tv Lawmakers Examine Election Threats CSPAN July 28, 2021 10:42pm-12:10am EDT
had raised a point of order come up which would postpone for further discussion until after the vote. mr. butterfield, your recognize. >> before the break, i raise the point of order be here -- because i had a suspicion that congressman burgess owens had withdrawn from the panel. i do not know that to be a fact. i need to establish the facts before i reach my conclusions. may i ask the ranking member if congressman owens was present when ms. williams testified? and able to hear and see her just might as he would if he were in the committee room? >> i do not know the answer to that. i know mr. owens was going to vote, like he would if he was in person. because of remote hearings, and the proceedings are so new, i think these are issues that we could address in the future.
i prefer his words not be stricken, remote made perceiving regulations only require the participating members keep their cameras on, not witnesses. if we continue down this path, we will argue that he was not participating in the hearing. i think it is semantics on issues. if we could get clarification in the future. >> outside here for five minutes and listened to a black history lesson from the gentleman. i'm the oldest one in this room. i lived in the south. my parents and grandparents grow up the south. i lived and breathed and suffered the jim crow south. i did not need the gentleman to come here today and give me a five-minute lecture on voter suppression for african-americans in the south. what i needed him to testified about today was election subversion in 2020, which is
what the gentleman from georgia was tens of -- testifying about earlier. i only wish he could've heard her testimony. it was powerful. i would be inclined to withdraw my objection, but would ask the staff if they would forward a copy of congresswoman williams's testimony to the gentleman for his consideration. >> will the gentleman yield? i will forward a copy of ms. williams testimony. we provide it just made this entire hearing -- hearing to ms. -- mr. owens and his team. i'm glad you decided to withdraw. i'm glad we have another perspective, some by that grow up in the jim crow south. i did not. i was in iowa and illinois. i was not old enough. to hear the perspectives from mr. owens and you and others is important.
thank you for your withdrawal, i appreciate your friendship and consideration. we will get that test mind to mr. owens if we have not already. >> the gentleman withdraws. we will go to our second panel. i would like to introduce and reiterate, for our remote witnesses, the rules require you keep your cameras on at all times if you're not speaking we ask that your microphone be turned off or muted to prevent background noise. you can unmute when it is your turn to speak or answer questions. each of you will be recognized for about five minutes. your full statement will be made part of the record. let me introduce our panel of
witnesses. gowri ramachandran served as senior counsel in the democracy program, which focuses on election security, election administration and combating election disinformation. she is currently on leave as a professor of law at southwestern law school in los angeles, california, where she has been granted tenure. classes in critical race theory, and the ninth circuit appellate litigation clinic. her work is published in the election law journal, the north carolina lot review and the outlaw journal online, among others. she received her undergraduate degree in lot -- mathematics from your college and her masters degree statistics from harvard university. after law school, she served as -- in law school sheet served as editor-in-chief of the law journal.
after graduating she served as law clerk to judge sidney r thomas at the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth circuit in billings, montana. adrian is -- adrian fontes served in maricopa county arizona. approximately two thirds of arizona's population from 2017 to 2020. his position was most recent in a long list of his service to his community and country, from 1992 to 1996 he served as -- on active duty in the u.s. marine corps. we thank you for that service. he earned a nomination meritorious commission, after being honorably discharged she received a bachelors degree from the arizona state university, before continuing on to the sturm college of law at the
university of denver. after law school, he served as a prosecutor with the denver district attorney, worked in the maricopa county attorney's office, then headed the form prosecution unit at the arizona attorney general's office. in 2016, he was elected to the office of the maricopa county reporter where you served a four-year term, implementing national award winning systems and procedures to improve accessibility and security for maricopa county elections, even amidst the immense logistical and personnel safety challenges posed on election administration by the covid-19 pandemic. he remains a resident of maricopa county, where he is raising his three daughters and practicing law. we haven't destroyed -- we have a detroit city clerk, janice winfrey. she has served her community.
she was in office in 2005. clerk winfrey accepted the responsibility to governor three city rules. say clerk, chief elections officer, city clerk. in addition to her duties, she also found time to improve her skills and advance her profession by completing courses and certifications in the center training program, the international association of clerks, reporters, election officials and treasurers and michigan municipal league. she's also a member of the national league of cities. she is a graduate of cal technical high school. she has been reg -- recognized as a distinguished alum and eastern michigan university. finally we have ken cuccinelli, was the chairman of the election transparency initiative. during the trump administration,
he served as the acting director of the u.s. citizenship and immigration services, and acting deputy secretary for the department of homeland security. during his tenure, mr. cuccinelli was a leading spokesman for the 12th administration on immigration, election security and homeland security issues. he was nominated by pres. trump to -- the coronavirus tax force. in addition to practicing law for between five years, he served in state government and the virginia senate from 2002 to 2010 and is virginias attorney general from 2010 to 2014. he earned a mechanical engineering degree from the university of virginia, a lot of great from the antonin scalia outlaw law school at george mason university, and a masters in international transactions from george mason university. we will recognize each of you
for five minutes. for those of you who are test of my -- testifying remotely, there's a clock on your screen will tell you when your time is clicking down for witnesses were present in the chamber, have a set of lights. when turned yellow it means there is a minute let -- meant left. when turns red, your time is up. we would ask you to summarize. we hope to get through this panel entirely and our questions before the next round of votes. let me turn first to ms. rama sean driven. your recognize for five minutes. --ramachandran. >> the server justice commission -- we found that roughly one in three election officials felt unsafe in their jobs.
approximately one in six disrupted their lives as a job-related concern. in order for democracy to function, we cannot accept the situation. election officials across the country risk their lives during the pandemic to help us vote safely in 2020. the highest turnout since 1900, and how are they being repaid? with intimidation, interference, and disinformation campaigns that pay them as cheaters and seven heroes they are. i hope to make three points today. first, the quest against election officials -- ongoing problems. they're threatening the security of our elections. for the protection of election officials and workers. second, election administration's commission has
worked to help us combating election misinformation or dock thing. --doxxing. this work should continue with work -- support from congress. we partnered with the bipartisan policy center and that ash center. we conducted interviews and conversations with thousands of election officials. this culminated in the reports we published in the bipartisan policy center, that i included in my written testimony. what we learned was heartbreaking. local election officials felt unsafe, they were being harassed and threatened in the wake of the 2020 election. several reported that their family members, including elder parents and young children were harassed or threatened last year. multiple election officials
reported this consistent harassment force them in their family to flee their home and seek mental health treatment. when they reached out to law enforcement for help, the response was indecision. in addition to the harassment, making experienced interference by partisan leaders. former president trump famously placed a phone call to georgia state secretary of state. [indiscernible] we also found -- interference abounded. many officials told the truth and refuse to undermine the process -- replace the secretary of state as the chair of the state election board with a political appointee.
every -- virtually every election worker we spoke with said this was fueled by misinformation about the election. lies about the election, in particular the lie that was stolen -- attacks on election officials. we compare that to [indiscernible] maricopa chi was an example in real time. the disinformation campaign they built continues. when secretary of state katie han -- election review. they began -- a personal security detail. our report included three ways
congress can help. the department of justice needs to announce a task force to investigate threats and intimidation. we need funding for safety changes for physical security of election offices. the disinformation is daunting. social media companies should promote truthful information over conspiracy theories. congress should pass legislation that protects election officials from intimidation. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you come up we turn to you mr. fontes. we turn to you for your testimony. [inaudible] >> thank you for the opportunity to testify today about the
threats against state and local officials and our democracy. in 2018, 1 of my three daughters picked up a package on our front porch and brought it into the kitchen. because of recent threat against me, the bomb squad was called to conduct an investigation in my home. two years later, in the aftermath of election day 2020, armed protesters gathered outside the maricopa county election center, demanding we count all the bouts. that is exactly what we were doing. but the misinformation and disinformation that had built a fever pitch, motivated some of these people to corner one of my staff members outside the door, forcing what was a rescue by law enforcement officers and other staff members. this is not a story about some deteriorating third world democracy on the verge of authoritarianism. this is america, today. unless everybody does their part in the truth prevails, we will face a level of uncertainty in
this nation never before seen. i'm a graduate some of cum laude of the arizona state university and sturm college of law. -- sturm college of law. semper fidelis. i don't come here as any one of those sorts of titles. i come to you as a county election official. come to you representing the concerns, stresses, worries of tens of thousands of local county and municipal officials, appointed and elected permanent and temporary employees, volunteers, whole workers, election judges, marshals. --poll workers, election judges, marshals. i greatly appreciate you have invited our voices into this conversation. i ask you continue to listen to these people.
we need your help. we need your protection. there's one more group i've yet to mention, who also get greater protection under the proposed legislation. the single most important group of people in our democracy, boaters. -- voters. my written testimony describes the following in more detail than i can get into. many of the security and integrity measures that we put in place and maricopa county, which resulted in an honest, fair and safe election in 2020. the subversive efforts of the former administration and antidemocratic factions, which further perpetuated mythologies of widespread voter fraud and help that is leaving -- threats of violence, harassment, possibly physical harm. the rest and threats of violence against election workers in maricopa county, in my team experience germane term in office are also there.
-- during my term in office are also there. before i conclude, i must express my gratitude on the record to those people that i'm asking you to protect. i will not name them, because they know who they are. mentioning their names could actually result in additional threats against them. they are professional staff at the maricopa county recorder's office and election department, they did the impossible and just four years. we added 500,000 more voters to our role. we saw 600,000 more ballots cast in one county alone, even during a global pandemic. that is access. this is work the whole team should be very proud of. there's no level of lies, false conspiracies, fraudsters or fools who will take away from these amazing people, the work
that we all accomplished. the maricopa team, like those around the nation should stand proud for the work they didn't 2020. it was a successful election, and no one will ever take that away from the tens of thousands of americans who did that work. i strongly support legislative efforts to protect election officials in arizona and across the country from harassment, intimidation, threats and political interference so they can safely perform their duties to serve voters and protect election integrity. we deeply appreciate this committees willingness to protect our democracy. thank, chairwoman for your time. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for that testimony. clark winfrey, you're recognized for about five minutes. >> chairperson, ranking member, members of this committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify about the threats facing
election administrators in detroit and across this country for simply doing our jobs. i am the say clerk and chief election official for the city of detroit. this elected nonpartisan position, i'm chiefly responsible for keeping the official records and documents for the city of detroit. clerking the council and administering all elections. detroit, known as the motor city, is nationally recognized as a comeback city. becomes her bankruptcy, a mass exodus of population, loss of manufacturing jobs, and have made it through global pandemic, where we were defined as a hotspot. approximately 80% of detroit is black. during the 2020 general election, pres. trump made numerous false allegations of voter fraud, insisting that the election was stolen. consequently, state and local officials from both parties, poll workers and election staff
were and still find ourselves under attack. threats remain against me, my staff and detroit poll workers iphone, email, and in person, such as when they collected absentee ballots on election day. trump and his conservative allies allied's -- filed several lawsuits against me and other michigan election officials as part of their misinformation campaign that blamed election administrators for their loss at the polls. all these lawsuits were deemed frivolous and deceptive in nature, and some of the attorneys are facing sanctions. during the 2020 presidential election, detroit, despite being in the middle of the pandemic and civil unrest experienced a 51% voter turnout. of the approximately 250,000 electors devoted, 174,000 cast their ballots absentee, which was a record for our city.
detroit voters have a tremendous impact on the outcome of the presidential election in michigan. because of the spike in absentee ballots, coupled with the processing and counting of the absentee ballots prior to election, i expended that operation by renting additional space in the conference center to accommodate the necessary temporary staff and observers that we may complete the process transparently and safely. during the tabulation of the absentee pallets, multiple gop challengers had to be removed because of disruptive conduct. some were intimidating over their entire face. others banged on the walls and windows, shouting stop about. others violated social distancing standards as required by covid-19 rules, refused to place protective masks over their noses when asked.
it appeared this disruption intended to undermine the tabulation of the absentee ballots. a couple of weeks later, i received a call from that secretary of state, explaining that the wayne county board of canvassers would refuse to certify the results unless i testified. during that time, both my husband and i were diagnosed with covid-19. we were born teen. nonetheless, to ensure the certification of the election, i left my husband side at the hospital and reported to my office, and multiple masks and adhering to the many recommendations of health officials, still placing my staff in harm's way to prevent the state board from disenfranchising hundreds of detroit voters. immediately following my testimony, i was harassed. i received insulting test --
text messages my private cell phone and by way of social media in my inbox. the greatest threat came when i was taking a walk. an unknown caucasian man, approximately six foot 3, 200 50 pounds, approached me in my neighborhood and abruptly stated, i have been waiting for you at work and decided to come to your house. why did you cheat, and why did you allow trump to use? -- toulouse? he approached me in a threatening manner. my only recourse was to yell, i have covid-19 and i will spit on you. fortunately, a neighbor was driving by and asked if i was ok. i responded no, this man is threatening me. my neighbor began blocking him with my car so i could get home. later that evening, i received a message stating he would blow up my block. i call the detroit police department, explained what happened and they began to
surveilled my house and area. as recently as fairbury 2021, i was notified by the detroit police department that my life was threatened by white supremacists and the police will be patrolling my home for the next couple of weeks. my cousin and i decided to leave town. our government is elected by our citizens, voting is crucial to our democracy. our job is local election officials is essential. we are inspired to protect the act of voting. i asked that you consider unlawful to harass, intimidate or threaten local election officials while we perform our jobs. take you. >> thank you for that testimony. we have our last witness, mr. cuccinelli. you are now recognized for about five minutes. you are remote, i believe. >> yes ma'am. numbers of jamaica, thank you
for inviting me today to discuss the quality and integrity of our voting systems in the safety of the people who run them. thankfully, it is already illegal in every state to harass or threaten election officials or any citizen. i would note this was a problem that we wish we had congresses support for when i was in the department of homeland security, instead of encouraging people were performing the kind of unrest that you heard described in detroit. i previously served as deputy secretary of homeland security, the attorney general of virginia, and i currently serve as the chairman of the election transparency initiative, where we work every day to help improve the transparency, security, accessibility, safety and accountability of elections in every state, so every american, regardless of party affiliation or color of their skin should have confidence in the outcome of every election. today, is easier to register and vote than ever before in our
history, regardless of where you live, what color you are, what party before. we should be celebrating this is a great accomplishment, while always looking to improve. instead, many in congress would like to impose takeover in various pieces. the particular one you've talked about today is a smaller piece. we heard previous speakers talk about the federal preclearance bill, the john lewis bill, coming hr one. and suggest the access to voting today is worse than it was in 1965, which is patently outrageous. the line demagoguery coming from the radical left, including the title of this hearing is not constructive and represents a large-scale attempt to knowingly convince the american people of a false narrative. namely, that since the shelby county ruling the supreme court in 2013, america has been suffering from a rash of voter suppression, including violence.
the data demonstrates this narrative is blatantly false. rather than me make general allegations, that may be specific about some of the radical leftists were aligned to the american people. it starts at the top, with president biden. even the leftist washington -- had to give their strongest rating of four pinocchio's. is that lark lobbyist voice shouting the now familiar trope of jim crow 2.0, which we heard congressman owens speak to from his own experience. vice president harris recently flip-flopped from her anti-voter id condition in an interview on bet. an interview in which that was overshadowed by her comment that people who live in rural communities are not capable or smart enough to use voter id.
vice president harris is rural people are stupid you is no less prejudiced in her view shared implicitly by summing others on the left that minorities are somehow incapable of getting and using voter ids, like everyone else. i hear very little discussion of how critical these are two participate in our society and economic opportunities. a sad commentary. in addition to the data not supporting this prejudiced view, it is one of the most offensive aspects of the entire contemporary discussion. one of the most senior members of this body recently not only flip-flopped on his previous position that requiring butter ids is racist, denying ever holding such a position. beyond that, he further denied that anyone and congress ever held such a position. given that members of this very committee have suggested that requiring voter id is prejudiced, or racist at worse
you know congressman clyburn's denial was without foundation. like president biden, congressman clyburn also earned the washington post's four pinocchio's rating for lying on the subject. no list of live baiting -- stacey abrams. she denied ever holding such a position. most recently, pennsylvania gov. tom wolf states a spectacular foot plop of his own. suddenly declaring his open to changing the states voter id laws, less than three weeks after vetoing a piece of updating legislation that included voter id provisions, called the voting rights protection act, brought forward by the general assembly. what today's race baiters have in common? two things, timing and polling.
because of the political necessity of getting federal legislation through 50-50 senate, following west virginia senator mansions -- mansion -- congressman clyburn, stacey abrams and others on the left had to cast aside their false voter id is racist -- >> >> the gentleman's time has expired. i will give time to wrap up. >> second, the polling is shifted despite six months of attacks. american people still support access and integrity measures which continue, even in this hearing to be called voter suppression. i will write my time up. i look forward to discussing the subject further. think the chairman for the additional time. >> this is the time in our hearing when members of the committee may pose questions for
five minutes to the witnesses. i turn first to our ranking member, mr. davis for questions. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you mr. cuccinelli for your testimony today. we had a long debate about congresses role in federal elections. republicans believe that states have the primary role in administering elections. and a congresses role is secondary. at our last committee hearing, we heard testimony from witnesses suggesting that the elections clause is congress carte blanche power over state elections. mr. charmaine was built goes into -- mr. saar brains's-- mr. could shelley do you agree with their interpretation of the
elections clause? >> no, i think the elements in the longer form of your statement, are exactly what was anticipated when the constitution was written, when this clause was put in place. it is shown by the history of america. for 200 30 years, states have run elections -- for 230 years, states of run elections. in with the voting rights act of 1965, one of the most extraordinary federal interventions in state run elections in our history. even that was recognized by the supreme court as resulting from extreme circumstances that existed at that time and have been remedied, as a supreme court also said. i will take the part of the recent bill that jumped out at me, where you seek to have the federal government invade state
and local prerogatives of hiring and firing their own officials. this is an area that has been dealt with to some degree, not squarely but to some degree in 10th amendment litigation. this is an area where the federal government does not have the power to go in until estate how to do its business. >> i think you agree that congresses role in this space is not getting involved, except in incredibly serious situations, right? >> i think that is both the history and there is extraordinary amount of support for that position, up from the founders who wrote and passed the constitution. i think that is the predominant legal view out there. it has never been fully litigated. i described to the 8020 rule as
a litigator. that is where the preponderance of the scholarship resides. >> mr. fontes, this committee sends out official staff to administer the federal elections under its authority under house rules and the constitution. during the last election, maricopa county under -- unbelievably refused access to any congressional observers, republicans and democrats, who were forced to appear pro-lobby window to see the process. isn't sunlight the best disinfectant? why should axis be limited? -- why should access be limited? >> i am not sure where you are getting your facts from. authorized observers, of were authorized according to arizona state law, i know you are a
proponent of states making the rules, had all the axis that was required and branded as appropriate in maricopa county during the entire election cycle. >> we will get you some evidence from our official observers from the house as to the problems. i hope we can work together to make sure we are out -- how much my did you administer to budget -- budget to administer the elections? >> we budgeted well over $23 million. the issue we had was the global pandemic, that i don't think anybody realized the impact financially. it ended up being more than that but we spent, public outreach, safety equipment, ppe, finding new places to have about centers so folks could bow at social
distance. the number of dollars would budgeted did not amount to what we ended up paying. >> does that number include the cares act money that maricopa county act -- that maricopa county got? >> that would not be included in the budget, the cares act was passed long after our budget. >> i will yield back. thank you. >> mr. raskin is participating remotely, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for calling this important hearing. mr. fontes, you talk about the security measures maricopa county had to undertake during the 2020 election, including bringing in a swat team where you were counting ballots in order to prevent the possibility of violence or turmoil in the event that the armed protesters outside the building got in. can you explain how the security
situation and the threats he received affected your operations? >> the threats were not anticipated. they had a significant and severe impact on the staff. some impact included folks having to deal with circumstances beyond what happened at the time, the anxiety, it was difficult at some point, after the election once the threats and protests outside happened to make sure that election workers would come back. folks had to be escorted back and forth to their vehicles by armed guards of the judicial protective services and maricopa county sheriff's department. it is not a normal situation when fully armored swat teams have to be present. because that is what security officials recommend when folks are outside, armed with ar-15
and ak-47 style weapons, threatening to storm the building. that is the kind of stressful situations no civil servant, no election administrator should have to deal with. they came through. i have to say, i am incredibly grateful to the tens of thousands of people across the country, particularly my team at the maricopa county reporter's office they came through with flying colors under the worst situation. >> thank you for your service. you found it -- surveyed election workers nationwide that one in three election workers feels unsafe because of their job, and one in five say that their lives have been threatened in the context of their work. you spoke to a lot of elected officials, can you explain what is going on out there, are they afraid of the kind of violence they came to the house and
senate on january 6, or 140 of our police officers were wounded and injured and ended up in the hospital? >> i would say numerous election officials, from members of both parties, we spoke to republicans and democrats, the fear that they are feeling is very -- to the fear that i imagined was felt on january 6 during those events. the insurrection at the capital and january 6 was actually an attack on election officials, because the members of congress were doing their duty to cap electoral votes and they -- they resent them. >> what is the role social media has played in these threats against election officials?
>> who is that question directed to, mr. raskin. >> ms. ramachandran, i'm asking about social media -- >> thank you for the question. any of the election officials respect to said that absolutely, social media played a huge role in the extent of disinformation and the instigation. of threats. a minute and isn't misunderstanding posted on social media, -- whether it is a celebrity -- spread like wildfire. election officials spoke the truth on social media and add --
how elections really work. it is difficult for them to compete with celebrities and the president of the united states, they definitely need help in order to be able to communicate accurate information and combat disinformation. >> sticking with you, was the policy recommendations for protecting the security of election officials so they can do their job? >> we are recommending that congress provide funding for security protection and training. princeton's come up officials we spoke with said they received recommendations from the police to do things like set up a doorbell camera at home, but did not have the money in their budget to provide for that sort of thing. they need financial support from state and federal government would be beneficial. >> i yield back, madam chair.
>> the gentleman from georgia is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. enqueue for the hearings we've had regarding the elections. it would be nice to have some of these hearings before hr one ran its weight to the floor. that would have been very productive. i want to follow up on something mr. davis touched on and mr. coach nelly was touching on regarding the voting rights act of 1965. that was an important piece of legislation. it fell within the lines of what the courts in the constitution and our founders intended, the qualification of electors. in other words, who can vote? that is something within the federal purview. we were very clear that the times, places and manner it was to be interpreted literally. that was reserved for the states. the voting rights act of 1965, as my colleagues have cited was
about the electors who can vote. that is in the constitution, that is a federal issue. the rest is reserved to the states. something that mr. raskin brought up, the role social media has played in disinformation, maybe that could be some of the explanations why the current president of the united states spread false information about george's election law. i do think it is -- george's election law. i think i think it is imperative we follow election law, not just emotions. we've experienced what can happen when misinformation is spread on the internet, when the gunman walked on the baseball field and started shooting at us four years ago. i also appreciate the testimony of mr. owens, someone who has truly experienced what jim crow is and how bad that is and how unacceptable that is.
i'm concerned about how many on the others are dark quickly -- are quick to claim that any attempt is racist or appoints to jim crow era. that is asinine, it throws it into the face of many people of both parties who want to know that their vote is the one that counts, and those that should not be voting are not voting. are not allowed to vote. mr. coach nelly, i appreciate you being here, do you think the voter id requirements that many states have, and some have proposed represent a subversion of democracy, as some have suggested? >> that could hardly be farther from the case. but her identification is probably supported as a common sense measure of securing elections. you have seen a lot of states,
many of them that already have in person voter id, with the explosion in the covid-19 era of male based voting -- mail based voting, providing equal security for mail-in ballots. that is logical and reasonable to see this past you see such a massive growth in that form of voting. the whole idea, and the attack, baseless propaganda attack that voter id is racist or suppressive is false enough that many leaders literally threw it overboard when it became politically inexpedient, because of senator joe manchin's and th. i can't possibly imagine that all those folks would have set
only declared it not to be racist if they'd ever actually thought that in the first place. it tells me they did not think it in the first place. >> i think the poll numbers that came out may have influenced as well. in the previous hearing i asked the former attorney general a question of whether or not he supported voter id. he did shift from his written testimony where he said, yes, as long as there is no restriction on the type of id. which is basically saying, there is no validity to it. >> whipped -- realize that every state that requires voter identification offers it for free. the burden has been reduced enormous leak, and also keep in mind the folks that don't have any kind of identification would have an extremely hard time participating fully in our society as it operates today. this goes well beyond voting, it should be one of those things
that, as ordinary americans do, that we should all be able to agree on. >> the chair has been very generous, but i don't think she will give me time to go into another question. thank you, i appreciate you and your time with us. >> chairman yields back. >> thank you, madam chair, for convening this hearing on elections of virgins, a growing threat to the election. this is a necessary conversation we must have. they cue to the witnesses for your testimony today. it has been very valuable in this process. i'm not sure i'm pronouncing your name right, i'm sure i'm not pronouncing it right, but let me start with you. in your written testimony, and in the report, election officials under attack, you discuss how disinformation,
including the unprecedented lives of the stop the steal movement have directly impacted election officials. could you please talk with me just a little bit about the kind of disinformation we saw following the 2020 election about the accuracy of the election results, and how that lead to threats against election officials, such as ms. winfrey? >> thank you so much for that question. many of the election officials we spoke with talked about the fact that they started receiving numerous phone calls from member of -- members of the public with questions about how votes were counted, the types of machines that were used, that sort of thing, and how it took an emotional time toll on their staff. many times a phone call would take 15 to 20 minutes in the collar still would not be
convinced after all of that time, and it was an emotional toll because many times the colors were excusing election officials and the staff of them having committing some sort of widespread fraud. the truth is that election officials and their staff performed like heroes to ensure everyone could vote safely and securely, and that every eligible voters vote would be accurately counted. in many of the voicemails and threatening messages they received included accusations that the official had engaged in something that would have stolen the election. so between this information there were threats they were receiving. many election officials never experienced anything like this before in terms of the volume of calls. >> i have done a lot of research and i know you have done some as well.
let me ask you this. you mentioned some of the policy recommendations that you all have come up with. can you give me one or two other policy recommendations that you may not have mentioned earlier in your testimony? >> thank you so much for that opportunity. one of the recommendations, i did not going to detail about the private social media company. that is that they could use, if they had a list of the more than 8000 verified local election officials in the united states, they could use that registry to amplify the voices of those election officials for more accurate information so that they would have a chance against the flood of lies for more prominent people that tried to spread these things. >> let me go to the distinguished clerk from the great city of detroit. thank you very much for your testimony, first of all, in your
testimony you describe what i would call a horrific experience of having to defend the election they you oversaw, while battling covid-19 and being physically threatened. i'm sorry you had to go through all of that, and i think your reaction was very normal, as it would be for any other person in that situation. how have these threats of intimidation and the unfounded questioning of the validity of the elections process impacted your staff? you talked about the impact that it had on you and your family, let's talk about those hard-working men and women on your team. how has it impacted them physically, emotionally, and mentally? >> a number of my senior staff decided to take off work to do the fmla. so i lost about five members to fmla, and they did not come back until after the elections were
certified. one retired, but the overall climate is the department of elections is one of fear, almost. people are wanting to retire. those of us that came down with covid-19, a couple of two of my senior staff were hospitalized with it. this all happened after the election. we processed 1000 ballots a day. these are ballots that are processed in person during the covid. and yes, we had our protective gear on, but we all suffered with covid-19. >> that's what i suspected, thank you. please share with your employees that we appreciate their work regardless of their party affiliation. >> and we appreciate yours.
>> the gentleman's time has expired. >> thank you very much madame chairwoman. i appreciate you holding today's hearing. i think it's really, really important as we look at this that today, democrats are continuing to spread misinformation about election laws and republican-controlled states. their calling provisions restricted if it's from a republican state. well ignoring state laws from democrat states, particularly massachusetts, delaware, connecticut, why, partisan politics. democrats are trying to use this cover to justify a federal takeover of state election laws. i am going to continue to fight against a federal government takeover of state election laws. i think everybody watching this committee meeting hearing should be paying attention we are pointing out republican-controlled states in failing to identify or talk
about the democrat-controlled states that have the same laws in place. let me shift gears, if i can to you. i appreciate you being here today. as clerk, you are responsible for administering the 2020 general election, is that correct? >> that is correct. >> do you support voter identification for voters? >> i do. >> lisa park voter id in your jurisdiction? >> it's the law. >> and detroit did you receive grant funding and the center for tech and ct cl, the nonprofit organization funded by facebook's mark zuckerberg for the 2020 election? >> i did. >> what was the total amount of grants funded from the city received for the 2020 election cycle? >> about $8 million. what was the total amount of funds the city of detroit received from other nongovernmental sources?
>> i'm not sure about the other city, my budget is totally separate from the administration. >> were there others that came in from nonprofits outside of government entities in the city of detroit in addition to this? >> as it relates to the department of elections, we received 8 million, that's my budget. >> did you accept any personnel that were paid for by any nongovernment entity to assist or be involved with the conduct of the 2020 elections? >> we received support. >> did they report to you? >> no, they reported to ct cl, but they worked with us during the election process. >> did you apply or seek out any election administration funding of said money? >> yes. >> so you is at that out. i appreciate your testimony.
let me shift gears. you note in your testimony that the 1902 virginia constitution imposed barriers as poll taxes literary tests, and a civics test as hurdles to registration and voting disgusting practices in the past. does any state imposed such devised practices today? >> know, elements were employed up into the 1960's and the voting rights act wiped them out very quickly. and they have not been in use anywhere in the united states since very shortly after the voting rights act went into effect. >> would you say there is definitely always room for improvement. that the u.s. has made drastic strides from 1965 to 2021? >> the numbers show it. i put some of them -- i pulled the new york times graph from my statement. you can see the amount of increase in african-american
participation, which is particularly relevant in a state like virginia, where black citizens are a fifth of our state. that's a critical improvement, it's immeasurable all across the country. not every state is the same, but we have come a long, long way. wiping out those differences. >> i appreciate, let me keep rolling because i have limited time. i think you quite correctly note that many -- i guess we have been ignoring section two of the voting rights act, which outlawed many discriminatory voting practices referenced earlier by me, remain on the books. how should section two b employed? >> section two should be made permanent and should be used as it's written to root out actual discrimination, which was also addressed in this case recently. and it's still there to be used that way.
>> one final question for you, do you support voter identification for voters? >> photo identification and voter identification, yes. >> the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you to our nieces. last week the former republican secretary of state, ken bennett, was barred from his own audit. as i understand it, he is working with the state senate on that audit within the state of arizona as they continue to engage in actions on the false premise of misconduct airing the 2020 elections. the audit is focused on maricopa county, where you used to work. can you please explain how misinformation and disinformation campaigns that balloon into these ridiculous audits affect our nations election integrity efforts and the dangers of partisan audits being conducted by individuals
don't have any experience? >> thank you for the question. i think the first piece of this information and disinformation is calling what's happening in arizona and audit. it is nothing of the sort, and never has been and was never intended to be. i don't know any auditor who has any professional certification who will stand by what is happening with maricopa county's 2020 election. it's data and information and audit. misinformation and disinformation has moved a lot of normally reasonable people in arizona and across the country to question what is a normal exercise conducted by average citizens just like you and me and anybody else out there. for some reason, the misinformation and disinformation has raised so much mistrust and basic systems. systems that are run by, in many cases, the political parties themselves.
as an example, the mandatory hand count council mandated by state law in arizona, the county party chair's of the political parties are the ones who select the folks who perform the audit. they are the ones who oversee the audit and are essentially coached and processed only by the elections department after the election. so that hand count audit mandated by law is performed i partisans in order to maintain the integrity of what is happening in every county in arizona, not just maricopa county. that's just one example of how misunderstandings arise. another really important example is the allegations of sharpie gate, for example. in 2018 we had a different election system, we had different ballot styles, different ballot papers. machines that stabbed related ballots operated on a different architecture. there were different than what we had in 2020. that's why sharpies were not recommended in 2018, but were
recommended in 2020. i can get into the details. the reality is there are folks that want to subvert our democracy. there are folks that don't want every eligible u.s. citizens to vote. i don't count myself among them. there are folks out there who are afraid of the voice of america's voters. in order to advance their political agenda, they think it's better to have less voters voting. to have a diminished american voice. and i think that's wrong. that's why i'm partially here. particularly though, to help election officials at the local, municipals, and state levels stay safe. that's one of the critical components we have seen. misinformation leads to rats of violence in that problem, and i appreciate that. >> the brennan center for justice and the bipartisan policy report on election officials under attack claims that state legislators are
introducing bills that impose criminal penalties on election officials and workers, including penalties that can strip power away from local officials. even if states counter these actions by enacting new laws to ensure greater protections of election officials, do you think federal policy is necessary to prevent attacks against public servants, and if so, why? >> thank you for that question, i do believe that even though currently elections are administered largely at the local level in the united states, those local election officials are the guardians of our federal democracy and federal election. i do think congress has a role to play in protecting those election officials to ensure that the elections they and minister are administered without interference or coercion. >> according to the democracy fund, almost 35% of election officials are set to retire before the next presidential
election, representing more than 50% of local election officials and the largest jurisdictions. should communities of color, predominately black and hispanic communities be concerned that the pipeline of local professionals could change from capable and trustworthy individuals, including making election decisions that have impacts on communities? >> yes. question elements time has expired, gentlelady from pennsylvania's time is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. over the past several years disinformation about american elections has spread like a disease across the country, which was once foreign adversaries seeking to undermine our elections, election disinformation is homegrown, created and stoked by political leaders, members of congress and the former president, and amplified by the echo chambers of our foreign enemies by spreading the lie of widespread election fraud with a particular focus on cities in black and
brown communities. these domestic enemies of democracies use their position of leadership to spread conspiracy theories about demonstrably false threats to election security. in order to justify actions to undermine actual election security, whether through fraudulent audits or new laws that make it harder to grow and easier to steal elections. the refusal of this party to contradict the former president lies about the accuracy of the 2020 election has had disastrous consequences. in addition to a violent attack upon the capital, a campaign led by the former president and his allies has caused widespread and persistent intimidation and threats against election officials, including death threats being made against officials from a political, local civil servants, up to the vice president and members of the u.s. congress. as we sought to certify the electoral college vote. infant -- in pennsylvania, every county has a bipartisan board of
elections, but national actors, including the former president and members of this committee, made false allegations about the integrity of the election procedures and only the democratic led counties in pennsylvania. in my district, a republican election commissioner for the city of philadelphia was named to the former president when he tweeted that the commissioner was a so-called rhino, being used big-time by fake news media. he refuses to look at a mountain of corruption and dishonesty, we win. this tweet and attacks from the trump campaign surrogates that followed resulted in anti-semitic, intimidating threats against the commissioner and explicit death threats against his children. threats that mention their names and ages. elsewhere in my district, the individual members of the bipartisan volunteer delaware county election board were sued dozens of times and cases that sought to overdo the results of the election and to find those officials for faithfully
executing their duties. in each case, those cases were dismissed as being without merit, but they nevertheless required the substantial government funds and personal time to defend them. so though at times to overturn the 2020 election failed, the harm has been real. i introduced legislation to make it a federal crime to intimidate or harass an election official for performing their duties. and the representative has introduced expanded legislation to protect our election workers. i am proud to cosponsor this. it is imperative that our elected leaders recognize that their words matter. that they will spread disinformation about the election and day, like the former president should not be reelected. i would like to thank both of you for your work as election officials under the extraordinary public health and political challenges of the past couple of years. in normal times these jobs are intensive and stressful, but your work has been essential.
i would like to ask each of you to address what do you think congress should do to aid in protecting you from continued threats and violence, and enable you to do your work? >> thank you for that question. the critical component here, i think congress can recognize that there is a difference between what we do as election demonstrators and what other people do. of course all of the work of government is important, the election administration is the golden thread that holds the fabric of america together, and it is a bipartisan effort. without the current legislation, we will continue to see the threats and intimidation and violence rise. to directly answer, you can help by passing the bill on the table. >> i agree this same thing. we need laws to protect us. we are simply doing our jobs. i am nonpartisan in my job.
as such, me and my staff shouldn't be threatened. we shouldn't do the job fearfully. all we want are clear, clean, fair elections. >> and i don't see the clock. 12 seconds. ok, i will end by asking unanimous consent to enter three articles in the record, two articles detailing threats and intimidation by the philadelphia election and the third article from the new york times dated july 2, 2021 entitled, after a nightmare year, election officials are quitting. and i yelled back. >> those will be entered into the record in the gentlelady from new mexico is now recognized. >> today we are holding this hearing to talk about the big lie by trump in his allies that the presidential election was stolen has led to threats of violence, and here at this capital, actual violence.
i am incredibly disappointed that our republican colleagues have not addressed the violence in the threats itself, which is what this committee hearing is about today. they have not listened to your testimony, and the difficulties that you have faced, that your families have faced, and that your colleagues have faced, and those we supervise. that is a difficulty that i apologize that this entire committee has not focused on as equally as others. so, i wanted to ask a little bit about the connection that you see, and how you experience the connection between what we sell here on january 6 -- what we saw here on january 6, and what the nation heard and testimony from the police officer who faced torture, violence, pain, and
asked congress to do something about it. i would like you to talk about how you see that connection with what you yourself are facing. >> thank you for that. if i could, this isn't just about me or clerk winfrey, this is about all election officials across the country, we are a unified ban of our partisan brothers and sisters and cousins and onset and uncles. we certainly do share our experiences, and i think i am joined by sony people across the country looking in horror at what happened here on january 6, but also what could have been just after the election in november of 2020. we had armed rioters in maricopa county. we had alex jones in the queue shaman arm in arm shouting my
name and shouting for other election officials in the parking lot, and their compatriots armed with some pretty heavy duty firearms. and i know, because i was a range coach and marksmanship instructor in the marine corps. i know what kind of damage those weapons can do. that was certainly no civil act of protest. that was not a grievance. the presence of those weapons in this environment was a threat. in that was very difficult. it was a step away from what happened here. and i hope and pray that everyone will pay attention to this, because the republic depends on folks like us who work in a bipartisan way, who work republicans and democrats, everybody works together to do this across the country. and it needs to end. the motivation behind these threats is the lie. that needs to end. reasonable people have to come
together in the united states of america to say enough is enough, and folks like us who just want to do our jobs, just did our jobs, need to stand up and say the same thing. and i think clerk winfrey would agree most me -- agree with me on that. >> i do. what we are going through is very much the same as what happened here. except for they are coming to our homes and they are making us very uncomfortable. some of my colleagues have been shot at simply because of what we do. all of us have been threatened. and because we are trying to represent our community. if it weren't for the work of local election officials, none of you would be here in this room. we just want to uphold democracy. we just want to ensure that everyone votes. it is unfair, it's unfair that
we are attacked for doing our job. i feel afraid. i feel afraid. i know that i'm going to get some kind of repercussion from just sitting here today. but i decided to do it because i believe in the right to vote. i believe that every eligible elector should be allowed to vote, easily and fairly. >> thank you. what you are doing today and what you doing your work and what your colleagues do, that is true patriotism. those who attack it or would limit it, that is truly un-american and we must call it for what it is, it is un-american. i see my time is coming to an end. madam chair, i would like to submit for the record a special report. the trump inspired death threats are terrorizing election workers. in similar to the brennan center
report, documents, just incidents after incidents of violence threatened against those who carry on and uphold our democracy on a day-to-day basis. >> without objection, those items will be put into the record. i now recognize myself for a few minutes of questions. first, let me think all of the witnesses for their testimony that they have provided. it's important to inform this committee and the american public for what we as a country are facing. i heard from both of you, local elected officials about the threats of violence related to simply counting the ballots. i wonder, you alluded to the
concern in the parking lot. can you describe -- give us a picture -- draw us a picture for what was around maricopa county's county site? >> the front parking lot, if you will, of the warehouse is framed by 3rd avenue and lincoln in downtown phoenix, arizona. the parking lot is framed on the north and the west by what's almost a two-story building. in the west it's a two-story building, but off the ground building on the north side. in the parking lot itself, we made sure in working with security officials that the folks who wanted to come out and share their grievances, like the first amendment says, petition their government for that redress, had space enough to have their voices heard. he did not put a security fence up after some incidences where folks had literally forced their
way into the lobby. we tried to keep it as open as possible. we tried to be as transparent and open as possible with the media and members of the public. >> can i follow up with the question, because i was in local government for 14 years. we ran the election. we had to register our voters. we never had a situation where people came and demonstrated while the votes were being counted. you vote, you have elections, that never happened. demonstrations about counting the vote. is that being fueled, in your judgment, by the big lie? >> we have never had a sitting president in the united states of america say, if i lose it's because there was fraud. we've never had a group of politicians willing to carry on with that kind of psycho fancy, with that kind of irresponsible deterioration of the confidence
of the american people should hold in our most fundamental institutions. we've never been here as a republic. and we can see now how fragile this democracy, this experiment in democracy really is. and it is disappointing that we have gone to the point where folks like my former staff and folks like their future staff, election officials across the country who just want to do their jobs. they just want to be the folks who get that work done, because they know how important it is. we all know how important it is. none of you would be here if it wasn't for local election officials. we have never been here because we've never had a significant group of elected officials in this country irresponsible enough to render us under the confidence that we have in our election systems. it is a horrible new place that
we find ourselves in and we have to end it. >> in your judgment, just that threaten the future viability of our democratic republic? >> we were a few minutes away from not carrying through with our constitutional duties, which was up until this year, a normal everyday regular process. we are in dangerous new territory, in my view. and unfortunately we have to fight to get back to where we ought to be. >> clerk winfrey, prior to 2020, did you ever have demonstrations while the votes were being counted in detroit? >> yes. not to the level that we had in 2020, but yes, we would have challengers. republican and democratic challengers in the center, and
sometimes they would bump heads. but not to the level where they were banging on the walls and yelling stop the vote. we never had it like this. we never had to have police officers and armed officers in the room with us as we tabulated votes. >> i want to thank you for speaking out, both of you, and to all the witnesses, but especially the local elected officials, you will be going home, and hopefully he will be safe when you go home. but we do thank you for your testimony, as well as the other witnesses. i will just note that, yesterday , three members of this committee that also serve on this select committee investigating the insurrection, and we heard very difficult testimonies from really, for amazing police officers who laid
their bodies on the line to protect the members of this committee, the staff, everybody in this building. for more than anything else, to protect democracy. and we came alarmingly close to the insurrectionists and being successful. and today, we are hearing from election officials about violence directed to them about simply counting the votes. it was interesting to hear your comment about a boring process. it used to be boring. i can remember times when i did not come back for the electoral college counting because there is nothing to do. you just watch them be counted and that is that. similarly, counting the ballots. it was something that the clerks did, and we thanked them for it,
but it was not a high-profile item, it was just the work that had to be done. we are witnessing a distortion of democratic processes here. that i think is a serious threat to our country. i think your testimony has further enlightened us, and i hope that as we move forward, all of us, no matter what our party, we will take this threat seriously. because it's not about what party you are in, it's about being an american. so i think you all. the members of the committee may have additional questions for the witnesses. so we will ask you to respond to those questions in writing. the record will be held open for those responses. again, thank you to all of our witnesses without objection, the committee stands adjourned.
>> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. funded by these television companies and more. including broadband. >> buckeye broadband support c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers. giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> here's what's coming up on thursday on c-span at 10:00 a.m. eastern.
the house continues work on 2020 two spending bills. on the agenda, legislation to fund labor, health and human services, education, energy, and the treasury department, along with other federal agencies. on c-span2 at 10:30, the senate continues work on bipartisan infrastructure spending legislation. homeland security secretary a la hydro mayorkas testified before the senate about the president's 2022 budget request. michigan senator gary peters chaired the hearing. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]