tv Lawmakers Examine Election Threats CSPAN July 30, 2021 9:02am-10:31am EDT
[inaudible conversations] >> before i go to our witnesses, when we left, mr. butterfield had raised a point of order, which we had postponed for further discussion until after the vote. so, mr. butterfield. you are recognized. >> thank you, very much, metro detroit here madam chairman, i had a suspicious that congressman burgess owens withdrew from the panel and i do not know that as a fact and i have to establish the facts before i reach conclusions. may i ask the ranking member if congressman owens was present when ms. williams testified? and able to hear and see her testimony as if he were in the committee room? >> i don't know the answer to that. i know that mr. owens was going to vote like he would if he was
in person. because of the remote hearings, and the proceedings that are so new, i think these are issues that maybe we can address in the future, prefer that his words not be stricken because remote committee proceeding regulations only require that participating members keep their cameras on not witnesses. if we continue down this path we'll argue that he was not participating in the hearing, so i think it's semantics on issues and maybe we can get some clarification in the future. >> i think it's more than semantics, mr. davis. i sat here for five minutes and listened to a black history lesson from the gentleman. i'm the oldest one in this room if i'm not mistaken, i lived in the south, i live in the south and my parents and grandparents, and i lived and breathed the jim crow south and i did not need the gentleman to
come here today and give me a five minute lecture forevoter suppression on african-americans in the south. what i needed was election subversion which the gentle woman was testifying, and wish he could have listened to it. i would ask the staff if they would forward a copy of congresswoman williams' testimony to the gentleman for the-- >> will the gentleman yield? >> yes. >> i'll provide ms. williams' testimony and i believe we've provided information for the hearing to mr. owens and his team. i'm honored, glad that you decide today withdraw and glad that we have another perspective of somebody that grew up in the jim crow south. i did not, i was -- i was in iowa and illinois and i was not
old enough, but to hear the perspectives from mr. owens and you and others, i think it's important. so thank you for your withdrawal and appreciate your friendship and consideration and we will get that testimony to mr. owens and his team if we already have not. >> we will withdraw. >> the gentleman withdraws and now we'll go and thanks to all members, we'll go to our second panel. i'd like to introduce and reiterate, i think you heard at the beginning for our remote witnesses, the rules require that you keep your cameras on at all times if you're not speaking, we ask that your microphone be turned off or be muted to prevent background noise and you can unmute it when it is your turn to speak or to answer questions. each of you will be-- well, will be recognized for
about five minutes and your full statement will be made part of the record. so, let me introduce our panel of witnesses. goury ramdon in the work focuses on he ooh lex security, election administration and combatting election disinformation. currently on leave as a professor of law in california where she has been granted tenure. she's taught courses in constitutional law, employment, critical race theory and the appellate clinic. and she's published in the north carolina, law review and among years. masters degree in statistics
from harvard university. while in law school served as editor in chief of the yale law journal and after graduating from law school in 2003, she served as law clerk to judge sidney r thomas of the u.s. court of appeals of the 9th circuit in billings, montana. adrian montez served as county recorder for maricopa county, arizona. the second largest voting jurisdiction in the united states, representing over 2.5 million active voters and approximately two-thirds of arizona's population from 2017-2020. this position was the most recent in a long list of his service to his community and country. from 1992 to 1996, he served on active duty in marine corps and thank you for that service, and
meritorious commission. and after being honorably discharged bachelors before turning to the sterm county of law in denver after law school served as a prosecutor with denver district attorney and worked in the maricopa county attorney's office and headed the foorn prosecution unit. he was elected to the maricopa recorder where he served four-year term implementing national award winning systems and procedures to serve for maricopa county elections even amid the immense personal safety challenges posed on the election administration by the covid-19 pandemic. he remains a resident of maricopa county where he's raising his three daughters and practicing law. we have a detroit city clerk, janice winfrey, who is a native
detroiter. she's dedicated the last 13 years of her life to tirelessly and carefully servicing her community. when sworn into office in 2005, clerk winfrey anticipated the responsibility to govern three charter roles, city clerk, official record keeper and chief elections officer. in addition to her day-to-day duties as clerk and chief elections officer, clerk winfrey has found time to improve her skills and advance her profession by completing courses in certifications in the election center training program, the international association of clerks, recordest, election officials and treasurers and the michigan municipal league and a member of the national league of cities. clerk winfrey is a graduate of cass tech cal high school where she has been recognized as a distinguished alum and eastern
michigan university. and finally, ken cuccinelli from the transparent initial if i have. during the trump administration served as the u.s. citizenship and immigration services and then as acting deputy secretary for the department's homeland security. during his tenure, mr. cuccinelli was a leading spokesman for the trump administration on immigration, election security and homeland security issues and supported by then president trump to serve as an original member of the coronavirus task force upon the emergence of the pandemic. in addition to practicing law for over 25 years, mr. cuccinelli served in the virginia senate from 2002-2010 and as virginia's attorney general from 2010 to 2014. mr. cuccinelli earned a mechanical engineering degree from the university of versus and the degree from the antonin
scalia and from george mason. and we'll recognize each of you for five minutes, for those of you testifying remotely there's a little clock on your screen that will tell you when the time is clicking down for our witnesses who are present in the chamber we have a set of lights and when it turns yellow it means there's a minute left and when it turns red it means your time is up and we surely would ask you to summarize and we hope to get through this panel entirely and our questions before the next round of votes. so let me turn first to you, you're now recognized for fiech minutes. >> thank you. chair lofgren, ranking member, and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to discuss this. for justice, commissioned a national survey of elections
officials which chair lofgren mentioned. to repeat fee found at that roughly, one of the election officials, approximately one in six, as jo, related concerns. in order for democracy to function, we cannot accept this situation. election officials across the country, regardless of political affiliation, risk their lives in pandemics to help us vote safely in 2020. we have the numbers of reference, highest turnout since 1900 with women, native americans were not able to vote. and how were they repaid with political interference, and i hope to make three points. first the election officials and disinformation are ongoing
problems and threatening the security of our election, and the reports of election officials and workers. second the election commission on the cyber security agency had to work to help with combatting election disinformation and now information. and this includes the work to promote paper ballots and this work continues with support from congress. third, congress should protect election interference from-- and conducted interviews and conversations with dozens of election officials and other experts. this culminated in the report we published with the bipartisan policy center that i've included with my written testimony. what we've learned is heartbreakingment local election foreclosures feel unsafe because they're being harassed in the wake of the
2020 election. several reported that their family member, young children, were harassed or threatened with violence last year. multiple election officials told us that the persistent harassment forced them and their families forced them to leave their home. when they reached out for help the response was often in opposition. in addition to the appalling harassment many experienced-- former president trump famously placed a phone call to georgia secretary of state raffensperger to find votes. and the disturbing political interference, many state and local party leaders have censured futures to simply told the truth. a law was passed in georgia
that replaces the secretary of state as the chair of the board with legislative, and criminalize act like sending mail ballots. and officials we spoke with said this is partly driven by misinformation about the election. lies about the election in particular, the lie that it was stolen, attack on election officials. one of the compared to combat misinformation as screaming into a hurricane. and ongoing cases like maricopa county happening in real-time false claim of discrepancies. and the disinformation campaigns continue to haunt election officials, with secretary of state katie hobbs in arizona, providing a
personal security detail. a number of ways, a task force on intimidation, they should can consider funding how to secure personal information. second to underline problems disinformation is daunting and likely play a large role. social media companies should promote truthful information over conspiracy theories and hearings like this also play a role. and thirdly, the congress-- thank you for the opportunity. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much. we'll turn now to you
mr. fontes. you're recognized for five minutes of testimony. [inaudible] >> i think your microphone is on-- >> thank you for the opportunity to testify about the threats against state and local election officials and our democracy. in 2018, one of my three daughters picked up a package on our front porch and brought it into the kitchen. because of a recent threat against me, the bomb squad was called to conduct an investigation in my home. two years later in the aftermath of election day 020. gathering outside of the maricopa election center demanding we count the ballots, ironically, that's what we were doing. the information and disinformation fever pitch motivated these people to corner one of my staff members outside the door forcing what was effectively a rescue by law enforcement officers and other staff members. this is not a story about some deteriorating third world democracy on the verge of
authoritarianism, this is america today. unless everyone does their part ap the truth prevails, we will face a level of uncertainty in this nation never before seen. my name is adrian fontes, i'm a graduate summa cum laude in law and i'll cut the bio short or any members of the marine corps, semper fidelis. i don't come to you as one of those titles, i come to you as an elected official, the concerns, the stresses, the worries of tens of thousands of local, county, and municipal officials appointed and elected temporary and permanent employees, volunteers, poll workers, clerks, election judges and marshalls. we have dozens of titles and most importantly, we're all americans. >> i greatly appreciate you have invited our voices into
this conversation and we encourage you to continue to listen to the voices of the folks who are most directly responsible for making our democracy work in service of this republic. we need your help, we need your protection. there's one more group i have yet to mention who will also get greater protection under the proposed legislation, and they're the single most important group of people in our democracy. voters. and they deserve your protection from intimidation and harassment as well. my written testimony describes the following in much more detail than i can get into. many of the security and integrity measures that we put in place in maricopa county that resulted in an honest, fair, safe election in 2020. the subversive efforts of the former information and anti-democratic factions, which further perpetuate the widespread voter fraud and how that's leaving them as potential victims for threats of violence, harassment and possibly physical harm.
the harassment and threats of violence against election workers in maricopa county, i and my team experienced during my term in office and beyond are also there. and we speak a little bit in my written testimony about the coordination that we entered into with federal, state, and federal law enforcement agents ap other safety agencies. before i conclude, i must express my gratitude here on the record to those people that i'm asking you to protect. i won't name them because they know who they are and sadly mentioning their names could actually result in additional threats against them. they're professional staff at the recorders office and election department did the nearly impossible in just four years, we added 500,000 more voters to our voter roles and between 2016 and 2020, we saw 600,000 more ballots cast in one county alone, even during a global pandemic. that is access. this is work the whole team
should be very proud of and there's no level of lies, false conspiracies, fraudsters or fools who will take away from these amazing people. and maricopa teams should stand proud for the work they did in 2020. it was a successful lessons and nobody will take that away from the americans who did that work and i strongly support that and across the country from harassment, intimidation, threats and political interference so they can safely perform their duties to serve voters and protect election integrity. i deeply pressure this committee's willingness to call attention to the ongoing national threat against state and local officials and our democracy. i thank you. chairwoman, lofgren for your time and i look forward to all of you questions. >> thank you very much for that testimony. clerk winfrey, you are now recognized for about five minutes.
>> chairperson lofgren, ranking member davis and members of this committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the threats facing election administrators in detroit and across this country for simply doing our jobs. i am the city clerk and chief election official for the detroit. and this elected nonpartisan position, i'm chiefly responsible for keeping the official records and documents for the city of detroit, clerking the council and administering all election. detroit, also known as the motor city is nationally recognized as a comeback city. we've come through bankruptcy, a mass exodus of population, the loss of manufacturing jobs and have made it through a global pandemic where we were defined as a hot spot. approximately 80% of detroiters are black. during the 2020 general election, president trump made numerous false allegations of
voter fraud, insisting that the election was stolen, consequently, state and local officials from both parties, poll workers and election staff were and still find ourselves under attack. threats were made against me, my staff, and detroit poll workers by phone, e-mail and in person, such as when they counted the absentee ballots on election day. trump and his conservative allies filed lawsuits as part of the mis and disinformation campaigns and some were frivolous in nature and some of the attorneys are now facing sanctions. even still during the 2020 presidential election, detroit despite being in the middle of a pandemic and civil unrest, experienced a 51% voter turnout.
of the approximately 250,000 electors that voted, 174,000 cast their ballots by absentee, which was a record for our city. detroit voters had a tremendous impact on the outcome of the presidential election in michigan. because of the spike in absentee ballots, coupled with the state restrictions on processing and counting of absentee ballots prior to election, i expanded that operation by renting addition l a space in the tcf conference center in order to accommodate the necessary temporary staff and votes and observers that we may complete the process transparently and safely during the tabulation of the absentee ballots at the center, multiple g.o.p. challengers had to be removed because of disruptive conduct. some were intimidating masks over their entire face and others banged on the walls and
windows shouting stop the vote. other violated social distances standards required by covid-19 rules refused to place protective masks over their masks-- over their noses when asked and appeared their disruption was attempting to jumped mine the tabulation of absentee ballots. a couple of weeks after election day canvass, i receive a call from michigan secretary of state benson said the wayne county would refuse to certify the results until i testified. during the time my husband and i were diagnosed with covid-19, and were quarantined. i left the quarantine and wearing multiple masks and adhering to many recommendations of health officials as possible, but still placing my staff in harm's way to prevent the state board from disenfranchising hundreds of detroit voters.
immediately following the-- my testimony, i began to become harassed. i received insulting text messages on my private cell phone, insults came by way of social media through my inbox and the greatest threat came to me when i was taking a walk to clear my mine. an unknown caucasian male approximately 6-3, 250 pounds approached me in my neighborhood and abruptly stated, i've been waiting for you at work and decided to come to your house. why did you cheat and why did you allow trump to lose? you're going to pay dearly for your actions. he approached me in a did he think matter and my only recourse was to yell, i have covid-19 and i'll spit on you. fortunately, a neighbor was driving by and asked if i was okay. and i said, no, this man is threatening me. and she blocked him with her
car. and i later received a message that he was going to blow up my block and i was ugly and i called the detroit police department and they began to surveillance my house and area as recently as february of 2021 i was notified by the detroit police department that my life was threatened by white supreme ists and they would be patrolling and my husband and i decided to leave team. our job as local election officials is essential and we are required to protect the act of voting. i ask that you consider it unlawful to harass, intimidate and/or threaten local elected officials while we simply perform our jobs, thank you. >> thank you very much for that testimony and we have now our last witness, mr. cuccinelli. you are now recognized for
about five minutes. and you are remote, i believe. >> yes, ma'am. chairman lofgren, ranking member davis and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify on the quality of the voting system and integrity of the people who run them. thankfully it's already against the law to harass them, and in homeland security, instead of encouraging the people with the kind of unrest you heard described in detroit. i previously served deputy gdz we worked every day to help improve transparency, security, accessibility safety and accountability of elections in every state so every american regardless of their party
affiliation or the color of their skin can have confidence in the outcome of every election. today it's easier to register and vote than it ever has been in our history. regardless where you live, what color you are and what party you vote forment we should be celebrating this as a great accomplishment looking to improve. instead many in congress would like to impress federal takeover in various pieces and the particular vote it one smaller piece, but we've heard the previous speakers talk about the john lewis bill and coming hr1 as mr. sarbanes mentioned and suggest that access to voting today is worse than it was in 1965, which is patently outrageous. but the lying demagoguery coming from the radical left including the title of this hearing is not constructive and represents a large scale attempt to knowingly convince the american people of a false
narrative. since shelby ruling in 2013 america was been suffering from a rash of voter suppression, including violence. thankfully the data dem evaluates this narrative is blatantly false and rather than make general allegations, let me be specific about some of the radical leftists who are lying to the american people. it starts at the top with president biden. even the leftist washington post has given president biden their strongest lying rating four pinocchios for his false statements about georgia's recent reform efforts and he's the highest vote with the familiar trope of jim crow 2.0 and we heard the congressman from his own experience. not to be left out vice-president harris flip flopped from anti-voter i.d.,
with an interview on bet. that people in rural community aren't capable ie, smart enough to use voter i.d.'s to conduct their voting. vice-president harris' rural people are stupid view is no less prejudiced than her view shared implicitly by so many others on the left, that minorities are somehow incapable of getting and using voter i.d.'s like everyone else, and i hear very little discussion of how critical these i.d.'s are just to participate in our society and its economic opportunities. a sad commentary. in addition to the data simply not supporting this prejudice view, it's one of the most offensive aspects of the entire contemporary public discussion. one of the most senior members of this body, congressman clyburn not only flip flopped on requiring voter i.d.'s are racist and even denied holding such a position and beyond that further denied that anyone in
congress ever held such a position. given that members of this very committee have suggested that requiring voter i.d. is suppressionist at least or racist at worse you all know congressman cly dment burn's denial is without foundation and like president biden, he received "the washington post" four pinocchios on this. and no list of race baiters would be complete without stacey abrams who flip flopped on voter i.d. a racist position and denied ever holding such a position. most recently pennsylvania governor tom wolf staged a spectacular flip-flop of his own, suddenly declaring he's now open to changing the state's voter i.d. laws, less than three weeks after vottoing a common sense vote of piece of vupt updating legislation called the voter rights
protection act brought by their general assembly. what do these flip-flopping race baiters have in common, two things, timing and polling. what do i mean? first, because of the political necessity of getting federal legislation through a 50-50 senate, following west virginia manchin's indication he'd require some sort of voter i.d. to support national legislation, president biden, vice-president harris, congressman clyburn, stacey abrams and many on the left had to cast aside their false voter i.d. racist-- >> the gentleman's time expired and i'll give a little more time to wrap up, but-- >> i'll wrap up. >> we've been easy on the gavel with everyone, but-- >> yes, ma'am, i'll wrap you, second the polling has not shifted despite six months of attack. american people still support access and integrity measures which continue even in this hearing to be called voter suppression. and i'll looked forward in my
testimony to discuss this further and thank you for my time. >> gentleman's time expired. this is now the time in our hearing where members of the committee may pose questions for five minutes and i'll turn to the ranking member mr. davis for questions he may have. >> first off, thank you, madam chair, and thank you, mr. cuccinelli for your testimony today. we've had a lot of debate in congress's role in federal elections. republicans believe that states have the primary role in administering elections and that congress' role is purely second. at the last hearing we heard from the majority's witnesses suggestions the elections clause gives congress carte blanche power over how states electionings, mr. sarbanes goes
into excruciating detail why democrats think they can nationallize elections. mr. cuccinelli, do you agree with their interpretation of the elections clause? >> no, i think the elements in the longer form of your statement referencing the founding perspective on that are exactly what was anticipated when the constitution was written, when this clause was put in place, and it's shown by the history of america. for 230 years states have run our elections, since the constitution, even with the absolutely necessary voting rights act which was one of the most extraordinary federal interventions in state-run elections in our history, probably the most needed. even that was recognized by the supreme court as resulting from extreme circumstances that absolutely existed at that time that have been remedied as the
supreme court has said and when you look at-- i'll take the part of mr. sarbanes recent bill that jumped out at me, where you seek to have the federal government essentially invade state and local prerogatives of hiring and firing their own officials. this is an area that has been dealt with to some degree, not squarely, but to some degree in 10th amendment litigation. this is an area where the federal government simply doesn't have the power to go in and tell a state how to do its business. >> well, thank you. and i think you would agree, mr. cuccinelli, that he think could's role in this space is really not getting involved except in incredibly serious situations, right? >> i think that is both the history and i think there's an extraordinary amount of support for that position just from the founders who wrote and passed the constitution. so, i think that's the predominant legal view out
there. of course, it's never been fully litigated all the way out, apso, there's -- i ascribe to the 80-20 rule as a litigator, but that is where the preponderance of the scholarship resides. >> well, thank you, mr. cuccinelli. again, mr. fontes, as you know, this committee send out official government staff to observe the administration of federal elections under its authority under house rules and the constitution. during the last election, maricopa county unbelievably refused access to any observers, republicans and democrats, forced to appear through a lobby window in order to see any of the process. isn't sunlight the best disinfectant? why should observer access be limited in. >> madam chair, mr. davis, i don't know if i have to go directly to the chair in these hearings. >> no, just the witness can answer. >> thank you very much. mr. ranking member, i'm not
exactly sure where you're getting your facts from, but authorized observers who were authorizeded accord to go arizona state law and i know you're a proponent of states making rules had the access required as appropriate in maricopa county during the 2020 election cycle. >> we'll get you some information from the official election observers from the house and work to make sure it doesn't happen when we're out doing our constitutional duty. how much money did you budget to administer the 2020 elections? >> we-- mr. davis, we budgeted well over $23 million. the issue that we ended up having, of course, was the global pandemic that i don't think that anybody finally realized the impact financially. so it ended up being a heck of a lot more than that that we spent. public outreach, safety
equipment, ppe, finding and locating new places where we could have our vote centers so that folks could vote at appropriate distances, so far, number of dollars budgeted certainly doesn't amount to what we ended up paying. >> does that number include the cares act money that maricopa county got. 399 million dollar. >> and that wouldn't have been the cares act, that was passed after our budget was passed sir. >> i'm out of time so i'll yield back. thank you. >> the gentleman yields back. mr. rafkin is participating remotely. you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair for calling this important hearing. you talked about the security measures that maricopa county had to undertake during the 2020 election, including bring in an s.w.a.t. team where you
were counting ballots to prevent violence if the protesters outside the building got in. can you explain how the security situation threats you received affected your operations and the staff? . thank you, mr. raskin. the threats were certainly not anticipated and they had a significant and severe impact on the staff. some of the impact included folks having to deal with circumstances well beyond just what happened at the time, the anxiety. it was very difficult at some point after the election, once a lot of the threats and protests happened to make sure that election workers would come back. and folks had to be escorted back and forth by armed guards by the judicial services and maricopa county sheriff's department. it's not a normal situation
when fully armed and fully armored s.w.a.t. teams have to be present because that's what security officials recommend when folks are outside armed with ar-15 and ak-47 style weapons, essentially threatening to storm the building and that's a kind of a stressful situation that no civil servant, no election administrator should ever have to deal with, but they came through and i have to say again i'm incredibly grateful to the tens of thousands of people across the country and particularly my team at the elections department they came through with flying color through the situation. >> and thank you for your service. you found that part of the survey of election workers nationwide that one in three election workers feels unsafe because of their job and one in five say that their lives have been threatened in the context of their work. you spoke to a lot of elected
officials in the drafting of this report. can you explain what is going on out there? are they afraid of the kind of violence that came to the house and the senate on january 6th, where 140 of our police officers were wounded and injured and ended up in the hospital? >> thank you for the question. i would say that numerous election officials, members of both parties, by the way. and we spoke to both republicans and election officials. yes, the fear that they're feeling is very-- to the fear that was felt january 6th during those tragic events and to my mind the insurrection at the capital on january 6th was a form of attack on election officials because the members of congress were doing their duties, their duty for-- votes and-- >> what was the role that
social media has played in circulating and promoting these threats against election officials? >> [inaudible] >> who is that question directed to, mr. raskin? >> oh, i'm sorry, ms., i'm asking about the role of social media disinformation in the circulation of threats and the creation of climate of uncertainty and anxiety among election officials. >> absolutely, thank you so much for that question. many of the election officials that we spoke to said that absolutely, social media is playing a huge role in the dissemination of misinformation and therefore the instigation of the threats. so, something to start with, actually an innocent misunderstanding posted on social media and then get picked up by a prominent official, whether it's television celebrity or a
prominent election officials and then spreads like wildfire. of course, election officials attempted to select the truth and agitate voters how votes were really counted and how elections really work, but it's so difficult for them to compete with tv celebrities and, now, even the president of the united states. they definitely need help in order to be able to communicate accurate information and combat that disinformation. >> sticking with you, what are your policy recommendations for protecting election officials for their jobs. that congress provide funding to are security protection and training. so, for instance, many election officials we spoke with said they the police to do things like set up a door bell camera at their homes, but they didn't have the money in their budget to provide for that sort of
thing. so we think that financial support from both state and federal government would be incredibly beneficial. thank you, and i yield back, madam chair. >> the gentleman from georgia is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair and thank you again for a number of hearings that we've had regarding elections. would have been nice to have some of these, majority of these hearings before hr1 actually ran its way to the floor and i think that would have been very, very productive. i do want to follow up on something that my good friend mr. davis touched on and mr. cuccinelli reported on and it's what the courts and our founders intended which is the qualification of electors, who can vote. that's something that's clearly been within the federal purview.
who can vote. times places and manner were to be literally and for the state. yes, the votings rights act my colleagues have cited are about the elect terse who can vote and that's in the constitution, that's a federal issue, the rest is reserved for the states ap also, something that mr. raskin growth up. the role of social media played in disinformation. maybe that could be why the current president of the united states spread false information about georgia's election draw and it's imperative to the truth elections and election laws not just following your own emotions and mr. davis and i experienced what can happen when misinformation is spread on the information when a gunman walked on the baseball field and started shooting at us about four years ago. with that, i also appreciate
the testimony of mr. owens, someone who has truly experienced what jim crow really is and how bad that is and how unacceptable that is. but i'm concerned about how many on the other side of so quick to claim that any attempt to strengthen the integrity of our elections is racist or equates to the crim crow area. i think it's asinine and throws into the face of parties back home who wants to know that their vote is the one that counts and those that shouldn't be voted are not allowed to vote. mr. cuccinelli, good to see you again and appreciate you being here. do you think that the voter i.d. requirements that many states have and some that have proposed represent a subversion of democracy as some on the other side here have suggested? >> that could hardly be farther from the case. voter identification is broadly
supported as a commonsense measure of securing elections and you've seen a lot of states, many of them that already have in-person voter i.d., with the explosion in the covid-19 era of mail-based voting and absentee voting, that they are equating, providing equality security or attempting to, for mail-in ballots as they have for in-person ballots. that's logical, that's common-sensical and it's reasonable to see this path when you see such a massive sudden growth in that form of voting. so, the whole idea and the attack, the baseless propaganda attack that voter i.d. is racist or suppressive somehow is clearly false enough that many leaders on this literally threw it overboard when it became politically inexpedient
balls of senator joe manchin's position in the 50-50 senate. i can't imagine that all of those folks would have suddenly declared it not to be racist if they'd ever thought that in the first place. it tells me they didn't think it in the first place. >> and i think the poll numbers that came out around that time may have influenced it as well. >> perhaps. >> with majority of republicans and democrats and independents support i.d. in the previous hearing i asked the former attorney general mr. holder the question whether or not he supported now voter i.d. and he did shift a little from his written testimony which he said yes, as long as there's no restrikes on the type of i.d. which is basically saying there is no validity to it. >> every state that rekwoo requires identification does it for free. folks that don't have any
identification would have an extremely hard time participating fully in our society as it operates today. so this goes well beyond voting and it should be one of those things that as ordinary americans do, that we should all be able to agree on. >> all right. well, our chair has been very generous with our time, but i don't think she's going to give me the time to go into another question right now, but thank you very much, i appreciate your time with us. >> the gentleman yields back, mr. butterfield is recognized. thank you very much, madam chair, for convening this hearing on election and growing threat, and this is a necessary conversation we must have. thank you for the four witnesses for your testimony today it's been very valuable in this process. i'm going to start with miss ram-- i'm not sure i'm pronouncing it right. i'm sure i'm not. let me start with you, in your
written testimony and in the report, election officials under attack, you discuss how disinformation, including the unprecedented lies of the stop the steal movement have directly, directly impacted election officials. could you please talk with me just a little bit about the kind of disinformation we saw following the 2020 election about the accuracy of election results and how that led to threats against election officials such as miss winfrey? >> thank you so much for that question pt -- so many of the officials we spoke with said they started receiving numerous phone calls from members of the public questions how votes were counted the types of machines that were used and that sort of thing and these phone calls themselves took an emotional and sort of tile toll on them
and their staff. and most times would take 15, 20 minutes to complete and the callers were not complete. and they were essentially accusing them and their staff of widespread fraud and that's a particularly stinging accusation when the truth is election officials and their staff performed like heroes to ensure that everyone can vote safely and securely and that every eligible voter's vote would be accurately counted and of course many of the voice mails and threatening messages that they received, including accusations that the official or the worker had, you know, had engaged in some sort of fraud or stolen the election. so saw a connection between the disinformation and the threats they were receiving and many election officials noted they had never experienced anything like this before in terms of
the volume of calls and the accounts. >> and done a lot of research in this and i know you've done some as well. let me ask you this, you mentioned some of the policy recommendations that you all have, and could you give me one or two other policy recommendations you may not have mentioned in your earlier testimony. >> sure and thank you so much for at that opportunity. and so one of the recommendations, i didn't go into detail on is a recommendation for the private social media companies and that is that they could use, if they had a list of the more than 8,000 verified local election officials in the united states, they could use that registry to amplify the voices of those election officials which have accurate information so they would have a chance against the flood of lies from more prominent and folks trying to
spread these things. let me go to the distinguished clerk from the great city of detroit. thank you for you testimony. first of all, madam clerk, in your testimony you describe what i would call a horrific experience of having to defend the election that you oversaw while battling covid-19 and being physically threatened i'm sorry you had to go through all of that and i think your reaction was very normal as it would be for any other person this that situation. how have these threats and intimidation and unfounded questioning of the validity of the elections process impacted your staff? you talked about the impact it had on you and your family. let's talk about the hard working men and women on your team. how has it impacted them physically, mentally, emotionally. >> a number of my senior staff decide today take off work to do the fmla.
so i lost about five members to fmla and they didn't come back until after the canvass of elections, after the elections were certified. one retired, but the overall climate in the department of elections is one of fear, almost. people are wanting to retire. those of us that had-- came down with covid-19, a couple of -- two of my senior staff were hospitalized with it. all because-- this was -- all happened after the election. we processed 1,000 ballots a day. these are ballots that are processed in person during the covid and yes, we had our protective gear on. but we all suffered with covid-19. that's what i suspected.
thank you very much for that and please share with your employees that we appreciate their work. >> thank you. >> regardless of their party affiliation. >> and we appreciate yours. >> gentleman's time expired and mr. siels is recognized. >> thank you very much, madam chairwoman, appreciate you holding this hearing. i think it's really, really important as we look at this, that today, democrats are continuing to spread misinformation about election laws in republican led state. they're call calling it restrictive from republican led states and ignoring laws from democrat states, massachusetts, delaware, connecticut, why? partisan politics. democrats are trying to use this cover to justify a federal takeover of state election laws, i'm going to continue to fight against a federal government takeover of state election laws.
i think that everybody watching this committee hearing should be paying attention that we're pointing out republican controlled states or failing to talk about any of the democratic controlled states that have the same laws in place. let me shift gears to you, ms. winfrey. as clerk you're responsible for administering the 2020 general election, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> do you support voter identification for voters? >> i do. >> you do. >> i do. >> so you support voter i.d. in your jurisdiction? >> it's the law. >> thank you very much. and in detroit, did you receive any grant funding from the center for tech and civil life cl, ctcl, if you will, the nonprofit organization funded by facebook's mark zuckerberg for the 2020 election? >> i did. >> what was the total amounts of grants funded for the 2020 election cycle?
>> about 8 million. >> 7.4, about 8 million dollars. what was the total amount of funds the city of detroit received from other non-governmental sources? >> i'm not sure what the other city. my budget is totally separate from the other-- have the administration, if you will. >> were there funds that came from other nonprofits in the city of detroit in addition to ctcl? >> department of elections we received $8 million and that's my budget. >> did you accept any personnel that were paid for by any nongovernment entity to assist or be involved with the conduct of the 2020 election? >> did we-- we received support from ctcl. >> did they report to you or did they report to-- >> not physically, not physically support to me. they are employees, they supported or they reported to ctcl. but they worked with us during the election process. >> okay, and did you apply or
seek out any election administration funding? >> yes. outside funding. >> yes. >> you did. so you sought that out. i appreciate your testimony. let me shift gears if i can to you, mr. cuccinelli. you note in your testimony that the 1902 virginia constitution imposed such barriers as poll taxes, literacy tests and even a civics test to hurdles of voting, disgusting practices in the past. ... elements were employed up into the 1960's and the voting rights act wiped them out very quickly. and they have not been in use anywhere in the united states since very shortly after the voting rights act went into effect. >> would you say >> when you say there thes definitely always room for improvement that the u.s., is there to say we made drastic strideste f from 1965 to 2021? >> the numbers show it.
i put some of them, i pulled the new times gravity for my statement. you can see the massive increase of african american participation which is particularly relevant in a state like virginia where black citizens are one-fifth of our state. that critical improvement. it's measurable all across the country. not every state is the same but we have come a long way, wiping out those differences. >> appreciated. let me keep rolling because i got limited time. you in particular think you quite correctly note many i think we have been ignoring section two of the voting rights act which outlawed many of the discriminatory voting practices referenced earlier by me remain on the books. how should section 2b deployed? >> section two should be made permanent and used as it's written to root out actual
discrimination which was also addressed in the case recently. it's still there to be used that way, people in congress talk as if it isn't. >> final question, do you support voter identification? >> photo identification and photoactive edition yes. >> thank you very much. madam chairwoman i yield back. >> the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair and thank you to ourur witnesses. last week the former republican secretary of state ken bennett was barred from his own audit. as i understand it he's working with the state senate on that audit within the state of arizona as they continue to engage in actions on the false premise of misconduct during the 2020 elections. the audit has been focused on maricopa county were used to work. can youyo please explain how misinformation and disinformation campaigns that
balloon into these ridiculous audits affect our nation's election integrity efforts in the dangers of partisan audits being conducted i individuals who don't have any experience? >> thank you for the question, mr. aguilar. the first piece of misinformation and disinformation is called what's happening in arizona and audit. it is nothing of the sort. it never has been and it was not intended to be. i don't know any auditor who is any sort of professional certification who will stand by what is happening with maricopa county 2020 election, its ballots, equipment, it's a date information and audit. that notwithstanding, misinformation and disinformation has moved a lot of normal reasonable people in arizona and across the country to question what is a normal exercise conducted by average citizens just like you and me and anybody else out there. for some reason the misinformation and disinformation has raised so much missed trust in basic
systems, systems by the way which are run by in many cases the political parties themselve themselves, as an example the mandatory hand count audit mandated by state law in arizona, a county party chairs of the political parties are the ones who select the folks who perform the audit. they are the one to oversee that audit and/or essentially coached in process only ide elections department afteron the election. so that hand count audit that is mandated by state law is performed by partisans in order to maintain the integrity of what is happening in every town in arizona, not just maricopa county. that's just one example of how this understandings arise. another really importanter exame is ther allegations of sharpie gate, for example. in 2018 we had a very different election system. with different ballot styles come different ballot paper. the machines themselves that
type of the denialist culprit on a completely different architecture, completely different than what we had in 2020.fe that's why sharpies were not recommend in 2018 but were recommend in 2020. and i can get into details if you like. the reality is this. there are folks who want to support our democracy. our folks who don't want every eligible u.s. citizen to vote. i don't countnt myself among th. there are folks who are afraid ofon the voice of america's voters, and in order to advance their political agenda they have less better to voters voting, to have a diminished american voice. i think that's wrong and that's why i'm partially here, particularly go to vote election officials across the united states at thehe local municipal and state levels stay safe and that's one of the critical components that we've seen, the misinformation and disinformation leads to those threats of violence completes to the problem and i appreciate that.
>> ms. ramachandran the brennan center for justice and a bipartisan policy center report on election officials under attack claimed state legislatures are introducing bills that impose criminal penalties on election officials and workers including penalties that could strip power away from his local officials or even if states counter these actions by enacting new laws to ensure greater protections of election officials, you believe federal policy business or to prevent attacks against public servants, and if so why? >> thank you for that question. h currently elections are administered largely at the local level in the united states, those local election officials are the guardians of our federal democracy and federal election. i do think congress has a role to play in protecting those election officials to ensure that the elections they and minister are administered without interference or coercion.
>> according to the democracy fund, almost 35% of election officials are set to retire before the next presidential election, representing more than 50% of local election officials and the largest jurisdictions. should communities of color, predominately black and hispanic communities be concerned that the pipeline of local professionals could change from capable and trustworthy individuals, including making election decisions that have impacts on communities? >> yes. question elements time has expired, gentlelady from pennsylvania's time is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. over the past several years disinformation about american elections has spread like a disease across the country, which was once foreign adversaries seeking to undermine our elections, election disinformation is homegrown, created and stoked by political
leaders, members of congress and the former president, and amplified by the echo chambers of our foreign enemies by spreading the lie of widespread election fraud with a particular focus on cities in black and brown communities. these domestic enemies of democracies use their position of leadership to spread conspiracy theories about demonstrably false threats to election security. in order to justify actions to undermine actual election security, whether through fraudulent audits or new laws that make it harder to grow and easier to steal elections. the refusal of this party to contradict the former president lies about the accuracy of the 2020 election has had disastrous consequences. in addition to a violent attack upon the capital, a campaign led by the former president and his allies has caused widespread and persistent intimidation and threats against election officials, including death threats being made against officials from a political, local civil servants, up to the
vice president and members of the u.s. congress. as we sought to certify the electoral college vote. infant -- in pennsylvania, every county has a bipartisan board of elections, but national actors, including the former president and members of this committee, made false allegations about the integrity of the election procedures and only the democratic led counties in pennsylvania. in my district, a republican election commissioner for the city of philadelphia was named to the former president when he tweeted that the commissioner was a so-called rhino, being used big-time by fake news media. he refuses to look at a mountain of corruption and dishonesty, we win. this tweet and attacks from the trump campaign surrogates that followed resulted in anti-semitic, intimidating threats against the commissioner and explicit death threats against his children. threats that mention their names and ages. elsewhere in my district, the individual members of the bipartisan volunteer delaware county election board were sued
dozens of times and cases that sought to overdo the results of the election and to find those officials for faithfully executing their duties. in each case, those cases were dismissed as being without merit, but they nevertheless required the substantial government funds and personal time to defend them. so though at times to overturn the 2020 election failed, the harm has been real. i introduced legislation to make it a federal crime to intimidate or harass an election official for performing their duties. and the representative has introduced expanded legislation to protect our election workers. i am proud to cosponsor this. it is imperative that our elected leaders recognize that their words matter. that they will spread disinformation about the election and day, like the former president should not be reelected. i would like to thank both of you for your work as election
officials under the extraordinary public health and political challenges of the past couple of years. in normal times these jobs are intensive and stressful, but your work has been essential. i would like to ask each of you to address what do you think congress should do to aid in protecting you from continued threats and violence, and enable you to do your work? >> thank you for that question. the critical component here, i think congress can recognize that there is a difference between what we do as election demonstrators and what other people do. of course all of the work of government is important, the election administration is the golden thread that holds the fabric of america together, and it is a bipartisan effort. without the current legislation, we will continue to see the threats and intimidation and violence rise. to directly answer, you can help by passing the bill on the table. >> i agree this same thing.
we need laws to protect us. we are simply doing our jobs. i am nonpartisan in my job. as such, me and my staff shouldn't be threatened. we shouldn't do the job fearfully. all we want are clear, clean, fair elections. >> and i don't see the clock. 12 seconds. ok, i will end by asking unanimous consent to enter three articles in the record, two articles detailing threats and intimidation by the philadelphia election and the third article from the new york times dated july 2, 2021 entitled, after a nightmare year, election officials are quitting. and i yelled back. >> those will be entered into the record in the gentlelady from new mexico is now recognized. >> today we are holding this hearing to talk about the big
lie by trump in his allies that the presidential election was stolen has led to threats of violence, and here at this capital, actual violence. i am incredibly disappointed that our republican colleagues have not addressed the violence in the threats itself, which is what this committee hearing is about today. they have not listened to your testimony, and the difficulties that you have faced, that your families have faced, and that your colleagues have faced, and those we supervise. that is a difficulty that i apologize that this entire committee has not focused on as equally as others. so, i wanted to ask a little bit about the connection that you see, and how you experience the connection between what we sell here on january 6 -- what we saw here on january 6, and what the
nation heard and testimony from the police officer who faced torture, violence, pain, and asked congress to do something about it. i would like you to talk about how you see that connection with what you yourself are facing. >> thank you for that. if i could, this isn't just about me or clerk winfrey, this is about all election officials across the country, we are a unified ban of our partisan brothers and sisters and cousins and onset and uncles. we certainly do share our experiences, and i think i am joined by sony people across the country looking in horror at what happened here on january 6, but also what could have been just after the election in november of 2020. we had armed rioters in maricopa
county. we had alex jones in the queue shaman arm in arm shouting my name and shouting for other election officials in the parking lot, and their compatriots armed with some pretty heavy duty firearms. and i know, because i was a range coach and marksmanship instructor in the marine corps. i know what kind of damage those weapons can do. that was certainly no civil act of protest. that was not a grievance. the presence of those weapons in this environment was a threat. in that was very difficult. it was a step away from what happened here. and i hope and pray that everyone will pay attention to this, because the republic depends on folks like us who work in a bipartisan way, who work republicans and democrats, everybody works together to do this across the country.
and it needs to end. the motivation behind these threats is the lie. that needs to end. reasonable people have to come together in the united states of america to say enough is enough, and folks like us who just want to do our jobs, just did our jobs, need to stand up and say the same thing. and i think clerk winfrey would agree most me -- agree with me on that. >> i do. what we are going through is very much the same as what happened here. except for they are coming to our homes and they are making us very uncomfortable. some of my colleagues have been shot at simply because of what we do. all of us have been threatened. and because we are trying to represent our community. if it weren't for the work of local election officials, none of you would be here in this
room. we just want to uphold democracy. we just want to ensure that everyone votes. it is unfair, it's unfair that we are attacked for doing our job. i feel afraid. i feel afraid. i know that i'm going to get some kind of repercussion from just sitting here today. but i decided to do it because i believe in the right to vote. i believe that every eligible elector should be allowed to vote, easily and fairly. >> thank you. what you are doing today and what you doing your work and what your colleagues do, that is true patriotism. those who attack it or would limit it, that is truly un-american and we must call it for what it is, it is un-american. i see my time is coming to an end. madam chair, i would like to
submit for the record a special report. the trump inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers. in similar to the brennan center report, documents, just incidents after incidents of violence threatened against those who carry on and uphold our democracy on a day-to-day basis. >> without objection, those items will be put into the record. i now recognize myself for a few minutes of questions. first, let me think all of the witnesses for their testimony that they have provided. it's important to inform this committee and the american public for what we as a country are facing. i heard from both of you, local elected officials about the threats of violence related to
simply counting the ballots. i wonder, you alluded to the concern in the parking lot. can you describe -- give us a picture -- draw us a picture for what was around maricopa county's county site? >> the front parking lot, if you will, of the warehouse is framed by 3rd avenue and lincoln in downtown phoenix, arizona. the parking lot is framed on the north and the west by what's almost a two-story building. in the west it's a two-story building, but off the ground building on the north side. in the parking lot itself, we made sure in working with security officials that the folks who wanted to come out and share their grievances, like the first amendment says, petition
their government for that redress, had space enough to have their voices heard. he did not put a security fence up after some incidences where folks had literally forced their way into the lobby. we tried to keep it as open as possible. we tried to be as transparent and open as possible with the media and members of the public. >> can i follow up with the question, because i was in local government for 14 years. we ran the election. we had to register our voters. we never had a situation where people came and demonstrated while the votes were being counted. you vote, you have elections, that never happened. demonstrations about counting the vote. is that being fueled, in your judgment, by the big lie? >> we have never had a sitting president in the united states of america say, if i lose it's because there was fraud. we've never had a group of
politicians willing to carry on with that kind of psycho fancy, with that kind of irresponsible deterioration of the confidence of the american people should hold in our most fundamental institutions. we've never been here as a republic. and we can see now how fragile this democracy, this experiment in democracy really is. and it is disappointing that we have gone to the point where folks like my former staff and folks like their future staff, election officials across the country who just want to do their jobs. they just want to be the folks who get that work done, because they know how important it is. we all know how important it is. none of you would be here if it wasn't for local election officials. we have never been here because we've never had a significant group of elected officials in
this country irresponsible enough to render us under the confidence that we have in our election systems. it is a horrible new place that we find ourselves in and we have to end it. >> in your judgment, just that threaten the future viability of our democratic republic? >> we were a few minutes away from not carrying through with our constitutional duties, which was up until this year, a normal everyday regular process. we are in dangerous new territory, in my view. and unfortunately we have to fight to get back to where we ought to be. >> clerk winfrey, prior to 2020, did you ever have demonstrations while the votes were being counted in detroit? >> yes. not to the level that we had in
2020, but yes, we would have challengers. republican and democratic challengers in the center, and sometimes they would bump heads. but not to the level where they were banging on the walls and yelling stop the vote. we never had it like this. we never had to have police officers and armed officers in the room with us as we tabulated votes. >> i want to thank you for speaking out, both of you, and to all the witnesses, but especially the local elected officials, you will be going home, and hopefully he will be safe when you go home. but we do thank you for your testimony, as well as the other witnesses. i will just note that, yesterday , three members of this committee that also serve on
this select committee investigating the insurrection, and we heard very difficult testimonies from really, for amazing police officers who laid their bodies on the line to protect the members of this committee, the staff, everybody in this building. for more than anything else, to protect democracy. and we came alarmingly close to the insurrectionists and being successful. and today, we are hearing from election officials about violence directed to them about simply counting the votes. it was interesting to hear your comment about a boring process. it used to be boring. i can remember times when i did not come back for the electoral college counting because there is nothing to do. you just watch them be counted
and that is that. similarly, counting the ballots. it was something that the clerks did, and we thanked them for it, but it was not a high-profile item, it was just the work that had to be done. we are witnessing a distortion of democratic processes here. that i think is a serious threat to our country. i think your testimony i think your testimony has further enlightened us, and i hope that as we move forward, all of us, the matter what our party, will take this threat seriously. because it's not about which party you are in.t it's about being an american. so i thank you all. the members of the committee may have additional questions for the witnesses, so we will ask you to respond to those questions in writing. the hearing record will be held open for those responses.
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> sunday c-span series january 6th, reviews from the house, continues. three more members of congress share stories of what they saw, heard and experienced that day, including rodney davis of illinois who served as a teller for the electoral vote count on that day. >> there were a lot of freshmen there and i got to know during orientation that this was their first real experience as a member of congress, and we were kind of watching them and talking to my fellow colleagues about what we could do to try to
stop this for what were those conversations like? >> i remember a conversation with marjorie taylor green. marjorie was a freshman. she was very active during the orientation, and she was very upset about what was going on. her and i chatted. she so what can i do? i said how much you go back in the cloak room and filmed a video input on social media and if you have any influence over anybody tell them to stop it she did that. >> this week you will also from democrats madeleine dean of pennsylvania and zoe lofgren of california. january 6th, views from the house, sunday at 10 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org or listen on the c-span radio app. >> the use senate is about to gavel in on this friday morning. senators plan to vote at 11:30 a.m. eastern on beginning debate over $1 trillion for infrastructure projects across
the country. that would include roads, bridges, transit, real and airports as well as broadband. also able to limit debate over president biden's pic to at the u.s. citizenship and immigration services. live now to the floor of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, the center of our joy, bless our senators in their going out and coming in. guard them from mistakes and deliver them from evil.