voting rights advancement act is to open. >> current law voter suppression with no early voting at all?
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>> we are moving in the direction of opening ballot access, laws passed during this legislature and constitutional amendment in progress we passed overall. >> if i may -- >> i don't mean to interrupt, we have a vote i believe we can carry on this dialogue if you want to take a recess, senator cruz. there is about ongoing. >> my comment will be 30 seconds. the naacp five years ago, the trial court went painstakingly through the experts from the naacp, because the petitioners in that case found that academic writings concluded outside of the parameters of the case that early voting either made no change in turnout or modestly reduced turnout referred to as convenience but
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including, by some of the experts, and is more convenient does not increase turnout according to the academic writings of the experts on the left. >> this hearing is adjourned, there will be a week the record will be kept open for that week to ask questions. i think the witnesses and myy colleagues foror participating.
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