tv Federalist Society Discussion on Election Laws CSPAN January 1, 2021 5:47pm-6:56pm EST
secondary schools. watch "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern saturday morning. join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, textbook messages -- text messages, and tweets. ♪ >> former federal election commission manager -- member advisorsanel of legal to discuss the future of federal election law. the federalist society host this event. >> tonight's topic, the 2020 elections in the future of election law. after years of restless media coverage, we thought it would be prudent to pause and think about what we have learned, focusing on the future of election law. where do we go, and how? it is now my pleasure to introduce tonight's all-star
panel. fellow andnior legal the edwin meese the third center for legal studies. previously he was a member of the federal election commission and an election official in both virginia and georgia. president also appointed him to the presidential advisory commission on election integrity in 2017. counsel who has practiced election law for over 40 years. representing a variety of high-level elected officials, including a mayor, governor, and a president. he currently is chair of the new york state bar association's
2020 presidential task force which has advised on legal issues involved in the recent presidential race. he is also an adjunct professor of law at forest lawn school and has taught election law at law schools. third, she practices in a wide variety of areas including election law. most recently she served as a legal advisor to the trump campaign, and was also cochair of women for trump. theis the first chair of lawyers association, she has been a leader in the california republican party and served as a member of the republican national committee. she regularly appears on fox news. my pleasure to introduce our moderator, professor michael morlan.
he is a university professor of law and religion and director of the center for law and public policy. the faculty since 2006. before that he served as associate director of policy at the white house under george w. bush where he worked on a range of legal policy issues including criminal justice, immigration and civil rights and liability reform. professor, take it away. >> thank you very much, and welcome everyone. a very good evening from the suburbs of philadelphia. it's a pleasure to be moderating this very timely and important discussion, especially with such a distinguished group of participants. of art about the structure of the evening and then i will turn it over for some opening remarks from our panelists.
they will each take about 10 minutes to give some opening remarks on topics they think are most interesting and compelling about this issue we are speaking about this evening. then we will have about 15 or 20 minutes or so of discussion and i will ask for questions. they can ask questions of each other. and then we will turn it over at the end for questions from you, the audience. along, what i will do box at at the q and a the bottom of your zoom screen, and you can post questions there and i will collect them and synthesize some of them if there are commonalities among the questions people are answering and post them to our panel. we will try to wrap up promptly at 7:00.
with that, i'll turn it over for opening statements. >> thank, professor. i want to thank the federalist society for allowing me to be here. one of the best things about the federalist society is it provides a forum for civil debate, even over controversial issues. that is a rarity these days when often contentious issues cannot ,e debated in a civil manner which i think is actually a hallmark of the american democratic system. one of the things he wanted us to talk about was what was a good thing that came out of election and what were bad things that cannot -- came out
of the election. one of the best things to come out of the election i think is, we had very high turnout. people are always concerned , problems with people being interested in elections. just to give you some quick diggers, these are all from the united states election project. -- some quick figures. some of the -- turnout rates are based on a voting eligible population. turnout figures based on voting age population are usually inaccurate. the advantage of what the united istes election project does they take the voting age population and they subtract out individuals who are not eligible andote, like noncitizens felons who have not yet had their right to vote returned. to give an example of this, in
2008, we had record turnout in the election when barack obama got elected. that was the highest turnout since the early 1960's, 61 .6%. in this election, the latest numbers that i just checked, they are projecting a turnout of 66.6%. five percentage points more than in 2008. so that is a good thing. people who are interested in this election turned out to vote. one of the bad things that i think we see in this election, quite frankly, is when half of believes that there was misconduct and other problems in the election and that their vote may not have been counted, that is a bad thing. back ineveryone agrees,
2006 the supreme court said it is important to maintain public confidence in the election process. we don't want people questioning the outcome because they don't trust the system. we want an election system in which at the end of the day, when the winner is announced, everyone, including the candidates involved, and the voters whose candidate did not well, you know, my candidate lost, but it was a fair process. and there was no cheating or misconduct or errors by election officials that caused a problem. another big problem we saw in this election was what i believe was an unneeded push to get everyone to vote by absentee ballot all over the country. , particularly in wisconsin and elsewhere, show
that you could vote safely in person. the centers for disease control this summer issued guidelines on how to do that safely. as long as polling places follow the same kind of safety protocols we all see when we are going out to grocery stores, etc., people could vote safely in person with social distancing, masks, the cleaning of voting booths before and after voters used them. the reason i say it was a bad folks toward absentee balancing is because if you look at past elections, and the new york times wrote a great article about this eight years ago. absentee ballots have always had a higher rejection rate than the people -- then the ballots at people cast in person. the reason for that is straightforward. when a voter is filling out absentee ballots in their homes and they have no election officials to answer their question, that is why they have a higher rejection rate.
everything from forgetting to sign ballots and not providing all the information needed, to ballots being delivered late. so pushing people to vote by absentee ballot was not a good idea. obviously we need absentee ballots for people who cannot make it to the polls, for people who are too sick or disabled to do that. but i think that was not a good idea, and i don't think it was needed. second, there were a lot of lawsuits and actions by executive branch officials and state governments to change the rules governing elections, frankly in the middle of the process. -- i think it is actually the campaign and others are theect in the fact that constitution very clearly gives the power to set the rules for presidential elections to state legislatures, not state government. pennsylvania is a good example of that.
receipt ofe for absentee ballots in pennsylvania was election day. said iretary came in and am overriding state law and we are going to accept absentee ballots for three days after the election. they did that with the approval of the state supreme court. so they changed the rules, basically in the middle of the election, but in an unconstitutional manner. that the states legislature -- if it wanted to change the laws it could have done so. that is the proper way to do it. the state legislature is the collective representative of the voter. not one official in the state government making that kind of decision. what folks need to understand about that and the danger of for future elections is that the executive branch officials can on their own simply override a state statute. you may in the future have governors or secretaries of state and other people who are
partisan elected officials changing rules in a way that they think might help candidates of their political party, and that is a danger that we would face potentially from both democratic and republican officials. it was just a very bad idea, and frankly, i think a violation of the constitution to be changing rules in the middle of the election. particularly because many of those rules were intended to weaken the security protocols governing absentee ballots. everything from getting rid of signature verification, which is one of the few ways of making sure that the absentee ballots submitted by a voter is actually that of the voter himself or herself. trying to get rid of witness signature requirements and other measures all intended to safeguard the security of the absentee balloting process. the other problem that we saw in this election was, look, in
every single state, we have state laws that make it a requirement and make it legal politicalates and parties to have an observer in every aspect of the political process. this kind of transparency is essential to having secure and fair elections. we want the candidates for all political parties and we want the political parties themselves to have observers in the polling places in areas where central counting is going on. that helps assure everyone involved that the law is being followed and nothing is being improperly done. had numerous instances, detroit, philadelphia and other areas where observers were capped out or locked out for example of the central counting locations. be a, this should not
partisan issue. that kind of transparency is essential. that's why our state department sends observers to fledgling democracies all over the world to protect the democratic process. that's why just prior to the bringon, i was asked to 100 observers from that you who were here to observe our election. that's a kind of thing, we cannot allow that to happen. it of course raises questions in the minds of the public because they are sitting there saying, why would they do that? what was going on behind closed doors that would cause him to keep the observers out? so there are all kinds of changes we need to make to ensure that this kind of transparency violation does not happen again. think we need to make changes to assure the security of the absentee balloting process. , all of usal thing
as lawyer should be concerned about. it is an obligation of our profession to represent our clients to the best of our ability. and we do that even sometimes when we don't like the clients that we have. practice private particularly know that. yet the threats that have been lodged against lawyers representing the trump campaign are really outrageous. the latest i saw were two things. one, the lawyer -- one of the lawyers representing the trump campaign in philadelphia, who i happen to know, had to go to the orderfor a protective because an associate at a law firm that was defending the secretary of state in that law firm, called her up and made all
kinds of outrageous comments to her, criticizing her for representing the campaign. kirkland and ellis have asked to withdraw from the lawsuit, but so far i have not seen that they taken anygized or disciplinary action against their associate. from newongressman jersey has actually written a letter to the pennsylvania bar association asking that they investigate and discipline lawyer simply for representing their clients in court. this should outrage everyone, i don't care if you support the democratic or republican party or anyone else. all of us should be protesting over this kind of behavior because that is just outrageous that that is happening. and i have not heard the kind of criticism of that that we should all be voicing. thanks. prof. moreland: thank you.
>> thank you for inviting me. it's good to be with fellow members of the bar. i should say up front i'm not a member of the federalist society. adjunctpacity as an , ifessor of election law have organized many a panel and participated in many a panel with people, when lawyers and law professors from both federalist society and others in the interest of trying to have a conversation about legal issues that affect all of us. i've had the privilege of representing in a variety of partyoth the democratic
in hillary clinton and barack obama, and i worked on the biden campaign as well. said, i didn't realize that there were going to be the kind of partisan statements that i just heard. so i just want to briefly address some of the statements that line friend just made. with regard to the pennsylvania think whatyou may was done in pennsylvania was unconstitutional, but no court saw that it standing the receipt of absentee ballots was anything to do with security issues in any way compromise security thats, and no court found it was unconstitutional to extend the time when the board of elections could actually
receive a ballot. fortunately, the number of ballots that were received in that period didn't make a difference one way or another. if that had occurred, and if pennsylvania was the key state in the election, then maybe the supreme court might have ruled on the merits of that case, but fortunately, it wasn't. and therefore, some people may tonk that it was improper have done so, and they are entitled to view it in that way, but no court has found that. and certainly no one has the extension of the receipt of ballots as having anything to do with the security of absentee ballots as a general
rule, whether they need to be way,d and verified in any they did need to be signed and verified in exactly the same way as every other absentee ballot as it relates to the receipt of the ballot, not when they were actually filled out. it was all filled out before election day. point i want to respond to, unfortunately, is, i really don't think there was a real issue with regard to observers, except for one or two places. everybody wants observers. the log requires observers, and i think everybody has the opportunity to observe the counting of the ballots. that was never ruled
,o be an issue by any court even though there were so many cases that were brought. as long as you brought up the ,ubject with regard to that with regard to alleged fraud, we saw case after case after case after case where there was no adduced, and there was no fraud found. think as a general proposition, we have to be that stater the fact election officials and local election officials throughout the country did their job. were repeated findings of no fraud.
the results were sufficiently lawsuits signed on by so many congresspeople and attorneys general throughout the united states to overturn the actual results were just dismissed out of hand. if there is one worry that we ought to have, it is not that the election did not run smoothly. when all is said and done, it did. it's that, as the professor peaceful issue of succession is so important in this country. this is our 59th presidential election. we have never had a situation where a candidate or his
supporters have refused to accept the results. and attorneys general and members of congress have refused to accept the results. and have alleged all sorts of activities for which there was never any proof. that, what ill of really wanted to address, and i will address in a few minutes, one of the fortunate results of this campaign, no matter what side you are on, is that the results were pretty clear. that the margins were comfortable in every state, such that we did not have to rely on a small margin in one or two determine who was
elected. the reason that is so important closer, andt were some of the laws that we have may have broken down. what i mean specifically as this. , as he rightlyn said, the constitution gives the authority to the legislatures to decide how electors are going to be chosen. done 232 years ago. it is a system that we may not like or we may like. we are at this point stuck with it. we've had 59 presidential elections based upon this framework. the constitution gives the congress the power to set the date of when electors are chosen, and to -- gives congress the power to set the date when the electors will meet.
it doesn't give congress any more power than that. 1876 when we in had a very contentious election, probably the most contentious election in our history, as a thelt of it, we enacted electoral count act, which has a variety of provisions that were put into place in case there was a close election, so that we , ind have rules in advance order to understand how we would sort out who one in a state and who didn't win. lawsdidn't have all these in effect in 1876 and so they established this extraconstitutional commission. as a result of that election, in the 1880's we enacted pretty much what we currently have, the
electoral count at. congress really has the constitutional authority to enact these rules to me is an open question. you don't have to be a conservative to raise that as an issue. just a few provisions in this act that i want to raise, that fortunately did not have to come into play because we didn't have a close election in one state whereby it would matter how these laws were interpreted and implemented. but nevertheless, we could have that at some point in the future. a particular provision that says if estate fails to make -- if a state fails to make a choice on election day, then the state legislature shall
potentially remedy the situation to make certain that the state has electors. i'm not sure is constitutional for the congress to enact this, but it makes some sense to do that. so what does it mean if a state fails to make a choice? before the election, i was very worried about all those absentee ballots in pennsylvania that hans was talking about. i was concerned that the entire election would come down to pennsylvania and to all these absentee ballots. and it would take a year and a day to count all these absentee ballots, and there would be litigation about these absentee ballots. i was concerned about that. and anybody who is paying attention was also probably concerned about that.
occurred, then we might not have had a result for many, many weeks. and the rule might have been invoked, the provision that says if the commonwealth of pennsylvania had failed to make a choice, as in we don't know who one, then the legislature can remedy that. and what that might've meant was, even though the legislature of pennsylvania, like the legislature in every other state , has had laws on their books for 144 years that say voters go ,o the polls and voters choose electors pledged to biden and electors pledged to tromp. if there was a question as to invoked, then was
the commonwealth of pennsylvania had failed to make a choice, the legislature might have attempted to step in and choose its own slate of electors. florida almost did that in the year 2000, but as a result of bush v gore, the supreme court ruling, the work done by the legislature in florida and the bush,or of the state, jeb was shelved because it wasn't necessary. the supreme court essentially ended the election. but if we had this problem this year, could the legislature have, after election day, after a certain period of time, made a determination as to whether or not we knew who one in that state? been it have
constitutional for the andslature to step in choose its own slate of electors? because it decided that the state had, quote unquote, failed to make a choice. number one, what does failed to make a choice mean? number two, when cannot determination be made? and number three, who makes the determination as to whether or not there has been a failure to make a choice. thank goodness we did not have that problem. problem, did have that in a very tight election, like we almost had that problem in 2000, were it not for the fact that the supreme court intervened, was involved and made a determination which both sides accepted, we would've had a contentious litigation relating to what the legislature ,f pennsylvania might've done
invoking their so-called c2 of thisunder 3us electoral count act. that that would have been appropriate for the commonwealth of pennsylvania to invoke that act, and i'm not certain what the supreme court of the united states would have done, but it would have caused the kind of constitutional crisis that we all would like to avoid. let me address one other piece of the -- another provision of the electoral count act. about we will talk pennsylvania. 64 state legislators in pennsylvania have written to their congressional delegation, saying we need to object to the
electors, the biden electors from pennsylvania, even though they have already voted. know who areu listening tonight, the statute says if one representative and one senator object to a slate of electors then the house and .enate shall decide as we sit here tonight, i think this process is still going on. there is still an effort to object to the electors. 3usc15 saysoccurs, we need to have this kind of procedure to have an objection to those electors. but both the house and senate voting separately have to make a
determination. the rules as if the house and senate don't agree, and under the politics in which we live, the house and senate wouldn't is democraticse and even if the senate remains republican, they are not going to -- potentially would not agree. i suspect that they would both reject the objection, but if turneddn't, if the house down the objection to the pennsylvania electors and the senate, for some reason, decided -- i'mpt the objection going to finish up right now. the law says then it is up to the governor. whichever slate the governor has be determinative as to whether or not the electors are bona fide.
and taking partisanship out of legislature and governor are on opposite sides objectionle, and the is pressed by members of the get tos, then how do we a place where what a governor has done, what a governor has signed off on the comes determinative as to a slate of electors, whether or not they are valid? when the premise of the constitutional provision is that the legislature shall decide how electors are chosen, and in fact, the voters have gone to the polls and chosen those electors. that,overall point is
fortunately, we did not have a close election. if we had, there are so many people who are still challenging the results, and if we had a close election, that the laws that we have in place wouldn't really work. and i think the lesson here is that we need to reform the electoral count act that has been put into place over 100 years ago. so that if we do have a close election, then we don't have to worry about partisanship, and we have set rules that make sense in order to make a decision as to what the people of the states have done when they have gone to the polls and voted for president. i apologize for taking more time but i turnallotted,
it back over to you. thank you.and: with that, i will turn it over dillon. >> thank you to my fellow panelists and thank you to the federalist society for allowing us to talk on this very important topic. i am a partisan. i was a national cochair for loggers for trump and i served in that capacity in the campaign. i come at this perspective from somebody who has a passion bar the rule of law and i feel like we have done a few things right in this election cycle, and a lot of things wrong. so in the short of -- short amount of time i have, i'm going
to try to hit the high points, and maybe we can talk more in the discussion. so what did we do right and what worked in this election cycle? contrary to popular opinion, i think in person voting worked well in this election season, despite of the pandemic. safeuidelines said it was to vote in person and supposedly even if you had a live covid-19 infection but you were taking all appropriate considerations regarding masking and social distancing, etc., you could vote safely in person in the 2020 election, and all would be well. the only people who made the extreme assertion that no in-person voting was appropriate partisans.y democrat mark elias made the extraordinary remark, or example, that people voting in person in wisconsin one week before the election, everybody
would die. and yet days later made the argument that if we did not expand in person voting in nevada we would be violating the constitution and democracy would die. so there were a lot of extreme positions taken there, but many people voted. in and of itself, voting in person work pretty well. ofer being a problem child our last heavily contested election, florida really did clean up its act, and the election went very well in florida. this is the importance of improving election laws, as demonstrated in florida. some places that were problem as recently as 2018, broward county and florida had terrible officials who were replaced with that election cycle linear officials who follow the law as written. we had a great and orderly
outcome and a result on election night. i would have to respectfully disagree with my fellow panelist regarding the rapidity with which we receive results in the election. even counting taking weeks. in california, it is now the norm for it to take 30 days to finish and election because the law allows it. allaucrats expand to take of those 30 days to make sure every vote is counted. the whack is the counting keeps going on until the democrats find the votes to win. i'm not saying that is true, i'm saying when you have elections going on and on, it can undermine respect for the integrity of the outcome. i don't think that's a good thing. an example is the brexit vote in
the u.k. i believe it was almost 40 million votes that were cast private within an hour after the ballots -- after the polls closed, we had the results of that election. bet is perhaps how we should aiming to do our elections in the future. what did not work? some things did not work in this election and some did not work in prior elections and some are unique to this election. when you are doing and increasing number of mail-in balloting, which is something democrats pushed for in the election. nancy pelosi's first piece of legislation in 2019 was hr one which included a package of laws that in many ways mirror the terrible laws we have in california, in my opinion. that did not succeed, but it turns out through the covid
door, a lot of these laws that i don't like have actually come the norm in many of our states. some of them are likely to stay for various reasons that are political on the ground in each of these states. the number one problem with mail-in balloting is when you don't have clean voter rolls. in california, los angeles county with 25% of the population of the state, 10 million people. in recent litigant -- litigation it was found that over a million people on the roles there were dead, were duplicates, had moved out of the state, or were felons presently not entitled to vote. overtlement agreed that time, they would clean up these roles. kemp attempted to utilize existing voter role cleanup requirements under the
nvra, and it is the duty of the state to clean up the voter rolls. when you try to do that, stacey abrams cried foul and there was a lot of drama over that. georgia did not press hard enough to keep up that push for integrity. so how did that play out? there are some states that have had all mail-in balloting for years. colorado, oregon, washington, and utah. it is coupled with leaning their voter rolls and education, it is coupled with a lot of investment in infrastructure that makes the voters trust that that is a good system. none of that was in place and the rest of the country where prematurely elected officials decided to span the populace with ballots. we received numerous reports of
people receiving multiple ballots, receiving ballots for people who don't live there. of thousands of ballots being sent to college towns where students are attending remotely. that does not mean fraud occurred. when you have a close election, which we did have a close election in some states, you have serious concerns. so i think reform is needed to make sure that in future elections would place a high degree of emphasis, democrat or republican, and cleaning those voter rolls, because that is really important for the integrity of elections whether in person or mail-in ballot thing. disagree with my colleague on the panel. for you have a law in
where it says observers can be in the room, what does that mean? some of my friends were using binoculars, standing on chairs to see what exactly is going on in a football field sized room in terms of checking what is happening. that is a meaningless observation. whether it would be -- putting a curtain up around the table where ballots were being counted. with that defeat the statutory standard of observers in the room? i think the answer from the court would have been yes, which is ridiculous. that is a meaningless transparency there. it is a bipartisan problem. these laws need to be changed in multiple states. the other problem with chain of
custody of mail ballots, if you have clean voter rolls and integrity on that in you don't have chain of custody of the ballots. i'm not saying that unmarked vans drove up and hundreds of thousands of ballots left through the back door. the fact that you don't have , there isustody scanning of everything. why don't we have better use of technology to make sure that chain of custody is there? integrity ofcrease elections. unmonitored drop boxes. california had drop boxes on the street, outside the registrar of voters office. one of those drop boxes was set on fire. is that good control of our ballots? i would submit that is a failure.
i think a huge problem in this election cycle has been differential treatment of ballots in the same state. georgia had this problem, pennsylvania had this problem. if you have such great discretion among election officials that someone could count a ballot in one county that is missing an address, saying the signature doesn't , anh, yet in another county example of the fact that we have typically 3% higher rejection rate than the new york primary, yet all of a sudden the , yet in thete drops next neighboring county it is still 3%, that means a lot of ballots were counted that are defective in one county according to state law not in another county.
the cleavage was a partisan cleavage, so i think that is a problem. we need to have statewide norms. in georgia with a runoff election coming up, this is a big dispute between the candidates on the republican side and a republican secretary of state. there is a demand to issue and theguidelines secretary of state is reticent to do that because of litigation that he has been defending from the democratic side. if you have activist groups that are really partisan groups in dragnet are given access to information whereas the general public is not given that information, you could have addresses orng signatures and making sure the information is filled in.
on a partisane basis, you have no integrity in that election cycle. this should not be a game of billionaires. elections should not be a situation or the person with the most money to go in and file lawsuits and lobby for last-minute rule changes is the one who wins the election. yet in state after state, in nevada there were radical rule changes less than 90 days from the general election. people of thehe election, as in ohio. uncertainty regarding rules concerning ongoing litigation. litigation was done at the last minute. i blame both parties for this. some challenges that should've been brought in a more timely manner were not brought before the election. people were asleep at the wheel
regarding the integrity of some of these voting machines. i am saying that democrats expressed a lot of concern about voting machines, including elizabeth and others. this is a big issue that's going to face legislative reform. i have a list of other issues, but finally what i would say is, to me the biggest losers here in this outcome, the biggest loser is public loss of respect for the integrity of the outcome of the election. i don't think it is an exaggeration to say millions of americans, and i don't mean the deplorable is that we hear democrats talk about, i mean millions of people who are thinking, intelligent, patriotic americans who accepted barack obama as their president, people are concerned that we did not
have a fair election here. more so than any other time in my adult life. these are things we need to work on with both parties to make sure citizens on both sides do have confidence in the outcome of the election. if we do not have that, we will have civil unrest in this country, and that is to be avoided at all cost. hopefully we can have a discussion in the limited time we have left. i appreciated: much of your remark -- much of your remarks. goreknow that bush v stands for the proposition that the recount in florida in the -- there were different methods being employed in the various counties, just
the kind of issue that you addressed, and i think it's a real problem. it's not just republican versus democrat. in my experience as well. believer that there should be transparency and there should be consistency from one county to the next. i also believe that there should be consistency from one state to the next. , they learnlearned this every four years, but they forget about it. every state has so many different laws with regard to who can vote and what the procedures are and so on. me that itgree with
might be useful to explore standardized set of laws with regard to federal elections? congressmen acting in a bipartisan way would set up laws that every state has to abide by so that we don't have the hodgepodge of laws, and frankly, if we did have that, we would eliminate so much of the litigation that we saw this year we wouldould think increase the confidence that people have in the election, because we would have uniform standards. it was still be regulated by the state elections, but one standard might solve a lot of the problems that you addressed. have you thought about that?
prof. moreland: if i could just we are a quickly, little bit past 7:00. to give creditre to the word which is consequences. ,o pick up on jerry's question i'll roll that it with some questions that have been asked in the q and a function. i think it is important that we have the discussion focused not on what went right and wrong but on potential reforms for the future. roll terry's question about a uniform federals that shoot for election integrity
along with the question raised about the national voter id law as well. briefly --ould a 7:00 deadline, so i will have to get off, as i told you earlier. the problem with this federal fordardization is that everything that could be done -- as mentioned basically opposed to federalization and takeover of the administration elections across the country. it would've been terrible from an election integrity standpoint. one would have been basically a ban on all the voter id laws that have been placed in laws
like georgia and alabama. there was a provision that would have overrode state laws that banned boat harvesting. vote harvesting is a very unwise policy. it is a policy that says that in addition to the voter himself or herself being able to deliver their ballot, any third-party , candidates, campaign staffers, political guns for come to the ability to your front door and say i will deliver your ballot for you. you're giving people who have a stake in the outcome of the election access to your ballots, a very valuable commodity. that is extremely unwise and ,xtremely dangerous and in fact potentially subjects voters to coercion and pressure are these individuals at their front door. so i would not be in favor of that.
there is a reason why the founders put into it to allow states to administer their own elections, and i don't think we need the same thing being dictated by washington for the entire country. i have alogize, but deadline for something else. i do appreciate the invitation tonight, and thanks for having me. harmeet: i agree with everything he said, but i would add in response to the question, i do not favor a national election law, and not only do i not fever -- favorite, i think it is barred by the constitution. i litigated successfully against the right for states to have substantial sway over there elections.
had hr one past, i think it would have been immediately challenged in the courts as unconstitutional. finish.et me laws thato federal govern elections on a national basis, the help america vote act and the national voter registration act is one. the states actually receive money from the federal government to help them administer federal elections. so i do think it is appropriate for the federal government to condition federal funding support for elections in the state on compliance with certain minimum standards and norms. so if you are a state that has random requirements then your vote might count more in one county than another. maybe you don't get as much federal funding as a state that is well-run and organized. in both redoblem and blue states.
you should not obtain matching funds. this is the same way that our federal government was able to get a speed limit which was heavily disputed passed through the states. i know this is controversial, but i think it is appropriate. i do not think we could have a standard. i personally would love to see a ban on ballot harvesting. i would love to see a national voter id. my federalist inclination suggests that it should not be done on a top-down we agree that under the constitution, congress has the authority to pass election laws. we just mentioned some of them. the question becomes, is there a middle ground where we can enact
further laws on a bipartisan basis so elections will be more transparent? allegations. a way to make our system work more smoothly. >> we agreed to disagree. >> i'm not sure what we are disagreeing about. just said we do have federal laws in certain areas related to our elections. maybe we should have a federal to absentee ballots or early voting. other factors
relating to registration rules. then it would be clear for all americans. the states would know what to carry out. disincentiveas a for any litigation, especially last-minute litigation. republicans and democrats really ought to take this seriously. election, wef this see all of this contentious activity in the courts. it was not necessarily productive. we can avoid it if we have some national standards. >> here's an audience question. about a uniform law modeled on something like the ucc?
a project states could adopt on their own? >> i like this idea. onm already working something like this with the republican national lawyers association. i have been calling state officials. i have gotten a lot of about people's concerns. there is a request out there on the right side of the aisle for model legislation that can be passed. very transparent, one of the tragedies in this situation, private political science perspective, when you have a state that is all one side or the other. we have seen that in the selection. we have some bad laws in red states. we have some lazy officials in the states. and we have it in blue states as well. rules.d have some model
consensus forore the natural process. >> after you are finished contacting your colleagues, call me up. maybe there is room for agreement. >> sure. >> i will ask a targeted question about mail-in ballot and. that has been something that both sides of the discussion have disputed. the integrity of that. what is a specific reform for the provisions of mail-in ballot that you wouldg most like to see? >> you have to have plain voter
rolls. people ande for dead people who have moved. rol should not be on your l. .e have to have uniform norms we shouldn't have requirements that are waived in one county or not applied without a care allowance. securing. ballot measure to recall my governor. if the state does not like my signature and says it doesn't match, i will never find out. my signature will never matter. that is undemocratic. we have a right to make sure our
votes count. in newust instituted york this procedure for the very first time. i think it works really well. one of the reasons we knew what the result in florida was so quickly was because florida has a good law in regards to counting absentee ballots. they could count them before election day. i would like to see that across the board. generally, we will finish with this. monarch, ifthe there is one thing specifically to encourage people to talk
about as a targeted reform, what would it be? >> that is really hard. say, if there is one thing, i have to ban ballot harvesting. it is open to too much abuse. we should not have that. start with abolishing the electoral college. >> ok. that will be our next debate. there have been debates on that. been 700 attempts to abolish or modify the electoral college. >> i think we need better politicians. we need better laws. >> we have some excellent politicians. a lot of excellent public officials. who put our country first, the people first.
those are the people we should embrace. it is hard being a public official. we should be happy that we have people stepping up to the plate. >> i want to once again thank the federalist society for sponsoring this event. for their work putting it together behind-the-scenes. i want to thank our panelists for their contributions. and all of you for attending this webinar. with that, we are adjourned. >> in january, 2020, virginia became the 30th state to ratify the equal rights amendment to the constitution which would outlaw discrimination based on sex. the original deadline for the amendment passed in the early
1980's and several aides have since repealed their approval of the amendment. tonight on c-span at 8:00 come a debate between supporters and opponents of the e.r.a. on whether it should become part of the u.s. constitution. >> stay with c-span for our continuing coverage of the transition of power as president-elect joe biden -- lose closer to the presidency. with the electoral college votes 6 liveoin us on january at 1:00 p.m. eastern for the joint session of congress to count the votes and declare the winner for president and vice president. and at noon on january 20, the inauguration of the 46 president of the united states. our live coverage begins at 7:00 a.m. eastern. watch it all live on c-span, on the go at c-span.org or listen
on the free c-span radio app. massachusetts congressman kennedy is leaving congress after four terms. he ran unsuccessfully for the u.s. senate. kennedy is a grandson of robert kennedy and the grandnephew of president kennedy. of next on c-span, congressman kennedy's farewell speech in the house of representatives. speaker, i rise today to say goodbye to this body. as my time serving the fourth congressional district of massachusetts comes to a close. this job has been an honor. an honor. e've come quite a long way since my first days in the capitol, when i had an a.p. reporter following me around for the day, and i got so lost trying to find the house floor th