tv Lawmakers Examine Election Threats CSPAN July 28, 2021 10:09pm-10:43pm EDT
>> the fast reliable internet connection is something nobody can live about. wow is there for customers with speed, reliability, value, and choice. more than ever, it starts with great internet. ♪ >> wow. >> wow supports c-span as a public service along with these providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. ♪ >> the house administration committee held a hearing on legislation designed to limit state officials from restricting voting access. representative of maryland, utah, and georgia testified about the recommendations for ensuring free and fair elections. >> election officials have faced threats and harassment after they were unfairly blamed for election results in the 2020 election that certain politicians and voters did not like.
they do not want to accept. last year, threats for some election workers were so bad that they had temporarily abandoned their homes, spent their money on increased home security, or even secure around-the-clock police surveillance. election workers have had their young children threaded. for women and election workers of color, the threats have they have received have been graphic and often include race -- racist and gendered insults. some report the harassment and threats are continuing to this day. a recent survey of election workers commissioned by the brennan center for justice found one in three workers feel unsafe because of their job and nearly one in five listed their lives being threaded as a job-related concern. it even -- even in the face of the challenges in the global
pandemic, election officials managed to run the most secure election in american history according to a trump official. with the highest turnout in more than 100 years. while the work election officials have done is heroic, several of america's political leaders have failed them. former president trump and his supporters have attempted to delegitimize the 2020 election results through the repeated stop the steal movement fueled by the big lie, the unfounded theory that the 2020 general election was swayed by widespread voter fraud. this disinformation campaign has villain eyes election officials, many who believe these claims are the reason election officials are under attack. more than half of election workers interview recently said social media made their jobs more dangerous. the threats to officials spread far beyond trump and the stop
the steal movement. in several states, party leaders have censured and replaced election officials who told the truth about the security and accuracy of the 2020 election. dark money groups are taking advantage of and amplifying the spread of disinformation, weaponizing it to get legislation restricting access to the ballot introduced and passed in states. legislators had introduced bills to impose criminal penalties on election officials who try to expand access to the ballot by taking steps like proactively sending mail-in ballot applications and would subject pull workers to criminal penalties for removing partisan election observers accused of voter intimidation. finally, state legislators have taken steps to divest local election officials of their power to run it, count, and certify elections, turning elections into partisan process subject to political interference. congress has not only to power
but the duty to act to address this daily of bills - deluge of bills. it should pass hr one, the for the people act, combating disinformation in preventing the threats to election officials. hr4064, the preventing of election subversion act of 2021, would protect election officials by prohibiting the harassment and intimidation of election workers and restricting the removal of local election officials in elections for federal office without cause. it also protects voters from intimidation when voting in person by restricting who may challenge voters in federal elections and when those challenges may occur. it prohibits observers from getting within eight feet of voters. we will hear more about hr4064 today. the work of election officials is fundamental to our democracy.
their dedicated public servants who administer free and fair elections. american democracy would not survive without them. congress needs to take steps to ensure they are protected. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses today. i would now like to recognize our ranking member, mr. davis, for his opening statements. rep. davis: before i get started, i would like to point out that today's hearing was scheduled at the same time as a markup in the financial services committee, which both of my colleagues, -- colleagues serve on. my staff has reminded your team on numerous occasions that with two thirds of committee members on that particular committee, one that actually sets their calendar a month in advance, i would ask for consideration in the future to take a look at the financial services committee hearing schedule. rep. lofgren: if i may address that, i know it is a concern and
we want the full participation of every member. however, i think it would be more to -- correct to say they schedule their hearing during our hearing because our hearing was noticed before there is but we notice our hearing on july 21 at 11:46 a.m. they noticed there is at july 23 at 9:00 in the morning. i do agree with you we want all our members present. rep. davis: i appreciate that. thank you for your consideration and your team for looking at that could i will jump into a financial services hearing and let my displeasure be no with chair waters for that. i may have to relate out for me. this hearing on election subversion but it be more timely because there is a live election misinformation happening right now. it is coming from the other side of the aisle. alas congress in this hot as congress, i sat through hearings listening to my friends on the other side trying to tell us there is voter suppression happening in republican dates.
despite voter turnout breaking records in the 2018 midterms and the 2020 general election, across all races, my friends on the others of the aisle continued to spread a gray just misinformation about what is occurring today. senator joe manchin announced he would vote against hr1 and s1. one of our colleagues from new york said his op-ed should have been titled, "why i'll vote to preserve jim crow." another member from new york called it a voter suppression epidemic. president biden has called these laws un-american, sick, jim crow in the 21st century, and a significant test of our democracy since the civil war. additionally, the president has received for pinocchio's from even the most liberal fact checkers at the washington post for false claims about george's laws. vice president harris suggested
voter integrity laws are concerning because people in rural areas do not have a kinko's nearby. i am from a rural part of the country and i'm here to tell you we are all perfectly capable and willing to follow the rules to protect the integrity of our boats. democrat legislators from texas recently fled their home state to washington dc to fight voter suppression. when they were pressed about how these laws would suppress votes, they could not explain. that is because when you take the time to read the legislation and analyze the state laws, you will find in many states, democrats are trying to claim voter suppression in the states they are trying to claim voter suppression. they have less restricted voting laws than many democratic-controlled states like new york and delaware. the states passing these laws are doing so to clean up
temporary pandemic rules that were made during covid but are not needed outside of a pandemic. rules like 24 hour drive through voting. supreme court recently ruled in favor of states having them to implement voting laws to protect the integrity of their elections. making it easy to vote but hard to cheat. in the case against arizona, justice alito's opinion stated, one legitimate state interest is the prevention of fraud. fraud can affect the outcome of an election and fraudulent votes dilute the right of citizens to cast ballots. fraud can undermine public confidence in the fairness of elections and to perceive but -- with jenna of the outcome. he also noted that in merely implementing voting regulations such as roasted increase ballot integrity does not equal discrimination. that is what my democratic colleagues continue to misconstrue. unfortunately these election
some version is part of their plan and continued push to nationalize our elections, creating the false narrative that states are passing racist laws to incorrectly justify the need for hr1 and s1 and hr4. it is false and offensive. our country has come along way since the passage of the voting rights act of 1965. i think that is important to recognize and remember the history behind the need for that legislation and celebrate the progress that we have made all while recognizing the ongoing importance of section two to ensure that we never return to 1965. there is no one better to talk about that horrendous voter suppression laws that occurred during the jim crow era compared to where we are now then our colleague congressman burgess owens. i'm honored to have him with us today not just because he helped
the oakland raiders win a super bowl in january 1981. he grew up in the jim crow south in the 1960's during his testimony. he said jim crow laws like poll taxes, property tests, literacy test, and violence and intimidation at the polls made it nearly impossible for black americans to vote. he went on to say, it is disgusting and offensive to compare the actual voter suppression and violence of the area that we grew up in with a state law that only asked people to show their id. i look forward to hearing from burgess and i will remember him -- remind my colleague i am not giving your super bowl ring back. i took it as part of -- of orientation. thank you for that. >> we are privileged to have three members of congress with greater knowledge about the subject.
i would like to introduce them. congressman starving -- he has represented maryland since 2007. he serves on the house committee on energy and congress and the health subcommittee on the environment and public -- climate change. he has also served on the house oversight and reform committee. the subcommittee on government operations. he chairs the democracy reform task force, assembled hr1 the for the people act to strengthne our democracy. born in baltimore, he has experienced the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. he is the lead sponsor of hr406 4, the preventing election subversion act of 2021. congressman wins represents utah's fourth congressional district.
born in the segregated south as a ranking member mentioned, he saw people of all backgrounds come together to work tirelessly against adversity. he was the 13th pick in the first round of the 1973 nfl draft. he ensured the new york jets played safety for 10 seasons and the oakland raiders. he won the super bowl with the 1980 raiders team. after retiring from the nfl, he worked in the corporate sales word of this world and moved to utah before being elected to congress. he started second chance for youth, a nonprofit dedicated to helping troubled and incarcerated youth. he serves with a member of the house education and liver -- labor committee and with me and mr. reston on the house judiciary committee. he believes in dreaming big and follows the four guiding principles of his faith.
they, family, free markets, and education. -- faith. congresswoman williams has been an advocate for social justice, woman, and families throughout her career. as a member of congress, congresswoman williams continues to uplift the legacy of her mentor and predecessor, congressman john lewis. i fighting to prevent voter suppression and expand free and fair access to the ballot box. she was elected as a freshman class president for the 117th congress. as president, she organizes and advances the interests of her freshman emma credit colleagues to fulfill their oath to work for the people. she currently sits on the financial services committee where she is vice chair of the subcommittee on investigations and oversight. and the transportation and infrastructure committee. the congresswoman is also a
member of the select committee on the modernization of congress and mr. davis and i served through here. she has membership in several conferences including the congressional black caucus, the democratic women's caucus, the congressional progressive caucus, the voting rights caucus, the lgbtq plus a quality caucus, the hbcu caucus, and the sponsor of hr4064. you will hear from our witnesses. we ask you to summarize your statement in about five minutes and the full statement will be made part of the record. your recognize. >> thank you very much. for inviting us to testify today. and for the committee's continued attention to the most pressing matters that are facing congress and our democracy. a republic is built on the fundamental principle itself -- of self-government.
the radical proposition that the levers of power in our society can only be exercised with the consent of the governed. we know throughout our nation's history, we have struggled to liver fully on this principle. to ensure democratic rights for all americans. generations of our fellow citizens have been systematically denied the franchise. people of color, women, the disabled, and native communities have been locked out of the ballot box for most of our nations history. while we have made progress in securing the rights to vote in america, it has been incomplete and increasingly under attack. across the country, restrictive state laws enhanced and almost entirely partisan faction by republican legislators in field special interest money, or seeking to limit the franchise under the guise of rooting out fraud and promoting election integrity, even though experts agree this past november's election with one of the most secure in american history.
these laws impose new restrictions on in person voting, narrow access to new modalities of voting, such as vote by mail, and undermine the basic, nonpartisan administration of elections themselves. i appreciate your focus in today's hearing on this last threat, commonly referred to as election subversion. let me be clear. election subversion is just voter suppression dressed up in new close. when a person is ready to have their vote counted is ignored, the bridge is subverted. it strips them of their democratic rights. it suppresses the royce and their democracy. it is congress and this committee work to press critical reforms, we must recognize the threat of election subversion and the threat of voter suppression are two sides of the same coin. as this committee knows well, the 117th congress has been
laser focused on building a stronger and more resilient democracy. march 3, the house of representatives passed the for the people act, a bill our caucus labored long and hard to assemble with the help of chairperson lofgren and many of my colleagues on this committee and in this congress. at the time of house passage, we were only beginning to witness the loose --the fate of election subversion laws emerge. georgia's sb202, introduced on fabry 17th, contains none of the later subversion language that would appear in a flurry of last-minute changes in mid-march before the law's passage on march 25. before sb202 had its innk dry, we set to work to understand the threats in georgia and across the country and prepare policy responses at the federal level. recently i joined with chairperson lofgren and our
colleagues and representatives in introducing the preventing election subversion act. grounded in the elections because of the constitution, which gives congress the authority to regulate the time, place, and manner of elections, this would adopt a minimum substantive standard that must be met before suspending a local or county election official. while providing a federal cause of action. a proposal that would allow a local election official with the responsibility for federal elections and who it's been subjected to removal proceedings by a state board of elections to bring that proceeding into federal court for redress. the legislation makes it a federal crime for any person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or harass an election
finally, the bill would establish a minimum buffer zone to how close a partisan person can come to -- or on election day. we believe these measures represent an important contribution for deliberation in the house, and with our senate colleagues about the key democracy reforms in the for the people act. by no means do they represent the full universe of potential federal responses to the threat of election subversion. we continue to workshop additional policy approaches as we track new and more sinister subversion at the state level that threatened to disrupt the administration of our elections. i think they can make for your interest and look forward to offering any assistance and perspective i can in this critical effort to safeguard our democracy and preserve, protect, and defend the vote and the boys
of every american. >> thank you, mr. sarin spirit about is being called on the floor. i think we have time to hear from mr. owens, and miss williams. that we will recess and vote in return for the second panel. star owens, you're recognized for five minutes. -- mr. owens you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you chairperson lofgren and ranking member. in april, i invited before -- entitled jim crow 2021. the latest assault on the about. this is similar to what i shared with that committee in april. my main point is the same. when you classified new election laws as election subversion or
jim crow 2021 -- the right to vote for members of the black and african-american community, it requires voter id, expand voter access the people subversive tactics of the jim crow experience. i story begins with my favorite grandpa. he was a father -- add child in south carolina -- later became a successful entrepreneur with a hundred two acres of farmland. my grandfather served in war war one was respected as a farmer. he had 12 children, all of whom graduated college. my father was stationed in the philippines at the end of world war ii, when he returned to texas, actual jim crow laws denied him an education.
they use these tactics as motivation. he had a successful career as a professor, researcher and entrepreneur. everywhere in the deep south in the 1960's to the dave kkk, jim crow -- in the area of actual institutional racism. at 18 years old i was a black athlete to receive a scholarship to play football for the embassy of miami. now i probably represent utah in the u.s. congress. i sit before you today as an example of the american dream. this is due to our country's mission statement that all men and women are created equal. this is a statement that every american should have an opportunity -- the life liberty and pursuit of happiness.
as someone who actually experienced jim crow laws, i would like to set the record straight. the recent georgia state law and those laws across our country call election subversion, which is absolutely outrageous. these are some examples of what jim crow laws actually look like. at the age of 12, my father allowed me to see a demonstration with college students in private segregated theater. i was the youngest one there. 50 years later dad learned my father that he had parked across the street. in the seventh grade class -- they never received new books. we received all books from the white school across town. there were white only restrooms, women only restrooms and one filthy in the one in the back of the station for black americans.
may it nearly impossible for black americans to vote. the state laws -- has brought so much outrage from the left, simply requires a person regardless of race or color to reply for an absentee ballot to include evidence of their id on the application. if a voter does not have a driver's license or id card, they can use a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other document to show that the name and address of the voter. if a voter somehow cannot do one of the above, that voter may still cap -- cast a provisional ballot. 97% of georgia voters -- includes black americans already have government issued id.
this is the narrative from the left that my people are not smart enough, educated enough, to do every other voter does in this country, get an id. true racism exists. the low expectations. this is jim crow on steroids -- president biden said this is jim crow on steroids. it is offensive to actual voter suppression -- compared to actual voter suppression. this type of fear mongering from then 1960's not today. if we thrust of americans expect one thing, it is voter integrity. boater's account, it should be easy to vote, we ask no more and no less than of any other american. i think you and appreciate the opportunity.
the judgments time is expired -- >> the gentleman's time is expired. >> in the 2020 election a record sundering 4.93 georgians made their voices heard when they cast their vote. six weeks later, they did it again, showing up in record numbers for the set runoff elections that change the direction of america forever. taken together, these two elections represented one of the greatest moments for democracy in the history of georgia and america. then, the election results were placed under an unwarranted microscope of so-called election integrity watchdogs because of what was at stake. three recounts and multiple lawsuits later, the reload -- results were clear. emma kratz and republicans alike agreed our election was free from fraud. our elections have been free of fear because of nonpartisan election officials were used to working behind the scenes to
ensure that everyone'ss secret vote gets counted. sb 20 two, which was signed into law by governor brian kemp breaks down crucial safeguards for independent election administrators. under sp 202, the georgia state election board has the power to replace county election board members that it decides are underperforming. giving partisan election officials far too much control over the administration of elections. partisan pressure and subversion tactics have no place in our elections, plain and simple. unfortunately, election subversion is not -- republicans in georgia are actively working to replace -- fulton county, which includes the city of atlanta, just this week. this monday, the secretary of state said after he repeatedly
called the state election board to use its authority to replace fulton county's election leadership. this is despite the secretary previously certifying the georgia between 20 election results, fighting against accusations of a lectern fraud. -- election fraud. house speaker david roston set a letter to director behrens, requesting he ask for the georgia bureau of investigation's to conduct an investigation into the fulton county board of elections. these only two examples of georgia republicans building election subversion as they play to their political base. governor kemp, the secretary, house speaker and their colleagues are scared to say the quiet part out loud. fulton county is full of voters who look like me. we might not be counting jellybeans in a jar, but election subversion seeks the same results, suppressing the votes of people of color and those will more marginalized in our community.
beyond undermining our micro see, it targeting dedicated election officials is putting lives at risk. they received death threats, black staff members of the full type board of elections have been called every racial slur you can imagine. one coworker, having been harassed by the former president is in hiding. her life's been turned upside down. they seek to change -- ending so election subversion should not be a partisan issue. gabriel starling took a stand in december against members of the abrupt up -- of his own party who work peddling conspiracy theories and undermining our democracy. someone is when you get hurt, shot, killed, he warned. i think that you may for holding this hearing. our democracy is a state. it is noxious georgia where this is happening. legislation has been introduced this year in nearly every state to limit access to the ballot
box. we do not have time to wait and see what might happen. in georgia come we conducted an election with an undemocratic sb 202 as the law of the land, the next election will be here before we know it. the time to act is now. to anyone who wonders what they would have done during the civil rights movement, now is your time to find out. you're either on the side of democracy or you are not. i look forward to continuing to work with members of this committee and all of those ready to protect our democracy. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentlelady yields back. >> i asked permission to assert a point of order. >> what is the gentleman's point of order? >> man nasty question for -- did congressman owens state for the
balance of ms. williams testimony. >> is camera is on -- not on, he may have left. >> i would ask that the gentlemen suspend as a courtesy to the chair so we can discuss this further. i think if you were present, and needed to go, we would accommodate that as we do to members. let's discuss this further. if necessary, we will take it up after the recess. we are now in recess for votes. we will come back as soon as the votes are over.