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tv   Lawmakers Advocates Testify on Voting Rights  CSPAN  April 25, 2021 12:28pm-4:31pm EDT

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you can also listen to q&a as a podcast. >> mondays a supreme court hears oral arguments in americans for prosperity for says rodriguez challenging the constitutionality that charitable organizations disclose their big donors names to the attorney general. >> georgia senator raphael warnock and voting advocate stacey abrams testified about new election laws in georgia and how they could impact voting in the state. this senate judiciary committee hearing also features testimony from elected officials in other states and civil rights advocates.
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>> the senate judiciary committee is holding its first committee on voting rights since the democrats last controlled the senate. i had a series of hearings about a wave of voter suppression laws under consideration across the country. sadly, the situation is worse today. i would like to start with a video showing how far the fight for democracy has, and the progress we have yet to make. >> those who founded our country and you that freedom would be secure only if each generation fought to renew and -- to renew it. americans of every race and color have worked to build widened opportunities. now our generation has been called on to continue the
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unending search for justice within our own borders. we can understand how this all happened. >> we believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty. >> we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. >> yet millions are being deprived of those blessings. >> legislative measures limiting ballot access moving through 47 statehouses. >> the new law will prevent anyone but the poll worker from handing out water or food. they are more common in counties with large black or brown populations. >> throughout history you will know that what is taking place today as a new jim crow. >> this is not democratic or
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republican issue. >> we have i can have federal protections. >> to make sure we are expanding the production of voters, the right to vote in the country. >> i will fight until the death to make sure every citizen has a right to vote. is not us, then who? if not now, then when? >> it is wrong to deny any of your fellow americans the right to vote in this country. >> our work is not finished. since our nation's found anger has been a conflict between champions of democracy -- sounding there has been a conflict between champions of
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democracy and white supremacists. a generation of legislation would deny full citizenship to black americans. carol answered -- anderson, one of today's witnesses, described it as the deserving -- dizzying array of poll taxes, rules, good character causes, all intentionally racially discriminatory and dressed up in the garb of bringing integrity to voting. the president of the state constitutional convention that spawned the mississippi plan announced "let's tell the truth. we came here to exclude the negro. nothing short of this will answer."
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in the words of one reporter it marked "practical limitation of the majority race from the politics of the state. ." by 1910 other states had adopted statutes that sought to emulate mississippi's success in suppressing black voters. these laws passed during the jim crow era amounted to a national crisis of voter disenfranchisement. the most egregious tactics were outlawed in 1960. but the insidious effort to suppress voters has evolved and continued, most recently through
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a scourge of voter suppression laws introduced in state capitals across america. just this year more than 360 bills with restrictive voting provisions have been introduced in 47 states. these new pieces of legislation may not involvement receipt tests or counting the number of jellybeans in a jar, but make no mistake. they are a deliberate effort to suppress voters of color. this is the reality of our political landscape following the shelby county versus holder decision at 82013 which gutted the voting rights act. -- in 2013 which gutted the voting rights act. one texas bill would make it a felony for election officials to distribute absentee ballot applications. the law that has received the
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most attention in recent weeks is the one in georgia. it will make it harder for georgians to vote early or by absentee ballot and make it a crime to offer water to voters waiting in line. it was not long ago that an american could be barred from voting for failing to guess the number of jellybeans. why are states like georgia making it harder for americans to exercise their most fundament all right. the response is that these laws help to maintain the integrity of the election system. another tactic taken straight from the mississippi plan playbook. the president trump's own officials at the department of homeland security declared that the 2020 election was the most secure election in american history.
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so, my colleagues, on this committee were on the same ballot as president trump and are willing to accept the results that show their reelection. so these laws are not really about integrity. what is the problem? the problem is obvious. too many voters are showing up. georgia law -- georgia saw a historic turnout during the last election. among absentee balance we get an answer to our question. 65% of those who returned absentee ballots voted for president biden. 35% for president trump. it seems republican lawmakers in georgia have concluded that the solution to their election problems is to make it harder to vote. because the voters who did vote in the last election were not there voters.
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their voters. that is un-american. in our republic, politicians do not choose voters. voters choose us. we should enact legislation that makes it as easy as possible to vote. there are numbers of steps congress can take to advance this goal like the john lewis voting rights advancement at. -- act. i went back to read the transcript of the january 2 telephone conversation between president donald trump and mr. raffensperger. it was recorded. there is no doubt what was said. the president was explicit. he said ""i just want to find
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11,780 votes, one more than we have." the president, who had 17 days left, added that mr. raffensperger could be prosecuted criminally if they did not do his bidding. the president said "you know that is a criminal offense. you cannot let this happen. it is a big risk to you and ryan, your lawyer. --." it is no surprise that this president goes on to claim not only several conspiracy theories including debunked charges that ballots in fulton county, georgia where shredded and voting machines were operated by dominion voting systems were tempered -- tampered with and replaced.
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such charges are flatly untrue. if you want to have an accurate election and you are a republican, mr. trump told us to raffensperger. mr. raffensperger said we believe we do have a accurate election. mr. trump said "you guys are off by the hundreds of thousands of votes." i think about mr. raffensperger in georgia who had the foresight to take that conversation so that history would be clear. but also made it clear that an election where nearly 5 million votes were cast the notion that they could find 11,000 -- 11,780 votes was just plain wrong. of all of the absentee votes, of all of the votes in person, of all of the activities before and
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after the election, raffensperger refused to concede that point. it cost him. when it came time to pass the new laws, the georgia legislature signed into law by the georgia governor, stripped the secretary, mr. raffensperger, of his power to provide -- preside over state elections. he paid a heavy price for being honest and courageous. the secretary of state is removed under the new georgia law as a voting member on the state election board. a majority of those who voted in the georgia legislature were out to send mr. raffensperger a message that if you do not take the trump line and follow it and allege that you found votes not counted or counted improperly, you will pay a price for it. that is what we are up against. that is why this hearing is taking place. one of my heroes, and friends, and former colleagues, john lewis, said "the vote is
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precious. it is almost sacred. it is the most powerful, nonviolent will in a democracy." recent efforts from preventing americans from participating in our democracy reminds us how much work remains to protect this right. i will turn to ranking member grassley for his opening remarks. senator grassley: this is supposed to be hearing about voting rights. unfortunately, it is just the latest attack on one of our state's -- are states for enacting election integrity laws. democrats and big business have colluded to bully georgia in retaliation for its voting laws. but we would be naive to think that they will stop with the peach state. indeed, many of georgia's new provisions are similar to those we have in iowa. where we have experienced a record turnout and no instances
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of anyone being injured from voting. i object to the title of this hearing. like others on this committee, i am a fan of history. i try to learn from it. i do not use it to insult my opponents. as i said, title of this hearing is offensive. as a student of history, this title diminishes the very real challenges and unfairness that minorities endured in the jim crow south at the hands of southern democrats. the right to vote should not be political. we should all agree that participating in americans -- american democracy at the ballot box in the fundamental rights. it is a right we should want to protect. it should not become a political football. at a time when voters on both sides of the aisle have doubts about the integrity of our
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elections, polarizing rhetoric this -- that distorts history is not helpful. i am eager to hear from congressman owens what he thinks about these comparisons of voter id requirements to the people -- the evil system of oppression in which he grew up. there are falsehoods being peddled about the new georgia law. when biden repeatedly said that georgia ended voting hours early, the liberal washington post gave him four pinocchio's in its fact-check. there fact checker was shocked that biden kept repeating the false claim. it goes to show that these claims about georgia are not about truth. they are about politics. it goes beyond politics. the concerted efforts of
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liberals and their allies to mislead about george's voting laws have had terrible effects on georgia itself. there is an organized campaign started to make big business money so the people of georgia for their political choices. when you make political comments that it hurts people's pocketbooks, it ought to be something that everybody is offended by. most info mostly -- infamously major league baseball moved the all-star game from atlanta a move that will cost the city's economy 100 million jobs, affecting the income of georgians. a state senator lost his job in a law firm after political activists took a break from fleecing their donors to get him fired for his work as a citizen legislator. with partisans and -- when
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partisans and companies colluded to rerun the livelihoods of their opponents, there is a term for that. it is economic terrorism. the american people do not like this. a recent npr poll asks whether people support or oppose professional sports using their public roles to influence politics. 55% opposed it. only 40% supported it. on the other hand, the american people do like secure elections. a recent poll showed that 77% of the americans supports voter id laws including 74% of independents. 66% support voter id for absentee ballots. 80% agree that states need to balance no excuse voting with integrity safeguards.
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83% say states should remove all registers. i do not get it. when we are not just in georgia, but in other states, that when somebody dies, they need to be removed from the voting role. in 2021, i am not sure that apple pie would poll as well as common sense election integrity. the people of iowa whom i represent likes to -- like secure election. i have a statement for the record from our secretary of state explaining how we work to make election laws easy and honest. this last election showed why secure elections are necessary. we will be hearing from our democrat friends that voter fraud is so rare that we do not need to take steps to prevent it. in iowa, representative marianne
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mallory asked one of --won a race last fall by only six votes. every vote counts in iowa. we find numerous instances of double voting. it is not a big number, but it does happen. with congressional races being decided by only six votes, it obviously matters. at the same time, i want to be clear. there is no evidence of anyone being unable to vote in iowa due to our voting security provisions. all this talk about the importance of voting from democrats is less than -- just last month, speaker pelosi try to use her position of authority to try to throw dr. miller makes
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out vaio. it was fully certified by a come -- out of iowa. her opponent did not want to admit she had lost. she skipped court and democrat super lawyer facing sanctions in texas try to change the results of the house instead. when people will stop at nothing to win races, it is more important than ever that election laws are secure. sadly, my friends on the other side seem to disagree. elections and voting legislation that has been proposed in congress will take away the ability of states to establish their own voting roles. i hope to hear from secretary gardner why it is so important for states like iowa, new hampshire, and georgia to manage their own elections and why federalized election rules are bad for election integrity and
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for voter bridges patient. -- voter participation. i hope to hear about what really happened in georgia. not the made for tv headlines about jim crow 2021. but a sensible, fair, commonsense effort that they made to increase voter confidence in their elections. basic claims of voter suppression are just as corrosive towards democracy as baseless claims of voter fraud. we heard too much about that from last november. we should all be committed to making elections a sensible and secure -- sensible and secure. when i hear about voter suppression, the loser in this election lost by more votes than anyone ever, and if the winner won by more than ever, and you
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are telling me about voter suppression, the way people turn out? give me a break. >> thank you senator grassley. we are speaking about what has happened since that election in state legislatures across the country. since 2014 senator lahey has led efforts to revive the voting rights act. he may not be able to question witnesses but he would >> like to make a statement. >> i do appreciate the courtesy. i think this is the greatest crisis facing our democracy today. in my own state of vermont, we do everything possible to vote. the republican governor and the democratic lieutenant governor, every vote counts. we make sure they do.
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people in my state look at what happened in the georgia legislature and cannot understand how that is happening in the 21st century. the 2020 election should be a great source of pride for our nation. we suffered through a deadly pandemic. but even so, more americans voted in 2020 than in any modern time. both republicans and democrats. but instead of celebrate a significant achievement, the former president mounted a campaign of misinformation, spreading a big lie that there was widespread voter fraud that led to his defeat. this dense information -- disinformation campaign led to an assault on the nation's capitol which took the lives of five americans. i was proud that republicans and democrats in congress stood proudly together amid the broken glass to reject the big lie.
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when the republicans and democrats came together again days later for the inauguration of president biden, america sent a powerful message to the world. neither a deadly pandemic nor a violent insurrection can defeat our american system of government. that was 19 days ago. instead of capitalizing on the highest voter turnout in over a century, dozens of states have moved to restrict access to the ballot. as of march, more than three had 60 bills have been reduced -- introduced to make voting harder for americans. these efforts have been justified on the grounds that it should be harder to cheat.
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which falsely implies that voter fraud was a widespread problem. did we not just go through an election where there was practically no evidence of voter fraud? it was looked at by the courts. that is the conclusion they came to. did we not just reject a violent attempt to overthrow our election based on the false claim that it was stolen? i realize memories may be short, but this wave of laws is premised on little more than the big lie with a slapdash paint job. if you rejected the big lie than, you should oppose these efforts today. we should all easily agreed that when any voters in -- are disenfranchised, a democracy suffers. depriving americans of the right to vote denies representation in our republic. that is why the 1965 voting
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rights act, which helps the federal government prevent voter disenfranchisement, has been bipartisan. every congress from 1965 2006 repeatedly reauthorized the act on a bipartisan basis. in 2006 bio vote of 19 to zero. among those who join me in voting guesswork ranking member grassley, senator graham, and senator cornyn. it is pro-democracy, not pro-republican or pro-democrat. i hope there will be increased support for the already bipartisan john lewis voting rights advancement act. it restores federal government's powers under the voting rights
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act. john lewis called at the heart and soul of the voting rights act. as we watch almost daily states unleashed a wave of ill-founded laws that restrict the precious right to vote, not restrict -- not protected. -- not protect it. the voting rights act is more urgently needed than ever. all of us should remember what we saw and how we felt on january 6. we should all recall casting our votes in the twilight hours of january 7. a violent attack sought to deny the american people. that day we put aside our
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differences in defense of something bigger than political party, our democracy itself. in the months ahead, chairman, i hope we can defend our sacred right to vote. the right that gives democracy its name. thank you. >> senator cornyn question -- senator cornyn? senator cornyn: this is an important topic. but i do not think we do justice to this topic by entitling this jim crow 2021. unfortunately, rather than the usual fact-finding legislative process, it looks like today's hearing is really just performance art. in order to enhance a false narrative about how far we have come in this country, thank goodness, when it comes to minority voting rights participation. the right to cast a ballot is a
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cornerstone of our democracy. it is the process through which the will of the people is heard and turned into action. very basis for the legitimacy of our laws is the consent of the governed. they consent by electing their public officials at the ballot box. i believe our standards should be that we should make it easier to vote legally. but also, at the same time, make it harder to vote illegally. well, sadly, right to vote was denied two generations of americans based solely on their gender or race. this type of discrimination stands against the stark contrast of the founding principles of our country. i hope i can speak on behalf of everyone in this room when i say we need more americans to in our democracy. not fewer. in texas in 2020 we had a
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historic turnout of registered voters, 66% of registered voters of all ethnicities and race. just as americans have a right to make their voices heard in elections, congress has a responsibility to make sure elections are fair and free. if we do not have fair and free elections, we do not preserve the core constitutional right of the people to make their voices heard. expanding voter access does not have to come at the expense of commonsense guardrails and protections that preserve the integrity of the ballot. for every one person who votes who is unauthorized, or is disqualified, that dilutes the vote of legitimate and legal voters. disparaging those same detections like voter identification, as a jim crow 2021 or racist is false and i believe dangerously so.
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our founders understood that all power ultimately relies on the people. when government takes this power away from the state legislatures, it is effectively seizing power from the people of those states to hold elected officials responsible. if this is -- this is very important because the founders gave us a roadmap, the constitution. the power resides in the hands of the people through their ability to hold state legislators accountable. the constitution gives states the power to regulate "the times , places, and manners of holding election"." i read this to mean that the states are to chart their own course for elections, subject to guardrails, and when necessary, congress can provide guidance
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but not hijack the process entirely. nowhere in the constitution does it empower the federal government to completely usurp the role of the states in holding elections. indeed, nowhere does congress have the it is acting like a hijacker, to take over the constitutional authority from the states. acting as the sole arbiter, whether the election enroll on vermont -- rural vermont or downtown chicago. we had the highest turnout ever for a presidential election.
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according to examples. the number or percentage of african-americans who cast their ballot is roughly the same as the percentage of the african-american population in america. i'm encouraged by the trend of more people voting and hope it continues. i agree that we should have this hearing and we should focus on bipartisan solutions. but, using charged rhetoric to describe voting laws like the one in georgia is misleading. it is not constructive. it undermines trust in congress and our election system. in fact, the georgia law consorts with the laws of many democrat run states. this is not to say there is not more work to be done.
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but it is important that we temper the charged rhetoric and understand specifics of what we are talking about. rather than inflame this debate across the country. here is one example, the georgia provision requires a free id card in order to receive an absentee ballot. that is nearly identical to a provision supported by then senator biden and occurred chairman of this committee. indeed, the help america vote act would require everyone voting in election to provide a copy of a photo id. and if they don't have one company can get one. or provide a copy of a bank statement, paycheck or utility bill. in other words, they can do it for free. i don't think this is a radical opposition coupled with the idea of offering free iba cards --
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three id cards. the congruence of basic safeguards to preserve the rights of people to vote, for their vote to count equally in a free and fair election, it helps inspire public confidence of the same time. jimmy carter, james baker the third, they looked at preserving the integrity of our elections. and they reach the same conclusion. the electoral system cannot inspire public confidence if no safeguards exist to protect fraud or confirm the identity of voters. photo ids are currently needed to board an airplane, enter a federal building like this one, to operate a motor vehicle, to to -- to cash a check, by alcohol, pickup will call tickets at a major baseball game. i support efforts to expand voter access to these efforts cannot interfere with the integrity of our elections.
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today's hearing is an excellent opportunity to discuss that, expanding access to all eligible voters. i appreciate the chairman and ranking member holding this hearing. not so much the title of the hearing but i think the subject matter is important and i and eager to hear more from today's witnesses. >> thank you, today we welcome to members of congress to testify. in addition to represent in the state of georgia after his election, senator warnock serves as a senior pastor in atlanta. where congressman john lewis was a member. senator warnock could you proceed with your statement? sen. warnock: thank you for inviting me here today. i am especially glad to join the
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distinguished witnesses. i have come here today to express the critical need for the federal government to act urgently. to protect the sacred right to vote. america is a land where possibility is born of democracy. our vote is our voice. a chance to help determine the direction of our country and our own destiny within it. record numbers of georgians used their voices and voted in the last election. and, in response to the swell of democratic participation, politicians in our state legislator responded not in celebration but with retaliation. they could have not seen the
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outcome of some of them wanted. they could've got busy changing their message. or adjusting their policy. instead, they got busy changing the rules. we have seen voter suppression bills since the election in november and january all across this country. 360 voter suppression bills and 47 states. an increase of 100 bills since i highlighted this issue on the senate floor just a month ago. as of today, five of these bills, including in my own state of georgia, have been signed into law. these efforts very and exactly how they suppress voters. some dulos, like in georgia, will make it harder to vote by
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mail. some will make lines that are already too long, longer. harder to cast a provisional vote. the new law also gives state politicians, the same politicians who still today refused to involve -- acknowledged president biden's lawful and decisive victory, the power to override local officials. we may be tempted to dissect these bills and analyze the piece by piece to make them more rational. but that narrow analysis only obscures the larger, unmistakable picture. this is a full-fledged assault on voting rights unlike anything we have seen since the era of jim crow. all of their differences and exactly how they suppress the vote, with these bills all share is that they are predicated on the big live.
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the outcome of our last election as a result of fraud, at least the presidential election, i guess the members who won their elections are ok with the. the truth is, politicians in their craven love for power, are willing to sacrifice our democracy by using the big lie as a pretext for their true aim, some people don't want other people to vote. to be sure we have seen these kinds of voter suppression tactics before, aimed at the same communities. they are part of a law and -- a long and shameful history in georgia. that is also filled with moments of hope and progress. our nation has come together in recognition that preserving our democracy is absolutely essential. voting rights are preservative of all other rights, just 15 years ago, the united states congress reauthorized voting's -- a voting rights act of 1965
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under a republican president. with a bipartisan vote in the senate of 90 80. at the time, our colleague, senator mitch mcconnell prays its passage. declaring it a law that would make a difference for all of america. many members of this committee, including the chair, and the ranking member, enthusiastically voted in favor of it. that was 2006. why should voting right register late in -- why should voting rights legislation be just as bipartisan now in 2021 as it was in 2006? voting rights should always be bipartisan. it is not a difference between right and left but a difference between right and wrong. many argue that the united states senate is dysfunctional and incapable of governing in a bipartisan manner. we can boldly refute these
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claims coming together not of democrats but of republicans, but of supporters of democracy itself for the past the people act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act. together, these two bills will turn the tide against state level voter suppression proposals all across the country. these pieces of legislation will expand and protect access to the balance of every citizen, democrats, republicans and independents. because strengthening the democracy does not benefit one party over another. instead it benefits all of us by ensuring that our government is by the people and for the people. john lewis was my parishioner. i was honored, on many occasions, to stand with him as we took people to vote after
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church at ebenezer. he understood that our democracy transcends all levels. and he nearly died defending it. today, our country faces the most widespread assault on voting rights since that era. the four most powerful words in a democracy are the people have spoken. the highest and most sacred action the senate can take is to protect the right of the people like it did in 1965 as we move forward with this discussion. i have asked myself on many occasions, what would have happened had we not had federal legislation affirming the covenant of our democracy in 1965? where would georgia be? how would it prosper on the other side of the segregationist
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curtain. had we not acted, would our country look like? surely i would not be sitting here as only the 11th black senator in the history of our country and the first in georgia. maybe that is the point. it concerns me that some don't hear the irony in their statement that we must protect minority rights in the senate while per two -- while refusing to protect minority rights in society. we have to act. history is watching us. children are counting on us -- counting on us. we must pass federal voting rights legislation a matter what. >> thank you, senator warnock. senator grassley, would you introduce your guest? sen. grassley: is a great pleasure to introduce him, most know him as an outstanding football player, but it's my honor to introduce him, he
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represents the great state of utah. congressman owens is a new addition to the house. we are pleased to have him with us this morning. rep. owens: thank you for the invitation to join you today at this hearing. my story begins with my great-grandfather who arrived in america as a child shackled in a slave ship. he escapes to the underground railroad, later became a successful entrepreneur. my grandfather, oster kirby, served our country and world war i. he was respected as a farmer, raising 12 children, all of whom graduated college. they were stationed in the philippines at the end of world war ii to return home to texas,
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laws denied him a postgraduate education. he used this as motivation and received his phd at ohio state university and had several careers. i grew up in the era of actual legalized institutional racism. i grew up in the deep south. my first experience with white americans was at 16 years old. at 18, i received a scholarship to play football at the university of miami. i sit today before you as someone who has lived the american dream, millions of other americans from all races from any background. all men and women are created equal. a mission statement that every american should have an equal opportunity for life liberty and
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the pursuit of happiness area as someone who has actually experienced jim crow laws, i would like to set the record state on the midst of a recently passed georgia state law and why any comparison of this law and the georgia law -- and jim crow law is outrageous. at the age of 12, my father allow me to produce a paper in a demonstration of college students, i was the youngest participant. only 50 years later i learned that my father had parked across the street to watch and make sure i was safe. in the seventh grade, my school received books from the all-white school across town instead of new books. at certain stations, there are white men only restrooms, and filthy ones in the back for black americans designated as people of color.
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in addition, taxes and intimidation at the bulls made it nearly impossible for black women -- for black men and women to vote. this law simply requires any person requiring for a -- applying for an absentee ballot to include evidence. if a voter does not have a driver's license or id card, bank statement, government check, paycheck or any other government document that shows the name and address, if they somehow cannot produce one of the forms of id, that voter can still go and cast a vote, a provisional ballot. 97% of georgia voting already has a id. what i find offensive is the narrative from the left that black people are not smart or educated enough or have the desire and offer education to do it every other culture and race doesn't this country, get an id. true racism is this -- the
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projection of the democratic party on my proud race. president biden said of the georgia law, this is jim crow on steroids. with all due respect mr. president, you know better. it is disgusting and offensive to compare actual voter suppression and area we grew up into a state law that only ask that people show their id. this is what we would expect in the 1960's, not today. by the way, poll taxes were issued by the democratic party. the intimidation of black americans by the kkk was initiated by the democratic party. jim crow was initiated by the democratic party. below expectations now projected on black americans, not italians, not asians, not polish, not jewish, but only black americans, is being done
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by the democratic party. where black misery today thrives, lack of education, lack of jobs, the calls to defund the police, all done from the democratic parties. by increasing illegal voting, and not giving voice to the legal americans, black americans were waking up today is a tragedy of this process. we are seeing 18% of black men turn away from the democratic party because they are saying that their vote can count, their future can matter. we have seen twice the percentage of black women doing the same. a record number of hispanic, asian, gay community members doing the same. all americans expect, is fairness, security, to walk away from the polls knowing that my
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vote counted. if we didn't win, we work harder next time to make sure our message resonates. but to call this jim crow 2021 is an insult. those who never lived jim crow, for black americans to god every day and vote the way we feel we should, and not be demeaned by something 60 years ago by which we had no right to vote. they give very much. >> we will now turn to our panel of witnesses. we think the members for attending. today we welcome five-minute -- five witnesses to testify on the latest assault on the fundamental right to vote. i will introduce then i will asset or -- i will ask senator grassley to do the same. our first witness is a professor of african-american studies at emory university in atlanta.
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professor andersen's focuses on public policy in the intersection of race, justice and equality in the united states. she is the author of multiple books including white rage, the racial divide. she is well-known to the committee and others. the president, director of the council of a civil education fund, civil rights organization founded by thurgood marshall. that has filed some of the most significant legal battles for racial justice and equality. finally, the honorable stacey abrams. she served for 11 years in the georgia house of representatives, including seven years as democratic leader. in 2018 she became the first black woman to become a nominee for the major party in the
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united states after witnessing voter suppression efforts during the 2018 election, she launched fair fight and fair fight action to protect the voting rights of georgians and other americans. ranking member grassley, would you please introduce your witnesses? sen. grassley: it is my pleasure to introduce miss jones , and her nearly 20 years in office, speaker jones has distinguished herself as an advocate through improved public education and government. she was elected by her peers to serve as the highest elected woman in the georgia general assembly in 2010 after serving as majority whip. she has authored various bills, she is also done much to reform
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george's k-12 education. speaker jones lives in milton georgia with her husband. she is a graduate of the university of georgia and has an mba from georgia state. she is a businesswoman and a mother of four. i thank her for appearing today. sen cotton: i am pleased to introduce new hampshire secretary of state, bill gardner. he was first elected to serve the people of new hampshire in 1976. just one year before i was born. senator grassley doesn't even want to know how many years before senator allsop was born. he has been serving the people of new hampshire so well. i'm sure there are things we don't agree on but i invited him here because this is not a partisan issue, rather it should be.
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free and fair elections and ministered by the government is what our members intended. that is why there is bipartisan opposition. he is well-positioned to talk about these problems and how this bill would wreak havoc on our elections, more fundamentally, he can talk about the real phylum -- the real problem that this is a takeover of our federal election system. i would like to thank him for testifying, the longest serving secretary of state in america and a democrat has a lot to say that we should listen to before we make radical changes. sen. durbin: the procedure will follow today, we will swear in the witnesses, there will be one round of questions, each senator will have five minutes, we asked to try to stay within their lifetimes. i would like to ask all of the witnesses, they are in remote status, to please stand in
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place. to be sworn in. raise your right hand. do you affirm the testimony you are about to get before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? i'm going to assume all witnesses answered in the affirmative. thank you all. professor anderson, please proceed. prof. anderson: thank you for this opportunity to speak with you about the history of voting rights. i will focus on three things, one, the target of disenfranchisement. two, the use of language to evade the amendment. in 1890, during the rise of jim crow, it was flagged that the sole reason this legislature revives the state constitution
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was to eliminate the need grows from politics. similarly, so many others, they rush to champion legislature that would inevitably cut from the electorate, forfeits of the nigro voters. i call it bureaucratic violence. because it is designed to attack and undermined african-american voting rights and other citizenship rights. while providing an aura of legitimacy. with this was advocating was a disenfranchisement program. throughout the south, other barriers to the ballot box. not surprisingly, participation dropped. in 1884 example, by 1912, a few
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years after the state amended its constitution to include the grandfather clause, it had dropped to just 1%. violating the spirit and the attempts, they did so by pulling race language as a proxy for race. it required all voters to tax the ballot. with the pole actually did though, granted by centuries of unpaid labor. and sharecropping. the taxi and innocuous on its surface, but because of the poverty, and amounted to laborers paying the equivalent
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of $239 in 2020 to vote. similarly, a literacy test, which required a voter to read a section of the constitution, explain the consequences of denying education to the enslaved for hundreds of years. then, after the civil war, underfunding black schools. the u.s. supreme court ruled that the poll tax and literacy test did not violate the 15th amendment because of everyone who wanted to vote. that meant not everyone had to deal with having their ancestors enslaved. those of the court blessings of the jim crow, by 1940, only 3% of eligible african-americans in the south were registered to vote. these states justified millions of american system -- american
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citizens from the ballot box by claiming they were perpetrating fraud. they knew that was not the case. the last rabbit voter fraud is serving the same function today as it did during the rise of jim crow. fear and a segment of a population that democracy is in peril. lack of cover for laws that target black voters. in the 21st century, as indiana implement at the first voter id laws, the secretary of state recalled it. back in 2001 and 2002, election integrity was a huge issue. there were fears of boats being stolen. that fear did not pan out to be true. the fear was still there. in 2021, state representative alan powell admitted that widespread voter fraud was not found. it is just in a lot of people's
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mind that there was. that fictional, loch ness monster has led legislators from 47 states to propose 361 voter restriction bills to address concerns about suppose it voter fraud. if left unchecked, this onslaught of bureaucratic violence will make the mississippi plan look tame by comparison. thank you. sen. durbin: thank you, dr. anderson. secretary of state bill gardner is next. sec. gardner: thank you mr. chairman, ricky member, members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today about a critically important issue that impacts all of us. the integrity of our elections, the foundation of our free society. while i certainly support efforts of individual states to improve their own elections, the
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states have long been testing ground for innovation enhancing and protecting the most fundamental rights of a citizen in this country. that is our right to vote. with that said, i am deeply troubled and concerned about the direction some of congress would take the states in terms of the conduct of elections. an unjustified federal intrusion into the election process of the individual states will damage voter confidence, diminish the importance of election day itself and ultimately result in low verdure tone out. -- low voter turnout. we only need to look at the history of the national voter registration act of 1993 that was commonly called the no voter law. to see that federal involvement in the election process does not render the promise result.
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when the nvra was enacted by congress, it was believed that many more united states citizens would be able to vote. millions of dollars were spent by the states to comply with that act. it completely change the voter registration process in the states. in contrast, new hampshire maintained an exemption to the nvra. due to having election day registration at the polling place. and, as a result, as far as voter turnout, it surged to the top here, voter turnout among the states. and has consistently maintained its position in the top three states for the past four presidential elections. since the year 2000, new hampshire has been double-digit
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percentage points higher than the national average. again, using voting age population. the attached voter turnout charts will illustrate these trends. and be very important to take a close look at those charts. in a one-size-fits-all federal approach, legislation known as for the people act would trample new hampshire's state constitution. which requires all votes to be received, counted and the results publicly announced on the day of the election. it permits absentee ballots to be used only by voters who will be absent on election day. or, who have a disability preventing the voter from attending the polling place.
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the election process in new hampshire is a relatively simple one. the massive federal legislation contemplated by congress will overcomplicate our election system. at tremendous financial cost. it would negate traditions that have served new hampshire voters well, some for over 200 years. i believe the charts i have provided based on facts are self explanatory. and why i believed if legislation hr one will hurt or s1 will hurt voter participation. especially in my state of new hampshire. sen. durbin: thank you, mr. gardner.
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>> good morning chairman durbin, ranking number grassley and members of the committee. my name is sherilyn ifill, i am the president and executive council of the naacp legal defense foundation. think of the opportunity to testify this morning. vince its founding, we have been a leader in protecting voting rights for black voters. we represented martin luther king junior. we have medicated seminole cases over decades. and we continue to litigate and work with communities in the south to strengthen and protect the ability of black citizens to participate in the political process free from discrimination. beyond litigation, we monitor primary and federal elections every year through our nonpartisan and voting rights
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defender initiative. last year, we partnered with lebron james to recruit young poll workers to the 2020 election and ensure polling places could remain open and black communities despite the covid-19 pandemic. over 40,000 new poll workers were approved as part of that after. our experience last year outlines in detail in my submitted written testimony, makes it clear that contrary to numerous reports, the 2020 election did not go smoothly. instead, voters overcame a litany of barriers and obstacles with determination and resilience to reduce -- to produce the highest turnout ever produced in a election. throughout the spring and summer of 2020, we were involved in numerous lawsuits and other efforts challenging the voting
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options for black and medically vulnerable members during the pandemic in texas, louisiana, alabama and south carolina. it resulted in changes for mail-in voting requirement, significantly increasing voter protection and accessibility. nevertheless, voters stood for hours on long lines during the primary and general election. the determination was extraordinary. one elderly african american woman fainted while waiting hours online to vote refused to get and amulets, insisting she would stay and cast your ballot. polling place closures and consolidation created confusion for voters. robo calls targeting black and latino voters in flint michigan, and detroit, encouraging them to vote on wednesday instead of the tuesday election. they received over 30,000 calls from voters facing obstacles to
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voting in the election. in one of the most disturbing features, voter intimidation. at levels not seen for decades. it became an alarming feature. numerous floridians received emails suggesting that the proud boys would come after voters who did not cast their ballot for the republican presidential candidate. evidence this oppression continued even after election day, encouraged by the former. people across the country participated in a campaign to disrupt accounting and certification of ballots cast in states. then the attack on the capitol on january 6 was a result of concerted effort to undermine an effort to overturn the result. since january 7, state lawmakers have published a wave of restricted voter laws. as of march 24, state legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive
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provisions in 47 states. it was among other restricted provisions, providing water to voters standing on line. arkansas and florida are following suit. it would prohibit voter participation efforts by outlawing or re--- outlying early voting's on sun dance. litigation cannot fully solve the challenge we are facing. it is slow and offensive. -- slow and expensive. this is not a model that can be sustained and healthy democracy. we need congress to act. the framers of the 14th
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amendment gave congress the power to enforce the guarantee of equal protection and the protection against voting discrimination based on race. for a hundred years, after the ratification of those amendments until the passage of the voting rights act, congress advocated to use this enforcement power. the black people were disenfranchised by full taxes. now, congress must once again use this power to fulfill the promise of full citizenship guaranteed to black americans. my testimony has been submitted. i hope it will aid the committee in its delivery. sen. durbin: thank you, now we have president jan jones. ms. jones: thank you for
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inviting me to testify before today's committee hearing. i come before you as a proud georgian, a member of the georgia general assembly where i serve as speaker pro tem for the georgia house of representatives. in georgia, we are making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. we are ensuring voter accessibility, transparency, and integrity. in 2021, we held primary and general elections using a new statewide election system during the first modern worldwide pandemic and record turnout. all of these together, along with changes in voter preferences and choices, stressed our election system. our obligation was to initiate a comprehensive review to ensure that citizens have the ability to vote easily and in a timely manner. strengthening georgia's elections process is not new to 2021.
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in fact, in 2000 and three -- 2003, since her had control, 59 election bills have been signed into law. including at least one bill in every year. the 2019 legislation address concerns. including a process of procuring provisional ballots and lengthening a. to nine years before some inactive voters are removed from the rolls. senate bill 202 is a forward facing approach to elections, implement measures to increase voter accessibility. please allow me to break down some of the key components. for the very first time, election superintendent shall continue processing, counting and tabulating ballots until such activities are completed on election day. to prevent the untimely release of returns.
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in makes clear that the business of elections is to be run and funded by the government, not tech billionaires and their partisan allies. again, for the first time, georgia law now requires two saturdays instead of one and two optional sundays of early voting. senate bill 202 creates more uniformity in days and hours of early voting in all 159 counties. now, 134 of george's 159 counties will offer more in person voting hours than ever before. i would note, george's total amount, 17 to 19 days of early voting is more than delaware, the district of columbia, new mexico, hawaii, massachusetts, new york, oregon and wisconsin. for the first time, start and end dates for absentee ballot applications will more logically coincide with in person early
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voting and practices in other states. this change will increase the likelihood that a voter successfully casts an absentee ballot. 90% of absentee ballot requests in 2020 made greater than 10 days before the election will successfully voted. in contrast, only 50% of requests made fewer than 10 days before the election were successfully voted. this provision increases successful voting. certainly, the legislation does not prohibit poll workers from giving water to people in line. even voters bring their own food and water along with them as has been the long practice. in fact, the bill does the opposite. it prohibits offering anything of value. within a hundred 50 feet of a polling pace. -- polling place. except for water offered by election officials. this is because, activists and candidates appearing on the ballot aggressively, for the
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first time, passed out water, food, some with logos attached to them. i polling locations. it is practiced commonly for two as blind voting. it violates the spirit of reelections. the fact is, most states have a prohibition of activities considered to be campaign or electioneering within a protective fish ranging from 30 feet in virginia to a hundred feet california 200 and 50 feet -- 250 feet in california. i would be remiss if i did not know being selective outrage we have seen. these voting's more secure, states like connecticut, massachusetts, new hampshire and new york among others, simply do not have any no excuse absent people in. the shame is theirs. we also eliminated subjective signature matching for absentee
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ballots and ballot application. as is criticized by democrats and republicans in 2020. and replace it with objective forms of identification. let me be clear. georgia did not eliminate no excuse absentee voting. it is easy to write alarming words and give misleading soundbites that would lead people away from the facts. the facts don't support seeing the mainstream sound of election law. it is just plain wrong. i look forward to answering your questions and setting the record straight on how we are making it easier to vote, harder to cheat and ensuring every legal vote counts. thank you. sen. durbin: i'm sorry if i got your title wrong, i think i up future president in that introduction. but thank you for your testimony. we now have stacey abrams. ms. abrams: thank you.
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today's conversation regarding the john lewis voting right mean -- voting right investment act does not include the voter suppression measures sweeping across. grounding in the security of the 2020 election. as a necessary reminder, it targeted black voters and never exclusively excluded eligibility by race. then, as now, the law aimed at behaviors to limit access. hundreds of bills pending, a significant number of the worst attack on the right to vote made possible by the supreme court gunning for the voting rights act of 1965 in the 2013 shelby county decision. that decision authorized states and locality to again impose
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limits, restrictions, the dramatic proliferation of anti-voting laws across the country in 2021. demonstrates the need, the urgent need to bring formula into the modern era to reinstate federal oversight of discriminatory voting practices and to strengthen and protect voting lights wherever protection -- voting rights wherever protection occurs. georgia has been among the worst actors, including malicious prosecution of lawful absentee ballots in 2010 and intimidation of black voters by deputy sheriff in 2015. the department of justice noted 170 discriminatory changes. after shelley removed clearance, analysis shows they are more likely, including 85,000 voters
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being unable to cast ballots in 2018 alone. after 200 14 such low closures. georgia voters are now creating, by flawed analysis, narrowly targeting the community. i will highlight only a few attacks. voters in georgia -- voters of color and georgia were more likely to vote by mail for the first time in the last two election cycles. suddenly, sp 202 shortens the time frame required and imposes a new requirement that will have an amplified cause-and-effect on
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voters of color and black georgians in particular. voters of color in georgia are more likely than white voters to stand in long lines, including the eight hour debacle that occurred in june of 2020. sp 202 criminalizes a volunteer handing a battle of water or food -- a bottle of water or food to voters while in line. across the country, these laws target voters of color restricting access to the ballot a black, latinos, asian american, pacific islanders and native american community. in texas, arizona and michigan, hr considering laws to restrict voting rights. when the fundamental right to vote affects the political ambition and prejudices of state actors, federal must be the appropriate remedy. this is essential to the protection of democracy. protecting voting rights has
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been an endeavor since the enactment in 1965 and subsequent reauthorization. while each of us will have to declare party lord t, our first obligation to the fundamental standards of democracy which must be aggressively nonpartisan. actions taken to restrict access, for participation or discourage engagement are at that nickel and should be opposed. we must advocate. to guarantee a vigorous and fair debate amongst americans of goodwill. it is my profound hope that we will honor the legacy of congressman john lewis in the lives of those lost in the fight for a more perfect union by enacting critical legislation into law. i think you for the opportunity to take part in this important discussion and i urge you to continue. sen. durbin: let me concede at
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the outset, jim crow at its worst was more violent than the situation we face today. i don't want to account all of the horrors of that bigotry and racism that occurred but i think, the bottom line question that we are addressing in this hearing is whether there is a design or intent in legislation being considered and passed in many state, including the state of georgia, to limit or restrict the right to vote of the minority populations. with the intent of having influence in the account -- in the outcome of the election. clearly there is a difference in the witnesses who have appeared both for the committees. i would like to ask stacey abrams, for example, the speaker , miss jones, said earlier the new georgia law made it easier to vote in the state. you recounted a few instances, but can you think of developments in the law signed
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by governor kemp that do the opposite? ms. abrams: first, it has been proposed this is an expansion of rights. let's be clear, in the state of georgia, 60% of georgians lived in counties that already had two saturdays of early voting. when change is that now additional counties will join the ranks and that is a good thing. at the same time, those counties will enjoy those ranks, they have reduce mandatory rates, eliminated weeks of early voting during federal runoff. let's be very clear, federal runoffs in georgia were predicated on a racist presence of a limiting access to the right to vote for african americans. they eliminate access to a mandatory weekend voting day. another example that this expands hours for voting. yes, you can vote between 9-to-5, but for 78 of georgians,
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prior to this bill, the hours for voting during early voting were 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.. this actually eliminates hours of voting and mandates only a short. of time. that was the misunderstanding that i think is still misunderstood by the washington post. because early voting hours are now optional and not mandatory. we have 70% of georgians who experienced longer voting hours and now have shortened hours. in addition, there was a narrative that said the use of a social security number allowed for if you don't have access to an id. let's be clear, you cannot apply for an absentee ballot with your social security number, you must have some form of id that are unavailable to currently 200,000 georgians. those are just a few if the issues. -- of the issues. we have to be clear that in the state of georgia, eight hour lines for communities of color
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has to come not an unusual circumstance. we have seen between four and eight hour lines. people do not often come prepared to stand in line for the whole of a business day. they certainly don't often bring food with them and this ignores the fact that the overworked poll workers were inside of this building not have the time to come out and handout refreshments because they are busy processing so many voters who have been underserved. i would use those as a few examples of why this bill is appearing malicious and its intent. sen. durbin: miss jones, i would like to ask you to respond to this question. there was an allegation made by the former president of the united states relating to the voting in the state of georgia, he went so far at one point in a recorded conversation to say that 5000 dead people had voted. mr. raffensperger applied -- replied that there were only two they could find and i was to too
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many. if you could comment on the 2020 election, do you believe there was voter fraud in georgia as president trump alleged? ms. j io am here to discuss what is in set a bill to o2, not relitigatingnes: nor am i here to relitigate in 2020. what i can say, the bill does increase accessibility. 47 counties had no two saturdays of voting and now will be required joined this bill. not one georgian will reduce hours because it allows up to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.. when it does do is mandate from nine in the morning to 5 p.m.. we have counties with less or fewer voting hours for early voting.
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this actually does increase the amount. sen. durbin: i would like to follow through on that, the reason for my question is this -- i'm trying to understand the logic behind new voting laws which would give less time to request absentee ballots, restrict new iberia requirements for absentee ballots, make it illegal for election official to mail a ballot application and the like. and light of the 2020 election, i believe mr. raffensperger spoke the truth, there certainly was no evidence to suggest otherwise. when he suggested the election in 2020 following the old law was absent any major voting fraud. so, if the premise was 2020 sound, why the changes that restrict certain practices that created opportunities for people to vote in georgia? sen. durbin: they queue for the
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question. since 2003, 50 nine election bills have been passed the georgia. after the 2018 elections, we have an elections bill that addressed some of the concerns expressed by democrats. in this bill, after a worldwide pandemic, record turnout, a new election system, once again, we are coming back to address concerns expressed by both democrats and republicans. the bill will absolutely reduce the long lines and it will make clear that there has to be -- it makes clear that there has to be proper notice. has to required notice. with a sign also at the new location. there are many provisions, let me just mention, specifically with the regard -- with regards to your request about shortening
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hours, as recommended by the association of county commissioners which was a bipartisan group in the u.s. postal service, our timing to request an absentee ballot allows someone to request on friday before the regular election which overserved beds they will have an unsuccessful. after 10 days, it is more expensive. i will admit, 11 days, then with the u.s. postal service recommended, 14 days. i do believe it will result in more successful absentee ballots cast regardless of whether one goes anywhere in the state and they are democrat or republican. sen. durbin: i would say in conclusion, giving georgia voters under the new law less time to request absentee ballots and shutting down the number of drop boxes 94 to 23, cannot make
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it easier to vote or create more opportunity. i think the opposite is the case. senator grassley? sen. grassley: speaker jones, did you look at any other states for guidance or inspiration in the provisions of sb 202? ms. jones: yes, we certainly did. he wanted to make sure that although our voting system is more expensive than many in the country, particularly in the northeast, we wanted to make sure that any changes we made were mainstream, common sense, and made an easier, more fair, more transparent and secure for a voter regardless of their geography or whichever party they tended to vote for. i do believe this bill does that. unlike most states in the union,
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we do have a voter id which is common sense regulation and required to pick up a child from daycare, for a flight to visit grandmother, to cash a check, i think the bigger issue for the rather help the few that don't have one to obtain one. sen. grassley: can you tell me what sb 202 does to reduce lines to vote? if it's got 10 examples that you can give, give me one or two.
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spkr. jones: particularly in the june primary, when we had a brand-new election system and pull workers were utilizing new machines, we did have some long lines in some areas of the state. they were primarily in counties that are democrat-run. regardless of that, what we did is we required at any single point in time in the next general election, if there is a line of one hour or longer at the next following subsequent general election, the election superintendent for that county must either -- that poll workers machines or all of the three. sen. grassley: i would like to ask secretary gardner, iowa and new hampshire brag about first in the nation, one for caucus and one for primary.
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hr one or its state equivalent is passed, if so, what effect would that have on the ability of large states to preserve their first in the nation status? >> s1 would not specifically have an effect. however, i made the statement that it could put the new hampshire primary in a perilous position. i stand by that statement. sen. grassley: let me ask you one other question. your state has voting laws that are seen as restrictive, yet as you told us in the opening
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statement, it consistently has some of the highest turnout for elections in the country. would you agree voters tend to turn out more for elections when they have more confidence that their vote will be counted appropriately? what effect does your voter i d provision have on turnout? spkr. jones: absolutely, the trust and confidence voters have in the process is a huge boost to turnout. new hampshire had a voter id law in the 2012 presidential election. 20 to me, 26 months ago, that was the first election where we had voter id. we had in 2012, the highest turnout since 1960 in new
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hampshire, over 14% higher than the country as a whole and higher than we had had in over half a century in our own elections. in 2016, we went higher than that, 14.5%, higher than the country as a whole, with the second presidential election using voter id. in 2020, it was the same. when voter id was going through the legislature, there were people saying 10% of the population was not going to be able to vote. this would hurt certain groups more than it would hurt other groups and there were nonprofits like pugh that came and testify in our hearings, saying it could be 11% decline.
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in our state it was the absolute opposite. three presidential elections in a row, you have to get back half a century. those artifacts on that issue -- those are the facts on that issue. chair durbin: senator whitehouse, remote. sen. whitehouse: as you know, i'm inclined to ask why about things and i can't help but wonder why after the trump administration's top election security official and georgia's own election officials vouched for the integrity of the last election did seemingly every republican-controlled legislative body in the country have it to a trump command to file and move voter suppression
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bills? 361 of them by one count. you see group behavior, it's often interesting to look for the motivation. you have the big lie that the election was stolen, which allows for skepticism to be brought against elections, even if it is not founded in fact. at the same time, you have unpopular policies amended by a republican donor elite that has every interest in building an electorate that will give the donor elite its policies rather than giving up on their policies in order to attract voters. as our friend rev. warnock says, limited voters serve this, particularly when limited voters make sure some people are not voting. of course, dark money is that
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donor elite's weapon of choice. we see the conservative dark many groups have announced 39 billion dollars in spending campaigns to restrict voting rights at the state level and block passage of the for the people act. that same group spent over $100 million in dark money in the 2018 election cycle. at the state level, we see to particular groups very prominent. one, the state policy network and to comedy legislator exchange council, alec is toxic enough for exxon to sever ties to alec. when exxon thinks it needs to clean up its act severing from you, that is a strong signal. alec has singled out representative jones for praise, calling her and out legislator
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alec is funded by coke industries in his head -- and has received millions of dollars from the charles c coke foundation come of the bradley foundation, and through the identity laundering donors trust and donors capital fund. it is working with the heritage foundation on a $24 million campaign to produce model voting legislation for state legislatures like george's to adopt -- like georgia's to adopt. alec has created a secret working group on election-related matters led by miss mitchell who will remember for her role to flip george's election results. -- georgia's election results. there is the georgia public policy center, the local
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affiliate of the state policy network. representative jones has said i won't publicly say how much i appreciate georgia public policy foundation. we rely on their research and work and it has been invaluable -- and invaluable resource to it -- to us. alec is an official associate organization of the state policy network with the georgia public policy center. the state policy network has paid for dozens of think tanks to become alec members. so there's connections between the dark money alec group and the dark money state policy network. they are largely funded by corporations and right wing foundations like the rove foundation and the i -- the ubiquity identity launderers
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donors capital trust and donor capital fund. there are other members in the state -- the heritage foundation, heritage action for america announced plans to spend 24 million dollars on a two-year effort to shape states voting laws and work at the federal level to block the for the people act. in march, heritage action recently large -- launched an effort to strengthen georgia's laws and restore voter confidence in the state, including a $600,000 tv ad by an grassroots advocacy initiative for an initial total investment of $1 million. that is a quote from them. at the same time, you have the honest elections project, leonard leo's new outgrowth of his vast dark money network that has spent tens of millions of dollars in conservative election efforts.
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the honest elections project is an alias group that can use all the anonymous funds given to the judicial education project which leo used to steer foundation grants into coordinated amicus briefs that i have documented elsewhere. they release a string of press releases or -- urging georgia to release its 2020 election results and congratulated the state for enacting sb 202 last month. last, one group has promoted poll watchers tasked with finding suspicious activities, often focused on neighborhoods of color. its finances are largely opaque, coming through an unwise donations as well as the bradley foundation and the state policy network. so there is this conflict
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interlocking network of billionaire dark money that i think tends to signal why the whole herd would have moved out once based on no actual evidence of fraud or dishonesty in the election. is my time expired? chair durbin: i'm afraid it is. sen. whitehouse: my apologies. i will yield my nonexistent remaining time. sen. graham: to my dear friend sheldon, i appreciate your consistency. what would account for the elephant herd apparently is marching one way. hr one is supported by most every liberal group in the country, most of my democratic colleagues support hr one. why? what motivates you?
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redistricting. under your proposal, you take redistricting away from state elected officials and give it to some independent commission. what does that got to do with voting? that is about trying to change the ability of red states to draw new lines based on population shifts. hr one has a six-one match for low dollar donations. what does that got to do with voting? nothing. it's got to do with political power, having the federal government campaign favorable to you. if a six to one match had been in place in my recent election, south carolina probably would have had over a billion dollars spent and i think the people of south carolina deserve better than that. i raised 110, my opponent raised 130 two, if he had a 6-1 match, it would have been about a billion dollars. i think that probably violates
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the geneva convention. hr one is not about righting wrongs, it's about trying to grab power and i can understand why people want to grab it. i don't understand why people on our side would willingly sit on the sidelines, but we are not. we are here today to talk about the voting process. mr. gardner, you are a legend in your part of the world. it is my understanding you opposed hr one in the senate equivalent, is that correct? sec. gardner: yes. sen. graham: in 30 seconds or less, why? sec. gardner: first of all, we don't have any early voting in new hampshire. for all the studies that show early voting actually helps turn out, i can show you plenty of academic studies that show the opposite. just because you make voting easier does not raise the
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turnout automatically. we have election day that is a day for everything in new hampshire. it goes back to the beginning of our constitution which predated the federal constitution and it ends that day. that's the tradition. because every polling place, the chief election officer has to come of that evening of the election, read publicly the votes cast for every candidate on the ballot and that's the end of it. our early voting, what is called early voting is just not allowed. sen. graham: you believe it would be a power grab when it came to new hampshire voting by the federal government? sec. gardner: yes.
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the same thing with no-fault absentee. it's the same thing. sen. graham: thank. the carter baker commission looked at voter fraud and voting in 2008 and found there is no evidence of extensive fraud in u.s. elections, but both occur and it could affect the outcome of elections and many other findings. the absentee ballot remains the largest source of potential voter fraud, that is what the carter baker commission said, not me. the carter baker report said recommend to reduce fraud, recommend prohibiting third-party organization candidates and political party activists from handling absentee ballots. i think that is related to ballot harvesting. so my question for ms. abrams, do you support voter
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identification laws? ms. abrams: yes. there are 35 states in the united states that have passed voter identification laws in every state requires some form of identification. what i object to is restrictive voter identification laws. sen. graham: the answer is yes is a concept. do you support the idea that voting should be limited to american citizens? ms. abrams: yes. sen. graham: do you support ballot harvesting? are you familiar with that term? ms. abrams: i'm familiar of -- familiar with the term to describe a variety of efforts, especially native american areas where they have trouble reaching locations in a timely fashion. i believe it's appropriate for tribal elders to receive the
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ballots and provide native americans with the opportunity to participate in america -- in elections. sen. graham: do you support it in non-native american voting? ms. abrams: it depends on the situation. the term being used to describe a variety of hay beers, each of those behaviors should be examined for utility and veracity. to the extent they help voters participate in a lawful manner, they should permit it. sen. graham: do you believe the republican majority in georgia, house, senate, when they are making the changes to your state voting laws, do you think they are motivated by trying to suppress african-american vote? ms. abrams: i have seen it happen and i have seen other bills that have been truly bipartisan in nature -- sen. graham: do you believe that is the motivation? ms. abrams: i believe the
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motivation behind certain provisions in sb 202 are a direct result of the participation of community -- committees of color in the 2020 election. almost every year, there was a voting law and -- sen. graham: do you think the speaker of the house, speaker pro tem, jan jones, is motivated by trying to limit african american voters in georgia? ms. abrams: i believe there is racist -- racial animus that generated those bills. -- racial animus exists and if it limits the right to vote, regardless of a certain persons heart, if it affects the ability of people of color to participate in elections, that is rob medic and should be rejected by all.
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-- that is problematic and should be rejected by all. sen. klobuchar: thank you to our witnesses. i'm just looking at the facts and we need to get these facts straight. in the 2020 election, more than 160 million americans voted, more than ever before. the trumpet benefaction -- trumpet ministry should homeland security official charged with protecting elections deemed the election most secure election in american history. is that correct, ms. abrams? ms. abrams: that is correct. sen. klobuchar: former attorney general barr said there is no proof of widespread voter fraud that would have change the results of the 2020 election? ms. abrams: that's correct. sen. klobuchar: why do you think three or 61 bills would have been advanced when the way things were running was working for this country? they were voting by mail,
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exercising their right to vote and did it safely. why did this happen? ms. abrams: with all due respect to secretary of state gardner, i would refer back to senator sheldon whitehouse's commentary. we saw an increased dissipation from communities considered unfortunate or not favorable to republican victories. no one is entitled to win. i'm a living example. but we are all entitled to participation. what these laws have done in stunning and uniform fashion is reduce entitlement to participation. they've done so by targeting behaviors specifically for communities that voted in opposition of republican values. that is not to say every person of color intends to go democratic and -- when the overwhelming majority of those communities exercise their right to vote, we have seen a raft of
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lawsuits targeted at their behavior, targeted at communities of color. it's not only reminiscent of the jim crow laws, those are intentionally a resurgence of voter suppression similar to jim crow, which is why we use that language because we cannot leave our history behind. sen. klobuchar: as rev. warnock said earlier, some people don't want some people to vote. can you tell me about how rare voter fraud is? i think there was a recent editorial in a major newspaper talking about since 2000, oregon has sent out more than 100 million male in pallets and documented only about a dozen cases of fraud, rounded to the seventh decimal point.
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ms. ifill: that is correct. you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than finding widespread voter fraud. in fact, president carter spoke out about the report referenced earlier. he believed the report was being distorted to support the provisions of sb 20 two. but the report calls for is a deeper study of vote by mail. the report specifically noted we have two states, oregon and washington state that do all voting by mail and there is no significant voter fraud in those two states. so voter id, for absentee voting, that is quite unusual. there are only three, now with georgia, four states that require photo id for absentee voting. sen. klobuchar: we are going to be marking up senate file one in
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the rules committee. could you explain why it has some very important standards for voting, given what we are seeing on the assault on voting across the country? we have not had -- it is time to also focus on all the dark money flooding into our politics as well as ethics rules that are necessary for all of us. that used to be a bipartisan issue. ms. ifill: i think it is important to see this all as a piece. this is about access to the political process. this is about ordinary people having access to the political process. we think the right of the vote is sacred, the casting and accounting. but if there are forces that neutralize the ability of that valid to have meaning, then congress needs to examine that also so that citizens can feel
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they truly have a role in our democracy and have their voice heard. it can't be a sham. it can't be a shell. when activists march and risk their lives for the right to vote during the civil rights movement, they were not just looking at the ceremonial active casting a ballot. they truly believed being able to participate equally in the palooka process would allow them -- equally in the political process would allow them to participate. everything that would give that vote meaning. sen. klobuchar: one very fast question with a fast answer, miss abrams -- as i prepared for the hearing i'm chairing next month, it will be hard for steaks to enact -- for states to enact these. however, we have 43 states with early voting, 21 states with same-day registration, 19 states with automatic voter
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registration, 45 states that allowed all voters to cast ballots by mail last year. in 2018, michigan approved many changes to its election procedures that went into effect before the november 2020 election. would you agree states like georgia and others have been able to implement these changes in a correct way without a problem? ms. abrams: absolutely. chair durbin: senator cornyn? sen. cornyn: my first question is for miss abrams. is the georgia election law that speaker jones talked about, is it a racist piece of legislation? ms. abrams: i think there are components of it that are indeed racist because they use racial animus to target voters to eliminate or limit their participation in elections. sen. cornyn: you believe the georgia legislation --
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legislature may deliberate attempts to suppress the minority vote? ms. abrams: yes. sen. cornyn: georgia has a no excuse absentee voting provision in that law. connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new hampshire, new york do not have any no excuse absentee voting. are though voting laws in connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new hampshire and new york racist? ms. abrams: i would say they are behind the eight ball and need to be improved. that's why i would ask for voting rights provisions that the extended, but as we explaine d earlier, it's how these are targeted. the state of georgia targeted community -- communities that use their voices for their first time to their benefit. after 15 years of republican
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dominated use of absentee balloting, it suddenly changed its mind about the utility, processes and timeliness. sen. cornyn: we only have five minutes to ask questions, so if you would respond to my question -- you think connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new hampshire and new york that have mower -- more restrictive absentee ballot voting, you think those laws are racist? ms. abrams: i'm responding to your question -- i'm not filibustering, i'm stating specifically that i think restrictive voting laws should be addressed by the for the people act. sen. cornyn: just to be clear, whether they are racist or not, you think they need to be changed because you disagree with them? ms. abrams: that is not what i said. i said those laws that were changed in 2021 in response to increased use by people of
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color, laws put in place by republicans 15 years ago and they were perfectly satisfied with the utility of those laws until they were used by people of color, the intent matters. sen. cornyn: you think voter id requirements are racist? ms. abrams: no, sir, in fact i wrote a book about it. sen. cornyn: doesn't that restrict voting? the requirement of a voter id? ms. abrams: i support voter identification. what i object to is restrictive forms of voter eyed edification that restricts who is allowed to use their voter identification. sen. cornyn: you can use a free id or utility bill or something like that? you don't believe the georgia law restricts voting because of the voter identification requirement? ms. abrams: that is not what i said, sir. i said the absentee ballot requirements that now adds voter
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id, an exceptionally rare usage, because it will now push 200,000 voters who do not have access to id out of the process. sen. cornyn: sometimes it's racist, sometimes it's not racist? ms. abrams: the intent always matters. that's the intent -- that's the point of this conversation. jim crow did not sibley look at the activity, looked at the intent and the behavior and it targeted behaviors disproportionately used by people of color. sen. cornyn: did you know gallup says 69% of black voters support voter id and 79% of voters overall? ms. abrams: i am among those who support voter id. i object to narrowly tailoring the ability -- sen. cornyn: you object to it in
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some areas and not others. so -- ms. abrams: ms. abrams:that is not what i said. can i answer your question? sen. cornyn: miss jones, connecticut, delaware, massachusetts, new york do not have any no excuse absentee voting and georgia decided to permit it. why the differences between georgia and these other states? spkr. jones: thank you, senator cornyn. georgia has a long history, particularly since republicans have been in charge, since 2003, of expanding access to voting. senate bill 202 does know differently and the voter id requirements being put in place for absentee voting are no
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different than the voter id requirements for in person or early voting. they are exactly, precisely the same. sen. cornyn: mr. gardner, you said there is no early voting in new hampshire, but you don't believe that impact turnout. can you explain that? it seems counterintuitive. sec. gardner: it is counterintuitive, but it is factual. if you look at the shots i submitted to the committee, new hampshire has no early voting. we have election day and it stems back to our constitution. the second one is then no-fault absentee. that is unconstitutional in new
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hampshire. but if the chart is really important. if you look at the chart, i have been secretary of state during 12 presidential election years. the first five presidential elections, the state of oregon had a turnout higher than new hampshire. starting in 1996 after oregon decided to go to all male voting, we had seven presidential elections. oregon has had a turnout lower than new hampshire than all seven elections. so i have lived through these years watching results that take place in certain states and that's why i'm not projecting onto the country what new hampshire does because other states are different than new hampshire. but what i'm saying is, in my
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state, i have seen over the years what ways to make it easier to vote actually work and what ways to make it easier to vote do not work, and these charts are factual. it is all factual information. for seven presidential elections in a row, ever since oregon decided to get rid of election day registration at the polls and go to everyone is mailed a ballot, there are no polling places, they have multiple days to vote, multiple locations where they can cast their ballot, academics say that is easy and effortless, but i know what happened between the two states. the secretary of state in oregon tried to convince me to join with him because he thought within five years the whole country would be voting by mail.
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if new hampshire did it on the east coast and oregon did it on the west coast. this is factual and those charts , i implore you to take a look at those charts. it ranks every state, all 50 states starting in 1976, where they rank, take your own state and take a look at it. compare one state to another state. chair durbin: thank you very much. senator kunz? sen. coons: thank you to our witnesses today and yesterday for paying so much attention to the urgent issue of voting in their rights of americans to vote. it is so profoundly disappointing to me that in 2021, following the last election, we need to have a hearing to address a surge in voter suppression efforts around the country. in a healthy democracy, the side
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that loses an election takes time to reflect on why and how and what the issues that might have moved voters to their side as we see in legislatures across the country, efforts to suppress access to the ballot box and the opportunity to vote. bills like the one passed in georgia i root -- i view as an affront to the legacy of john lewis and those who spilled their own blood to risk the right to vote. i have long worked to support my colleagues efforts, senator lahey's efforts and others to pass the voting rights advancement act, now renamed the john lewis voting rights advancement act. i want to ask about that today and our efforts to plug the hole created by the supreme court's ill-conceived, i think, decision in shelby county in 2013. if i might start with you, as a matter of common sense, i think we have a pretty clear idea of why some states are pursuing these laws.
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but under the voting rights act as it currently exists, can you explain why these laws are so difficult to successfully challenge in court? ms. ifill: thank you. as i said at the outset, litigation is one of the tools we have available and we have challenged sb 202 under the constitution. we challenged it under the first moment, 14th amendment, 15th madmen and voting rights act. but litigation takes a long time . it's expensive and can take from two to five years. we successfully challenged texas is voter id laws, but there were 500 offices elected in texas, justices with the texas supreme court, district attorneys, attorney generals, lower court judges, county counsel persons, elections that proceeded despite
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the fact we had demonstrated in our litigation at 600,000 texans were likely disenfranchised by that particular voter id law. litigation is a blunt instrument. what -- we want to get out of the legislation before it happens. sb 202, 1 of the features that has not been talked about, the way this law was rushed through -- bills were dropping at 11 p.m. and hearings were held next day at 7 a.m. we tried to keep up with this process -- this sweeping bill, this omnibus bill was passed in this fashion that did not even give a real opportunity for study. where is the racial impact study on these provisions and how they will affect black voters? you will not find it because it wasn't done. the clearest provision would allow the neutral authority, federal authority to look at every perceived change and determine the effect on black voters.
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that would answer senator cornyn's question about what was the motivation, what was the effect of the law, but we did not do that. because we passed the law through as quickly as possible, so now we go to motivation. -- now we go to litigation. sen. coons: how would having the john lewis voting rights act in place operate on other similar laws in the future? given the point you made about the timing and intent and context of voting legislation is critical, how would preclearance analysis impact the enactment of senate bill 202? ms. abrams: you frame it properly. what preclearance does is not simply a piece of paper before you, but looks at the context, looks at the history and look at the effects. those have to be taken in toto because georgia has a different history then let's say texas or
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new hampshire. in each state, we only have to look at what happens when these things occurred not in the macro, but in the very micro sense of what happens in the places where these laws are taking effect. for example, in the state of georgia, the closure of 214 polling places was between 54000 and 85,000 voters not being able to cast their ballots. this is not incidental. this is the difference in this election. we know the requirement of providing ids, 200,000 voters who have not been required to submit identification will have to be changed how they participate in the election. sen. coons: if i might ask you one quick closing question.
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what provision in sb 202 that surprised me is that strips the authority over election administration from the secretary of state and transfers it to the state legislature. given the context of the 2020 20 election, how would this affect the partisanship of future elections and how would you read it given the recent history in georgia? ms. abrams: this is very extensive language that not only removes the rule but would put into power people who have nothing to do with community and for a body that seems to believe those who are closest to the people should be making the decisions coming giving state legislatures the authority on their own motion to remove election officials is dangerous. if that had been in place in 2020, the outcome of the election could have been vastly different and we should be deeply concerned at the naked attempt to wrest control away for purely partisan purposes.
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sen. coons: and q for what you are doing and thank you to everyone participating in today's hearing. chair durbin: senator lee? sen. lee: i'm disappointed and frankly shocked that the majority party and chairman would choose such an inflammatory title for this hearing, calling it jim crow 2021. the lack of judgment in this instance not only belittles those who endured such dehumanization and indignity through the jim crow era, it also reminds us, reminds all of us or it certainly should, of what jim crow was and how and when it happened and under whose leadership. it was, in fact, republicans who pushed through the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment following the civil war. the 13th minute, getting rid of
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slavery, the 14th moment, guaranteeing all americans, including black americans who had been slaves and those who had been not equal protection under the laws and the 15th moment, guaranteeing black americans the right to vote. these had a significant effect. they were enacted with great opposition coming from the democratic party and we got them through. the 15th moment was the last of the three to be ratified. 1870 was a big turning point for civil rights in america, for black americans. it was in 1870 we saw the very first member of congress, a gentleman by the name of joseph rainey who was elected to the house of representatives in 1870, the same year the first black american was elected to the united states senate,
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elected to the senate from mississippi. all in all, during reconstruction, there were 16 black americans elected to congress. there were over 600 black americans elected to state legislatures and there were hundreds and hundreds more elected to local positions throughout the country. all of them, every last one of them happens to be republican. jim crow was a response to that. white americans who didn't want black americans coming into power and who resented their votes as republicans and in fact did not want to have them the right to vote at all, notwithstanding the 15th moment had by then been ratified. it figured out a way to suppress them and once president rutherford hayes, through the
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compromise of 1877 over the withdrawal of federal troops from the south, paved the way for jim crow. jim crow policies restricted, unconstitutionally, the right of black americans to vote and restricted all kinds of other behaviors and put in place -- put in place by democratic governments in each of the states. it was an unfortunate era, one that lasted for roughly a century, to make sure black americans did not only not vote, but could not be elected. michael lancaster is the georgia state director of the frederick douglass foundation. in a recent washington times article, he stated "comparing absentee ballot changes and id requirements to banning black people from restaurants and drinking fountains is absurd. a civil debate about voting
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rights is an important conversation to have, but comparing georgia election reform to jim crow is insulting to my ancestors who suffered through those dehumanizing segregation laws." there are some others who wrote "it has become clear that even well-intentioned critics of the georgia law have no idea what the law is. it's clear they have no idea how favorably george's law compares -- georgia's law compares to even president biden's home state of delaware. including the provision that is a simple requirement that voters be able to identify themselves upon voting." 77% of americans support voter id requirements and including 63% of black voters in georgia, all of those numbers indicate support for the
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new georgia voter id requirements. is that correct? spkr. jones: that is correct. sen. lee: if a person doesn't have a driver's license, a person could show a state issued id card? spkr. jones: that's correct or one of the other accepted forms of id. sen. lee: and if they do not have that come that could be provided free of charge? spkr. jones: any department of motor vehicles office or any of the 159 elections boards. but if i may, senator, the voter id requirements are not more restrictive for absentees now than they have been, widely accepted and not resized in the past for georgia. it is precisely the same requirement to vote in person or to vote by absentee. it seems incongruent to make
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rules for one form of voting and not another. but thank you, senator. sen. lee: i see my time has expired. i would note in closing secretary of state raffensperger who i am told is willing to testify and you invoked his name several times, it is disappointing the secretary of state of that state is not here to testify in response to that. i want to thank my friend in utah, congressman burgess owens, a man who has been alive and existed in this country and -- at any time -- at a time jim crow laws were in effect. in some ways, he has been subjected to some of the same insults underlying jim crow. he's been lampooned, drawn in caricature alongside a klansman
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in a brazen act of demeaning someone based on his race. demeaning him in a way that ignores the truth, the reality behind jim crow laws. this was a system of laws designed to help hold black americans back, hold them back in part because white democrats in the south did not want them to vote and did not like the fact they were voting as and being elected as her publican's. let's not compare a voter registration law, one that makes sure dead people can't vote to that. we can do better than that and we should. chair durbin: thank you, senator lee. for the record, and i shall concede, the era of jim crow itself was propagated primarily by democrats, southern democrats and segregationists. political alignment changed starting in the late 1950's and early 1960's and republicans
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became more dominant in those states for the most part. what we have today is the party of lincoln, which is refusing to join us in extending the voting rights act. that used to be a bipartisan exercise. democrats support the extension of the voting rights act and trying to overcome the shelby county decision and making sure we can review every states activity as to whether or not they are fair or not fair. i would concede the historical point, but i don't think the senator stuck with the proposition to the present day. at this point, we have senator blumenthal. is he available by remote? sen. lee: if i could respond to that -- republicans never ceased to be the party, never ceased to be the party that believes the
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13th, 14th, and 15th amendments matter. and the inherent dignity of the immortal human soul is such that it should never be denigrated by subjecting someone based on their race to a lack of civil rights. it's not fair, it's not accurate to portray to parties as having somehow crossed in the 1950's -- it's not accurate. some southern democrats later became republicans, that is true, but it did not change the republicans part -- the republican's alignment. chair durbin: my point was alignment has changed and that is obvious. the voting's right -- the voting rights act which is the subject of this hearing used to be a 98 to nothing proposition and now only democrats will vote for it. sen. lee: you are talking about section five of the voting rights act that subject some
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states to preclearance and the concern of a constitutional nature raised by the supreme court itself is very different than stated opposition to the voting rights act itself and many other provisions that have done some good and still have overwhelmingly bipartisan support and i resent that. chair durbin: i'm sorry you resend it, senator, but it is a fact we are dealing with a voting rights act that used to be universal and bipartisan and now is not. the democrats supported and republicans are not. sen. lee: it is not accurate to say the democrats support voting rights act and republicans do not. we are talking about a section based on its implementation and the failure to update findings with leaving some states, unconstitutionally in the judgment of the supreme court of the united states, in a different addition. chair durbin: i happen to disagree with that. senator hirono by remote.
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senator hirono is not available? sen. hirono: mr. chairman? i'm sorry, i thought mr. blumenthal had been called. i am here. chair durbin: many are called. sen. hirono: and some actually show up. this is for missi for -- this is for ms. ifill -- that is why we need to pass the john lewis voting rights act. if you could tell me how effective is the current section two in protecting people's rights to vote in connection to the preclearance process that was in place as of section five? ms. ifill: thank you very much for that question, senator
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hirono. let me clarify -- the supreme court invited congress to update the formula under section five. it did not strike down section five. i'm hopeful senator lee and others are willing to participate in that process to update the formula so we can pass a new preclearance formula under the voting rights act. the difference is the preclearance formula allows us to stop discrimination before it happens i introducing a federal process that allows for a mutual review, whether the federal authority is republican or democrat in terms of the attorney general, or the district court in d.c. to review an election law to determine what is racial -- what its racial impact would be. that would happen before the law would be passed. every provision of sb 202 would have gone through that process before it became law. instead, the law was rushed through, it now exists, we have
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filed suit along with other organizations, we will litigate that case, likely for more than a year, and during that time, there will be an election in georgia. in the texas case, we were still litigating in 2018 a voter id law enacted in 2014. if we think that's appropriate for a healthy democracy, to hold hundreds of elections in which potentially hundreds of thousands if not millions of voters are affected, and that law may ultimately violate the constitution or the voting rights act or the americans disability act or any other reason voting locations have been shut down, then that is what this committee has to focus with. as a matter of democracy, we have to deal with these matters before they come law. sen. hirono: in the meantime, the supreme court has before it to cases that test section two. opponents of section two would like to very much limit section
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too bad enough that the department of justice under the trump administration brought how may section two cases? i think one would be about it. some of the arguments, if the supreme court goes along with the arguments made to limit section two, that would make it even harder. you would have to show a different impact, much more than what we currently have. would you agree? ms. ifill: it would be utterly devastating, a blow to our democracy, a blow to one of the finest moments in this country, which was the passage of the voting rights act. when the senate passed the voting rights act in 1965, they were very clear they were meant to get at not only current forms of discrimination, but the senate report said it was designed to get at it ingenious
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forms of disco nation that might be created in the future. congress was forward-looking. they understood voter suppression would not go away and to wipe out that history would be an affront to every martyr of the civil rights movement from senator john lewis and many black voters who actually feel the need when they are told they cannot give water to the elderly when they are standing in line to vote. sen. hirono: that is the kind of cruelty in these rules. justice ginsburg wrote throwing out preclearance has worked and continues to work to stop discriminatory changes, it is like throwing away your umbrella and a rainstorm because you are not eating wet. are you concerned that this will end in a possibly 6-3 decision to further limit section two --
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a section to remedy? ms. ifill: i sincerely hope the united states supreme court has seen what has happened since 2013 when the power of section five was gutted. they will understand they will be humble enough to understand there are things they did not know or understand that are happening in this country and they will read the record, they will take account of what their -- of what the reality is and respect what i believe president reagan called the crown jewel of voting rights legislation and make sure it remains intact and a -- and an effective tool for combating voter disco nation. sen. hirono: i appreciate the dialogue that i have had with you and i appreciate stacey abrams and ms. abrams -- ms. anderson, and others who have testified. i have heard some comparison to
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hawaii voter laws saying georgia is better than hawaii -- give me a break. for the first time ever, hawaii had all mail and ballots the last election and we had the second-highest percentage of voter participation as a result. this is why male in balloting is so important and you need to look at what the post office was doing in the 2020 elections. the person who heads up the post office is still there. he needs to senator cruz. senator cruz: this is abrams -- misses -- mrs. abrams. you have said that you do not concede the process was proper and they still the 2018 election from the voters of georgia.
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do you still maintain that the 2018 georgia election was stolen? >> i acknowledged at the very beginning that brian kemp one under the rules in place. but i object to rules that permitted thousands of georgia voters to be denied participation in this election and have their votes cast out. i will continue to disagree with the system until it is fixed. we have seen progress made and unfortunately it was undone in sp2 02. i will continue to -- as -- sb 202. >> answers a question i asked. yes or no, do you still maintain the 2018 election was stolen? that >> is your language. >>five full language was that it it was stolen from the voters of georgia. we do not know what they would have done. not every eligible georgian was
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permitted to participate. >> you also told the new york times that your loss was fully attributable to border -- voter suppression. do you know in georgia whether the percentage of african-american georgians registered to vote is higher or no over -- lower than the national average? >> it is higher than the national average because georgia has one of the highest african-american populations. >> the percentage of black georgians registered in 2018. that is higher than the national average 48%. let me ask you this, in 2018 do you know what's -- which demographic group in georgia had
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the highest registration percentage and turnout percentage? >> i have a guess and i will defer to you for the answer. >> african-americans and had the highest registration and turnout despite you claiming the election was stolen and there was voter suppression. let's shift to the georgia law in particular. there have been mountains of lies spread by democratic politicians of the press. does the georgia law reduce the number of early voting days? >> yes. it does so because you have to look at it in total. it is not simply the number of days expanded for 40% of the population. 60% of the population has been the norm. it also has to look off the early -- look at the early voting runoff dates that were short. >> is it correct that the law increases the number of mandatory days for early we can voting?
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>> it is a partial answer to say that certain days were increased in certain counties that had not participating in the use of all of those elections. they had been optional. 60% of georgians had been able to vote for those phone number of days. 40% will now join. it allows the elimination of we can voting. sen. cruz: do you think that requiring an id to vote suppresses the need to vote? >> voter identification is always appropriate. what i object to is how we are restricting who has the right to vote. we hunted in 2018 what happened
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i -- in north dakota to native americans tonight -- denied the right to vote because they were required photo identification that they were not entitled to demand. sen. cruz: did your organization collect ballots for voters in the 2020 election? were they paid? >> we did not collect ballots. we did not pay people to collect ballots. we since two voters absentee ballot applications as it is number of other organizations. because in the midst of a pandemic, we thought it was important for voters who may have not had information about rights.
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sen. cruz: you did not pay any body in the state of georgia to collect ballots? >> from georgia, senator awsat? sen. ossoff: thank you for joining us. this is georgia's republican lieutenant governor jeff duncan. he said that this is really the fallout from 10 weeks of misinformation that flew in from former president trump. he further said there is
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solutions in search of a problem . republicans do not need election reform to win. we need leadership. that was on the meet the press. he said in usa today that knee-jerk reaction legislation such as not allowing the distribution of water within one hunts. -- within 150 feet of a polling station to avoid primary challenges. the question of early voting opportunities was raised. can you clarify for the committee was as -- what has changed in georgia under the new law? >> anna georgia, previously, the law said that in georgia, previously, the law said that
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elections occurred during business hours. 50% of voters were able to vote between to -- 7:00 a.m. at 7:00 p.m. on election day. for the majority that was the time. 9:00 p.m. -- a.m. to 5 p.m. was the option. it is no longer a given. a number of counties took the option as an opportunity to restrict access. we celebrate that more voters will have access to we can voting. but it is not an expansion of a right when 60% of georgians previously enjoyed that right.
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in georgia we have 159 counties. some counties of smaller populations of fewer than 2000 persons. it is insufficient to simply look at the number of counties participating. you have to look at the populations produce waiting period in the state of georgia, this law is restricting access to the right to vote. we also know that the notion of a sunday optional vote was something counties felt they had to do. to the extent that it is clarified in the law, that is one thing. but to claim an expansion of access is not only untrue it is misleading and false.
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since 2013, georgia has closed hundreds of polling places. the average distance voters have to drive to go vote has more than doubled. not surprisingly, according to a nonpartisan analysis by the atlanta journal-constitution, blackened brown voters have been impacted the hardest by many of these changes and our 20% more likely to miss voting because of the long distances they are forced to travel. mr. chairman, i would like to enter this into the record with your permission. can you explain why the closure, changing, and consolidation of voting locations without doj
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preclearance can be so harmful and white john lewis voting rights advancement act, to remind everybody what we are here to discuss, we are discussing restoring section four and five of the voting rights act to preclear changes to election procedure and law that may have disparate racial impact. why is racial -- restoration so vital to ensuring harm is not done by the closing of polling locations like those we have seen in georgia? stacey abrams: we have seen more than 214 polling places close. we have seen a number of consolidations. we have seen a number of shifts. in clayton county we saw at one point -- in macon county, added attempt -- an attempt to move a
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polling place to a police station which will have an effect on voters of color going forward to vote. in georgia under a 2019 analysis, the closure of polling places given the size of towards a -- georgia and the distance people have to travel was between 54,000 -- left between 54,000 to 85,000 people who could not cast their ballots. black voters were 25% more likely to be affected. the elimination or changing of polling location without accommodating the changes for communities that do not have access to transportation. it is not that state legislatures can train -- can
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change sp four on their own motion, but written large, with preclearance, instead of being able to wholesale remove access to voting locations, these voters would be protected by a process that looks at things like distance, cost of travel, i access -- access to transportation. it should always be our intention in the u.s. to increase access to the right to vote. sen. ossoff: i request one more minute. to ask a follow-up question. >> yes. sen. ossoff: the closure of polling places and the changing of location that the last minute -- at the last minute that anybody who has in georgia nose is common causes confusion -- anybody in georgia nose --knows
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is common causes confusion. this is exactly what these changes mean and i hope this is clarifying. under the prior law, voters who showed up at the wrong precinct because of closures or changes could cast a provisional ballot at that precinct. under the new law, if they arrived before five clock p.m. they are forced to go to a different precinct to travel across town. in some of these counties, to travel up to an hour to a different precinct. in order to cast their vote or risk disenfranchisement. what does this change in the new torture law mean for -- the new georgia law mean for voters who have a shift they cannot miss at
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work? stacey abrams: it is presumed that people who vote before 5:00 a.m. have universal access to transportation. if you get in line at 1:00 p.m. and get to the end of the line at 4:58 p.m., only to discover you have used all of the time before your 6:00 shift to cats -- cast your ballot, it would no longer prohibit you to cast a provisional ballot. those provisional ballots would be discarded. that is inappropriate. these are not people who are making the choice not to do what is right. during the 2020 and 2021 election volunteers stood in front of polling locations directing people to new locations because they had been given this information are not received information.
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a number of counties the changed information. while the new law attempts to address it, we know the law has not been tested and we do not know that voters will be protected. it is anti-american. >> senator hawley. sen. hawley: ms. jones, can come to you. we have heard an extraordinary number of lies about this law from the president of the united states all the way down, including members of this committee, including today. and also, from an unbelievable assortment of for-profit corporations. this has been one of the most incredible campaigns by megacorporations in american history to influence legislation. the same corporations are now taking the effort to states across the country, no doubt
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soon coming to mine, missouri, where we have election integrity measures adopted by voters and our legislature and referendum. let me ask you about these lies that have been told over and over. the president of the united states, his big lie that this legislation cut off the amount of time, closed polls early. that was alive. we have heard that water is not made available. that is a lie. but i want to zero in on corporations. why do you think corporations have been so eager to paralyze? they know they are not true. they have whole teams of lawyers. they are the most powerful corporations in the world. why have they been so eager to lie about this law your legislature adopted? >> thank you for the question.
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i cannot speculate precisely on their motivations. but i can say that if they do have teams of lawyers and people to analyze the bill, they are unjustified -- there unjustified outrages --their unjustified outrage is ridiculous. if these corporations read the bill and compared our voting laws to most of the rest of the state, they would know that georgia has an expansive system of voting. we have made it more expansive. i must clarify that georgians always have had the ability to offer the hours of 7:00 to 7:00.
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this continues to be the case. counties that offered fewer than 9-to-5 early voting hours were required to offer longer early voting. it has been disappointing to see some in the business community ether not read the bill or field that -- feel that they would be punished by enormous nonprofit organizations that have placed a lot of pressure on them. sen. hawley: we have seen in public what they have done. we have seen statements they have made and lies they have told. tell me about what the companies have been doing in the legislature. i am sure they have fleets of lobbyists. what are the tactics they have used in the legislature to try to influence, intimidate, give
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us a sense of what is going on. rep. jones: i worked closely on the bill and participated in the writing of it. i can say i was quite surprised by a couple of the companies outrage given that i never heard from a single one of them. if they had -- let me also say that by a couple of the chambers of commerce the very provisions that they wanted retained in law were retained. in fact, we went further by requiring two saturdays of early voting whereas previously it was only one saturday of early voting. so, we expanded the ability for voters for early voting to vote. but yet, i honestly senator
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cannot explain their reaction other than to say they must fear some of the organizations that have an unbelievable amount of money. we have seen $10 million spent in georgia and accurately portraying the legislation. as you know, if you say something often enough, however inaccurate it does, there are those that will begin to believe it. so, perhaps they have been influenced by that. sen. hawley: so you're saying many corporations that are now howling in public and spreading disinformation and lies actually had nothing to say earlier but now they are out there denouncing the law and calling it voter suppression and calling it jim crow. when they had the opportunity to actually work on the bill they did not. but now they are mounting a public pressure campaign. now they are going to work in other states and are trying to
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pressure. rep. jones: the few provisions, if the chambers of congress -- commerce were representing their interests specifically, we retained those provisions. three weeks of very expensive early voting and in fact expanded the number of hours available. we kept no excuse early voting, which i am sorry to say, delaware in particular does not have. it neither have early voting. we retained the few areas. i supported that. what i mostly hear is not facts from those who are howling about the bill but rather incendiary propaganda that does not at all align with the facts of the bill.
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sen. hawley: mr. garner let me ask about a statement you recently released about hr one. you said "our state constitution requires a voter must be present to vote unless absent or physically disabled. this would be taken away with hr one. hr one would require no excuse absentee voting early voting with multiple election days and continuing to receive ballots after the election." give us a sense of whether these -- why these provisions are so important in your state? >> sorry.
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they import -- they are important for new hampshire because it is what has made our turn out what it has been, a combination of trust in the process and the ease of the process. if you take that away, from new hampshire, then we will not have the turnout that we have had over the years. i mentioned earlier that the conventional view that anything that makes voting easier will increase the turnout. but, those charts i provided, you can see the facts. that is just not the case. many academics say that oregon is a state that is the easiest in the country.
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everybody mailed the ballot. they have multiple days, multiple locations. when oregon went to that process, they have been -- has had a lower turnout and new hampshire in seven presidential elections in a row. when they did not have it, they were ahead of new hampshire in five residential elections in a row. so the states are different. integrity is important, the belief that the process as honest as important. it is a fine balance. all states try to attain that fine balance trying to work through a process that keeps people trusting because if they lose trust in it they are not or to bother. if it is not of value to them they stop doing it. we are always striving to reach
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that ground that people can trust it but it is also easy. we have had the third-highest turnout for a presidential election in arrow based on voting age population. you can see in the charts that i have given you. you can look at all the states. they are worse than new hampshire. >> thank you mr. garner. senator blumenthal? sen. blumenthal: i am intrigued by the arguments that corporations should have been sooner in their opposition to these restrictions on voting rights. and that their social conscience was overdue. or that they needed legions of lawyers to tell them that these restrictions and infringed on the fly and chives -- franchise and curtailed voting opportunities. the fact of the matter that has
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been established irrefutably today is that these restrictions will impact, adversely, and enduringly, the rights of citizens in georgia another chain -- states where they are being in -- imposed. the positions of the corporations are beside the point. what is the importance is the effect on voters and their rights. in shelby county, the supreme court tossed out the preclearance provision of section five of the voting act. which for decades served to protect communities of color from voter suppression. as the late justice ginsburg noted in her defense "throwing out preclearance when it has worked and continues to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."
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what we are seeing in georgia now and in other states around the country in those 306 he won restrictive laws imposed is -- 100 those -- 361 laws imposed is a tsunami threatening democracy. we are here because of the supreme court's decision in shelby county and the current torrent of voter suppression bills. we must act. we should ask. we should act on the john lewis voting rights act and for the people at which would work in tandem -- for the people act which would work in tandem. let me ask you, how would they combined to protect voting rights in georgia and other states? >> thank you senator blumenthal. if you look at the core provisions of hr one,
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particularly those that relate to automatic voter registration, early voting, absentee voting. . the voting rights advancement act would require that voting changes, that when jurisdictions want to make changes or consolidate or eliminate polling places or impose new voter regimes or impose new laws that those laws first have to go through the scrutiny of the federal authority. so one aspect of hr one would create a regime that would immediately provide for greater access for voters across the country by expanding registration, early voting, and absentee voting. the other would protect voters against discriminatory voting
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changes proposed by state or local jurisdictions. we need both of those elements. strengths our voting system and protect minority voters. sen. blumenthal: that shows the effects of shelby county are more than the -- just changing locational reducing polling places. it is an effect on access to the ballot box for the entire system. i was very critical in the georgia runoff there was -- where sweeping attempts to suppress the vote through disinformation and intimidation online, particularly targeting communities of color. in fact, i wrote a letter demanding thatl facebook and twitter take stronger action to fight disinformation in those runoff elections including fact
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checking, labeling, and reducing the spread of information. i would like to ask both ms. abrams and sherrilyn ifill, how would you grade facebook and twitter for handling disinformation during the georgia runoff election? >> i have been in a years long conversation with facebook in particular to address the issue of misinformation on the platform. we believe this is yet another form of voter suppression. facebook is used very much by african-americans and we have had an ongoing conversation. we have asked facebook to apply their own policies. they have policies against misinformation and policies against voter suppression. we have pressed them to have a more aggressive and clear internal infrastructure to deal with these matters when they
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occur. it was not just in the special election. i recall something that disturbed me on twitter when, during the counting of ballots in georgia, after the november election with the former president was discrediting the process, the license plate of a ballot counter was posted on twitter. by someone who wanted to stop the count. that is something incredibly dangerous to those people who were so bravely during -- doing their civic duty. there is a long way to go. there were certainly improvements over the last few years on both facebook and twitter, but there is still a ways to go to make sure that the platform does not allow for the kind of misinformation and intimidation that we saw in 2020.
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>> thank you. senator cotton? sen. cotton: i want to talk about your role in the boycott of the state of georgia for major league baseball. it cost thousands of jobs for georgia residents. on march 8, when describing the georgia election law you called it "jim crow in a suit and tie pair of -- suit and tie." you registered the website stop jim crow two.com. you called the georgia election bill "a redux of jim crow." on march 25 the bill passed. on march 31, you wrote an op-ed in usa today about georgia's law. your first two words were "boycotts work to your code --
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"boycotts work." you spoke with baseball executives and described the law as jim crow 2.0 and urged major league baseball to speak out. after its decision to withdraw the game from georgia, you conveniently claimed you had strongly urged them not to boycott after the horse was out of the barn. ms. abrams, you publicly attacked the georgia law as jim crow no fewer than 10 times before major league baseball with through the game. you told corporations that boycotts work and if they do not attack the law "i cannot argue with an individual's choice to opt out for their competition." after all of these efforts to smear georgia as a jim crow state, do you regret your
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central role in causing major league baseball to withdraw from georgia? stacey abrams: i was not -- i would not call jim -- georgia jim crow state. the law has jim crow aspects. i stand by that characterization. we have explained today why that is so. i also, in line two said that not all boycotts work because those who use boycotts -- i took a great deal of effort to explain why do not think a boycott in georgia at this time is the appropriate remedy. but you need to reserve all civil disobedience when you seek justice in the united states. number three, my conversations with major league baseball were clear that i did not think
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boycott was necessary. i was intentional about my language. while i am not the commissioner of baseball, i am a georgia citizen. i have every right and responsibility to speak against laws that will have an effect on my community. i regret the decision that mlb made it to remove their game and the economic effect it will have on georgians written large. but i support anyone who will try to stop this kind of bad behavior and voter suppression from happening in georgia or elsewhere. to me, one day of games is not worth losing democracy. sen. cotton: i doubt your words can be comforting to the thousands of georgians who will use -- lose their jobs.
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i want to turned out to secretary bill gardner. i want to stress again that he has been in office since 19 76, longer than three members of this committee have been alive. in the army we had a term for grizzled soldiers. they were called been there and done that. if anyone has been there and done that it is bill gardner. you have repeatedly, over decades, reviewed election laws. you see what is before the congress now in the people act with it sweeping reforms. what do you think the federalization of the state based election system would do to your elections in new hampshire? secretary gardner: senator, it would be harmful to our elections in new hampshire. one the feca -- windy theft --
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when the federal election campaign act originally at -- past there were the threshold. within two years we could no longer control the rules for elections of u.s. senators for -- and house members. the local officials wanted voter registration to be in person. the only way to maintain that in person process was if we became examples of the national voter registration act. we passed legislation retroactive. that was the only way to get exempt so we could keep the election process the way new hampshire wanted it. we were sued, not by anyone from new hampshire, but from an
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organization in new york city. the federal government gave an exemption to us so that we no longer had to comply with in dra. -- nvra. that made all the difference. the first time a presidential election happened after the national voter registration act new hampshire has since then been at the top of the country because we do not allow people to register by mail unless they are absent, out-of-town, or disabled. we have our rules we have applied all these years. 12 presidential elections in a row, the third highest in the country. the one before that, five. we were forth in the country. you can see from those charts. then we went to the help america vote act. we became exempt from parts of
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nvra and so we did not have to comply with the help america vote act. we do not have provisional ballots in new hampshire. we are one of four states in the country that does not have provisional ballots. so, we have gone away that has worked for the people of new hampshire. the proof is in the pudding, the turnout. it is the same with this. if you were to pass this, you are completely taking away a process that has developed in new hampshire for many many years, works in the state. why would you want to do it when the turnout is as high as it is and listening to all this is a sad story in a way because you have the state of georgia, you
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have rhode island that actually had a lower turnout in 2020 then georgia. but states have different ways of doing it that work. that is why i said at the beginning that i do not want texas to have to be like arkansas or california. but, why should we be made to be like california? or other states. we have a way of doing it that works for the people of new hampshire. the turnout is proof it works. this federal legislation is harmful to our way of voting. >> thank you mr. gardner. senator booker? sen. booker: stacey abrams i would like to direct questions to you. continue to specify the difference between absentee valid but -- ballot ids and in person voter identification.
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give clarification why the georgia laws are limiting particular voter access. stacey abrams: when you address the issue of voter identification when you're walking to a polling place, you are demonstrating that you are receiving a ballot but not axing -- asked to render that proof. you are not asked to give it to a poll worker who will retain it in perpetuity. you show who you are and proceed to the voting booth. georgia for 15 years had a similar situation with regards to voting by mail, but instead of required new -- you to put information in an envelope, aided -- it instead said you could use a signature verification process. in 2019 and 2020, those changes
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were made to make it more equitable. that was a change necessary. it worked so effectively that we saw more people successfully participate in voting by mail. to now change it to an identification process where you have to surrender your identification in an envelope clearly marked for anyone seeking to seal your identity. they can get signifying information about you. either a photocopy of your information or stick -- distinctive numbers. that is -- should create a deep fear in any person considering this. there is no other form where we say that these pieces of information will fit in a box or sit in and out -- an office and there is no provision on who can have access to it.
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there is a real difference with an absolute distinction that can harm voters. signature mismatch allowed for thousands of voters who do not have these requisite identifications to submit -- signature match allows for thousands of voters who do not have requisite identifications to submit. it has worked for years. it worked for voters of color. for the first time in history they used it to change the outcome of an election. it is a harm to voters. it disproportionately will harm voters of color, the most likely to be asked for identification. we should also be worried about disabled and older voters who will now be asked to sacrifice private information to participate in an election.
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that should concern every american. sen. booker: to sherrilyn ifill. in terms of the landscape of our nation on voter id laws and with regard to challenges to voters, how did the georgia bill fit into that? in my final one minute and 20 seconds, can you give us a vision of what the landscape looks like and why this is so concerning in terms of changes we are seeing on the right for franchise? sherrilyn ifill: people do confuse these ideas. gorgeous is one of four states that requires photo id for absentee voting. many states require voter id. not all states require government issued photo id. there are 12 states that require id. but it is a non-photo id. it can be a utility bill. it can be other identification
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that connect you to your address. there are some states that require no idea -- id to vote unless you are voting for the first time. then there are the vote by mail states, oregon and washington. it is important to understand that when people talk about ids, there is id and id. are you requiring people to have the onerous id you have to get to going to the dmv and pay it to get your birth certificate because you may not have it, travel to a motor vehicle viewer -- bureau. in georgia, motor vehicle offices are some only open one day a week. that is really the concern about the id, the kind of id required. we should not presume that all states that require voter id require government issued photo
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id. they require some id to connect you with your address. sen. booker: thank you. i'm going to call on senator kennedy. sen. cassidy: thank you senator booker. you are a fine american, so. ms. abrams. can you hear me, -- can you hear me? stacey abrams: yes sir. sen. cassidy: in terms -- let me start over. in terms of the confidence that americans have in their electoral system, do you think we are better off having an
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election day or an election month? sit -- stacey abrams: we are better off letting every american participate in elections. the initial notion of an election day was based on an agrarian economy that no longer exists. in states like georgia, there is no day off for voting. we have to make every opportunity to make voting accessible to every american. sen. kaine: a d -- sen. kaine: it he -- rep. kennedy: so you are ok with us not knowing weeks or months after an election whose winner is? stacey abrams: yes. rep. kennedy: talking about the
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georgia bill, help me understand , and i am not interested in a 30,000 foot view that is not meant to be a criticism, i am speaking to myself i guess. i am not interested in platitudes. you are against the georgia bill i gather. stacey abrams: certain provisions of it, yes. rep. kennedy: you called it racist right? stacey abrams: there are provisions that are racist yes. rep. kennedy: give me a list of provisions you object to. stacey abrams: provisions is that remove access to the right to vote that shortened the runoff. from nine weeks to four weeks that restrict the time a voter can request to return an absentee ballot application. rep. kennedy: slow down our audio is not good. can you start over?
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stacey abrams: it shortens the federal runoff. -- from nine weeks to four weeks. it restricts the time to request and return an absentee ballot application. it requires a voter to have photo identification they are willing to surrender to participate in absentee ballots. rep. kennedy: that is where they are going to vote ready? stacey abrams: yes. we are only the fourth estate in the nation to require voters -- rep. kennedy: what else? stacey abrams: it eliminates 300 hours of dropbox availability. rep. kennedy: what else? stacey abrams: it bans nearly all out of precinct votes. rep. kennedy: ok. stacey abrams: if you are in
Check
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line for four hours and are not there between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. -- rep. kennedy: what else? is that everything? stacey abrams: no sir. it restricts the hours of operation. under the guise of sitting a standardized timeline and makes it optional for counties that may not want to see expanded access to the right to vote, they can limit their hours instead of the hours being from seven to seven now from nine to five, which may have an effect on voters who cannot vote during business hours during early voting. it limits the --. rep. kennedy: let me approach this another way. in the state decides to require a voter to prove who the voter says he is or she is. you consider that racist?
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stacey abrams: not at all, sir. voter identification --. rep. kennedy: you're ok with that? how about ballot harvesting. earlier you were talking about letting elders -- i'm not talking about that. i am talking about where the parties pay operatives to go out and help people with their ballots and collect their ballots. are you ok with that or against that? stacey abrams: i do not think it is an either or situation. it depends on what the conditions are and what the rules are. making it easier for those who want to participate in elections to do so safely and securely is --. rep. kennedy:: so you are ok with ballot harvesting? stacey abrams: no sir i did not say that. rep. kennedy: i am trying to get
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down from platitudes and understand what you are for and against. stacey abrams: sir --. rep. kennedy: let's suppose zero public and party wanted to go out and -- let's suppose zero republican party wanted to hire people to go out and knock on doors and say have you voted yet? then the operatives are sent and told to contact the voters and say, let me help you with your ballot. if you have questions, i can suggest to you might want to vote for. after you vote i will collect the ballot and make it easy. is that ok? stacey abrams: sir, i am both an attorney and a former legislator. it is not simply --. rep. kennedy:: i am an attorney and a current legislator. stacey abrams: as you and i both know, the context, the rules,
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and they structure matters. in the very narrow circumstances you just described, if there are no controls and it turns into buying votes, of course i object to that. but if you look at the piecemeal components you are describing at if we are talking about how to make it easier for voters to participate, i am not certain what that looks like. but would you describe is very specific and narrow. it sounds like you are in violation of a number of different rules, not the least of which is buying about. rep. kennedy:: do you think it was smart for biden to call everybody who supported the george abela racist? stacey abrams: i think this bill is grounded in racial animus. i think the language --. rep. kennedy: and i ask you how you know that? -- can i ask you how you know
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that? stacey abrams: for 15 years the republican party of georgia not only sanctioned but celebrated its vote by mail provision. it was only after voters of color for the first time in 15 years excessively used the provisions that those rules changed. for years, for nearly two decades, we had early voting hours that supported voters that were perfectly fine. it was only after communities of color used those provisions --. reppo kennedy why doesn't that hurt -- rep. kennedy: whitehead that hurts white people and by people and brown people? stacey abrams: it hurts all people. rep. kennedy: but what does that have to do with the president calling people racist? stacey abrams when your
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motivation is against people who you disagree with, that is racist. rep. kennedy:. i would agree with that. the chairman has gaveled me. i need to ask, how do you know that is what they meant? stacey abrams: we ask them not to do it because we showed them the effect. and they refused to answer. i worked with these people for 11 years. i believe everything a person who supports this bill has racial animus in their hearts and when racial animus is your predicate ub should -- you should be held accountable. rep. kennedy: i am sorry i went over. >> any colleague who would less like -- who would like to
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discuss election administration, i am more than happy to do so. i have served as chief election officer for the most populous state and most -- most diverse state. mr. char, our feet -- mr. chair, i feel in many ways this hearing is a continuation of the conversation begun by the rules committee prior to the most recent state work period. i raise that because in that hearing, some of our republican colleagues raised the frame of working to make it easier to vote, but harder to cheat, as it
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bit -- as if it is some sort of mantra. that was inspired by aleut -- action on election reform after the 2000 presidential election. republican secretaries of states in recent years have used that mantra. easier to vote and harder to cheat. . it is in some ways a helpful principle, because it seems like we have done a great job on the second part. the harder to cheat. study after study, report after report, investigation after investigation continues to document that voter fraud in america is exceedingly rare. the easier to vote part still requires a lot of work. i think you mr. chair for prioritizing this topic for this
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committee today and i hope action by congress in the very near future, the easier to vote part requires a lot of work. i will tell you what the sites are we have -- the signs are that we have a lot of work. the long lines. the movement in some states for fewer days or fewer hours or fewer locations to vote. the shame in some states where we can debate the value of a id law but when these laws are written in a potential way that he concealed weapons permit allows you to get into a voting booth but a state issued state university id does not, we know there is an agenda behind the impact of these laws. what does help is amplifying the
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opportunity to vote by mail as was done in new hampshire, a big part of their increase in registration and participation in 2020. it was a big part of california's record turnout in 2020 as well. offering eligible voters more days, more hours, more flexibility of where to vote in person, if that is their choice, the acceptance of more vote by mail ballots postmarked on or before election day even if they arrive after the election, the implementation of postelection audits to continue to buttress election integrity, etc.. mr. chair, we have the playbook on how to strengthen democracy, maintaining the security of our elections while facilitating more participation. but sadly, the potential for
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voter prod -- fraud is used as a pretext to do the opposite. several colleagues have referenced how 2020 was an election year that saw record registration, record turnout in many many states across the country, nationally as a whole. why are the proposals making their way through congress necessary? well, you have to ask the same question. question as of march 24th , 361 bills introduced in 47 states that would restrict opportunities to vote in our election and colleagues i just because are introduced doesn't mean they will see the light of day it has a really been enacted. twenty-nine passed by at least one chamber and more under
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consideration. that's a long preamble in the lead up to my main question for our witnesses. i begin by saying want more people should recognize that voter suppression is rooted in white supremacy. and during the jim crow era wish he targeted in motivated voter suppression was often blatant. legislators adopted races paths policies like a poll tax in the effort to shape the electorate. today's voter suppression playbook is still rooted in white supremacy is motivated by the same factors as the jim crow predecessors. but overtly racist policies replaced by neutral ones like
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mandated in person in requirements the decommissioning of polling sites manipulated discriminatory voter id laws but just because the voter suppression tactics are neutral, cannot be harder for people to recognize and understand the pernicious effects. so my question is simply, can you share how the seemingly race neutral policies have disproportionate racial impacts? >> if i might begin by saying thank you. let's talk about a provision we have not talked about today that this law sb 202 provides for unlimited challenges to the legitimacy of voters.
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i'm sure many people are aware there are organizations to make it their business to challenge voters to determine if a voter should have been able to cast a vote. there were 360,000 challenges after the november election in georgia. the georgia secretary of state found no substantial findings that supported any widespread voter fraud through those challenges. that's the case, 360,000 challenges failed to produce anything significant why does sb two oh two now provide anyone can make unlimited challenges to the legitimacy of voters? it is a form of voter intimidation often used to target black and latino voters, target voters from immigrant communities. what is the predicate and the
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underlying basis? why create this system in which anyone can engage with these unlimited challenges to voters? we know this will disproportionately be targeted with communities of color but yet with sp two oh two it's not connected to any evidence or predicate necessary. it is not designed to get out voter fraud but create an unlimited system of voter intimidation. >> . >> i would only add we know of those 364,000 challenges one of the provisions included is the counties that could legally dismiss the challenges for lack of evidence and basis will now be penalized by the
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state that doesn't only terrify voters that push them out because they are unaware how the process works and they could be terrified if they participate in the bill the ability to participate can go otherwise. this is just one more example in addition to the numbers we gave earlier how difficult it is to behave with integrity with the racial animus and the mere presence as a threat to democracy i would like to see the rest of this from doctor anderson who can connect the dots between jim crow before and jim crow 2.0. >> thank you for your question senator. the challenges were in the jim
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crow constitution in north carolina that allowed any voter to challenge the veracity and legitimacy of the voter. that was intimidation. that kind of engagement and harassment that we see replicated in this bill. i would also say the limitation of drop boxes. to deal with the pandemic that the post office is being deliberately undercut to deliver absentee ballots in a timely fashion so the drop boxes provided access to voters to engage in the election process. with sp 202 is elimination in
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atlanta the majority of black voters we go from 94 drop boxes down at 23. they are housed inside in buildings that can be closed. this is how they limit access to the ballot box these are not race neutral it is not race neutral as a poll tax law. we don't want black folks to vote that's the underlying premise behind them as was made very clear and that's what we're seeing right now with these voter suppression laws. to the massive wave of black voter turnout happening in 2021 election. >> thank you senator. >> thank you to the witnesses for being here.
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speaker jones thank you for your leadership in the georgia legislature. my kids were born there lived in atlanta and have a lot of family in south georgia. over the past several weeks i have heard a number of reports and also several comments today that it seems to me we are not properly characterizing many aspects of senate bill 202. what would you consider to be the blatant mischaracterizations you heard today or reported in the press quick. >> thank you senator tell us it would take a while for those today but most recently. no id is surrendered to vote absentee. the exact same voter id requirement has been a lot to vote in person will now simply apply to absentee voting.
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>> how does that work? if you go to a poll location they ask for an idea have a government issued id or another except of all form how does that work are they copied and submitted with the ballot? >> no sir. if you have a ballpoint pen you can take the number on your drivers license or the number on your free voter identification or i would like to clarify a utility bill could not be used. you cute lawn - - could use one although 97 percent of georgians do you can submit a copy of a utility bill that is a federally allowed form of id. it's not a hardship.
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>> i just want to be clear have a lot of other questions. when we hear people talking about an unreasonable requirement, north carolina our drivers license number is eight or ten digits you can write ten or 12 digits then you satisfy the requirement on the absentee ballot quick. >> yes sir. >> people said i think ms. abrams said she focused on the nine to five window. it sounds to me in the law that was established as a floor and you provided the options for local boards to do the 727. >> we had 134 that offered fewer hours between 95 it is expanding the hours for early
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voting. >> what about the assertion mentioned by a witness who said providing water to the elderly parents or grandparents could get you in jail? is that a part of the bill? >> no sir. just as in long time current law and probably your state. there is a protected distance that was being gamed and manipulated during the last two election cycles by activist and candidates handing out items of value sometimes with their logo and simply. >> all of this is characterization. >> it's important to point out in georgia you have just under four weeks of early voting
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quick. >> third on - - three weeks which is quite expensive. >> that include saturday and sunday options. >> it mandates to saturday's previously was the only one. >> and to sunday's are absolutely available. only 16 counties utilized sunday voting in 2020. all 159 counties can do it if they choose. >> the provision for drop boxes driven more by the logistics of what you can secure it to prevent tampering? the prior when you said you went from 90 down at 24. >> . >> i live in fulton county there will be sufficient. we never had drop boxes before 2020 they were purely put in place by the state elections board at the social distancing
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concerns. i am optimistic we will not have social distancing concerns with the next general election. should we have them the loss of allows for the state elections board to take them back to the way they were during the pandemic outside the locations but for security reasons they were overflowing because they were not monitored. nobody watch the camera this will make sure every vote counts. >> that seems rational. mr. chair, i have to associate myself with that comment this has been a contentious hearing. and we have our differences but i really believe we need to get the facts on some of this law.
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i don't think setting the premise with the joe on - - jim crow 2021 is a productive way to get people to start - - talk about states like delaware that is currently implementing the voting. we were the first to cast ballots in the last election cycle uk castor absentee ballot in september. we do allow for weekend voting we have a lot of early voting. when i was speaker of the house the gentleman behind me had the bills and the jim crow bills we have had increase participation among the african-american demographic and minority demographic. there does seem to be a number of states i'm sure we will never have a hearing on here they are behind the eight ball. if we had the restrictions and other southern states, then probably we would be rightfully insulted that yet they get a pass. i hope the people of georgia
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and the american people will get past some of the misinformation the 361 bills referred to repeatedly if you look at it i think cleansing voter rolls to prevent dead people from voting is not a bad idea. if the record will be open i will provide something without objection that breaks down the bill maybe some are going out but not 361. these are games being played. there's an article here without objection i would like to submit where fundraising on aspects of the georgia bill that never made its way into law. it looks like a lot of people are creating a lot of noise at the expense of identifying legitimate areas that voters don't have the right to vote. north carolina characterizes my laws that i ratified and passed by almost a 70 percent
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vote republicans are third behind unaffiliated 70 percent with integrity laws the georgia law has more to do with election integrity than voter suppression i hope we can get to the point to find the real offenders and lead them out but not have circular discussions where fundraising e-mails will go out and people will talk about voter integrity but they are not getting anything done. thank you for being here today. thank you mr. chair. >> thank you to everyone for participating. >> jim crow 2021 is a provocative title. it certainly raise the interest level in this committee. participation today is an indication of that. i think this is a serious issue that the professor is with us she may not have had
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as many questions but put in a historic context. people were boldly stating their intentions with efforts of voter suppression not so often now we have to be honest and take a hard look. senator tell us stepped out like a law that required strict id and limited voting the federal court found targeted african-americans with surgical precision to determine the state legislature enacted the law with discriminatory intent. that's not from the 19th or 20th century that modern times like the texas law implemented after the shelby county decision it was ultimately determined to violate the federal court against the black and latino voters. it appeared the people who run the election in georgia where
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willing to stand up to the president of the united states when he personally called the head of the secretary state with the avail threat to suggest he could be guilty of a crime if he didn't set out to find the votes necessary to make donald trump the winner in georgia. he resisted the effort. it took a lot of fortitude on his part as an elected republican he was criticized for many republicans in georgia the same that went into legislative session then passed this bill in the process stripped him of authority. he paid a price for saying that. and what has never been asked whenever answered what is the incidence of voter fraud in georgia causing the legislature to change so many versions after 2020 and the special election of 2021?
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there wasn't. the senator from north carolina raise the question that people voting. how often does that occur? president trump said we think there are 5000 dead people who voted in 2020. he replied there were two. they were wrong. they never should have done it. out of 5 million. it defies logic to think we're in a position now were changing the laws of the state after producing record turnout with so little fraud but still the efforts are made to seem to make a substantial change. 's senator blackburn online? >> yes mr. chairman. i had to leave the hearing and come back. i am available now. >> we were just concluding the
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hearing that i want you to give your chance. take a five-minute. >> thank you. i appreciate that. >> thank you to the witnesses. they have been incredibly patient with us today. this is such an important hearing from us. i was the elected in one - - election commission before elected office i know how incredibly important it is to make it possible for everyone to vote. i appreciated your comments mr. gardner on your focus that it's easy for people while still making those vote safe. i believe everybody should have the opportunity to vote. i have a pickup trick on - - a pickup truck in for 25 years it said vote. it was a way for me to send the message to everyone.
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it has been a little distressing to me listening to this hearing. i got in for a few minutes to hear the premise of this hearing as if there is an assault on the right to vote in this country. we know we have had record voter turnout. my colleagues across the aisle know we have had record voter turnout in recent years. to say jim crow laws in my opinion that is not a valid premise. i find it unfortunate that there are some who continue to push that on the state of georgia. i think we have to look at the lead up to this and the things that have been said.
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look at the "washington post" and their comments about president biden when he falsely claimed george's recent reform law so working people can cast their votes after the shift is over and then president biden went on to explain the georgia law is jim crow in the 21st century which appears to be the inspiration for this hearing. the problem is, as we have discussed the "washington post" gave president biden's remarks on this issue for pinocchio's. in other words they say that was a lie. "one of the biggest changes would expand early voting access to most counties. that is the georgia public radio report on the georgia
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voting law. "for most counties you will have an extra weekend day and your weekday early voting hours will likely be longer. in actuality the georgia voting law that president biden claimed ended early voting actually did the exact opposite. it expanded the voting opportunities. unfortunately president biden repeating the lie had real-world consequences look at this with major-league baseball. this repeated lie cause the all-star game in atlanta to die. i would have loved to ask senator warnock how he will answer to his constituents for the loss of that game. ms. abrams i do have a question for you. when you heard the comment
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that repeated falsehood from the president that this is something that would hamper voting rights. and the comments about the georgia law, does this hurt or help your cause for access to more individuals. >> with all due respect to senator i disagree with your characterization early in person voting 70 percent of counties already had more than eight hours of early voting. sb 202 ratified. >> i don't mean to interrupt. thank you for that. because i do have another question you want to go to ms. jones. of voter on the election
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commission my question for representative jones is the voter rolls and updating the voter rolls. we took this as a very serious responsibility and worked hard to update voter rolls. when you talk about the legislation being pushed they would disallow there for them a lot ballots would go to people as we saw in 2022 no longer live in an area or individuals that are deceased. people saw hundreds of these on social media. talk with me how the process going through cleaning up the roles to underpin the accuracy and the integrity in the elections quick. >> it is incredibly important
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so you can have integrity and elections that the voter rolls are not only cleaned up but also some security on the backend because we did have voters receive absentee ballot requests for previous occupants of their home or apartment. that is why we see the reasonable requirement in the absentee ballot that we left there drivers license number or other provisions if they are wine of 2 percent of georgians that don't have that. they go together we want everyone to cast a vote and we went every legitimate vote to count. >> that is imperative the one person one vote rule to make
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certain the rules are correct the only people who currently live in an area are able to vote in that state or county for the election see you eliminate a lot of the voter fraud it should make elections more secure and make it more difficult to cheat. that is how we preserve the integrity in the election system. everyone entitled to vote should be able to vote. secretary gardner i do have a question. >> senator. >> yes or. >> i will submit my question to secretary gardner because you have been generous with your time. and the hearing has run very long.
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thank you for letting me get in a couple of questions. >> mr. gardner will receive the question help anyone who does will respond in a timely fashion. i want to think the witnesses it is evidence of the interest in this issue. it is clear we have work to do the question is whether we do something in a bipartisan way thank you to everyone who's participating in defense of the democracy the hearing will stand adjourn.
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[inaudible conversations] >> monday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, listen to the coverage of the supreme court oral argument, americans for prosperity versus vargas, concerning california's donor disclosure requirements. listen -- watch on c-span or the
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c-span radio app. >> as he approaches his 100 stay in office, president biden will give his first address to a joint session of congress was a night. our coverage begins with the president's address at 9:00. >> next, supreme court oral argument in sanchez v mayorkas, involving green card eligibility. the plaintiffs are a couple from el salvador rented temporary protected status in 2001 for humanitarian purposes. they later applied for permanent resident status, but were denied a green card for not being properly inspected and admitted into the u.s. when they first arrived in the late 1990's. this oral argument runs an hour.

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