tv Hearing on Voting Rights in Texas CSPAN July 30, 2021 3:22am-6:13am EDT
>> we are here today to talk about the voting bills that are currently pending in the texas legislature and how those are related to other voter suppression proposals in states across the country. specifically, targeting voters of color. we are lucky to have texas legislators joining us on the front line. i want to make sure we have the opportunity to hear from texas voters. let's take a moment to listen to some public testimony given earlier this year. >> i am here representing grassroots and asians that educate texans to vote and create a legislature that
reflects the diversity of texas. banning drive through voting and options for late night voting our ulcer -- also voter suppression. i think of my 70-year-old mother not being able to use any of these options. it ensures it is important to have in the state. >> i am a contractor and i am here to ask you all to oppose hb three. i wanted to share a personal experience in the 2020 general election. i voted at midnight in a 24 hour pulling location. i cannot understand why the bill seeks to restrict this.
i could not tell you one thing that was different about voting at midnight versus the day other than the color of the sky. i decided to start up a conversation and that is when it struck me how important it is. voting accessibility is essential to our democracy. in due burdens that this bill seeks to place in we the people and specifically people of color means lawmakers are deliberately trying to keep this democracy from working for all of us. elections are sacred. my right to vote is very sacred. for me to be able to vote, at 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. and to exercise that right, for me, that time is very sacred.
>> that is a representative sample of hundreds of voters who have spoken up against the legislation in texas. it is up to us to listen to cries for help and to take action on comprehensive voting rights legislation. i will recognize myself for an opening statement, and then go to my friend for his opening state. i want to thank our witnesses for being with us on the occasion of this truly historic hearing. we appreciate you being here, helping to educate congress and the country about what is going on in texas. i want to take a moment, i don't think it is inappropriate to mark the passing of a great voting rights hero. bob moses, who died on sunday. he was a graduate student in
mathematics and philosophy at harvard in 1960. when he opened up the newspaper and he saw pictures of students sitting in from north carolina at&t at lunch counters. he said those students look the way that i feel. he knew he had to go down south to participate in the civil rights movement. the struggle for people to be in a plane of equality. when he got down to mississippi, he knew he was going to be involved in a movement to desegregate lunch counters. he said, we don't need people sitting in on restaurants and lunch counters. when you look around, what do you see? he said, i see beautiful terrain and trees.
this is a congressional district that is two thirds african-american. and less than 1% of the lack people down here are registered to vote. because of the grandfather clauses. the local democratic party, a racist party structure, has excluded african-americans from voting. that is what launched bob moses in his crusade. with the student nonviolent coordinating committee to desegregate mississippi and alabama. it was that struggle that gave us the phrase, one person, one vote. of course, the nonviolent coordinating committee organized people to register at great personal risk. bob moses was nearly killed several times. many were killed during the
freedom summer. bob moses never gave up the struggle for voting rights. saying the right to know mathematics is also a fundamental civil right. i wanted to start on a bipartisan note. this will for the right to vote has been a struggle against multiple parties in our history. nobody has clean hands when you look at it historically. the question is whether we are willing to commit ourselves to a struggle that extends the right to vote for everyone. it is not a partisan question, it is a question about small d democracy for everyone. legislators in texas unveiled
perhaps the most aggressive proposals to restrict voting. dramatic restrictions on mail and voting. increased criminal liability for people who helped their family or friends to vote or bring their ballots to the mailbox. astringent voter id requirements -- astringent voter id requirements and criminalization of what goes on in the wing place. -- polling place. additional limits on how election officials encourage voters to participate. it has made a crime to encourage people to vote. i think, if i am reading this correctly, they make it a i'm to encourage people to vote. i don't see how make it a crime to encourage people to vote.
in texas right now. cannot actually be a crime? -- can that actually be a crime? there was even i think in the first draft an effort to restrict early voting hours on sunday. a clear attempt at least it was -- as it was read in texas to undercut black churches. all of this is taking place despite zero evidence of mass voter fraud in texas. lots of the indications of integrity of the ballot. those are code words that go back centuries now. some people see impurity of the ballot when they see people they don't like voting. we want to get to the bottom of that. is there widespread voter fraud
in texas? or something else going on? one thing i read about was a texas legislator introduced a bill calling for a forensic audit of the 2020 results, but only in large counties won by president biden. y asked why he had not included all counties, he said vote, what is the white? all the small counties are red -- what is the point? all the small counties are red. how can that be consistent with our bipartisan -- nonpartisan. how about just a nonpartisan commitment for everyone to have the right to vote unimpeded without jumping through all these hoops? state representatives organized a walkout in may to deny republicans a quorum at the end
of their session, preventing passage of the voting bill that would strip access to the ballot. governor abbott convened a special session to pass this sweeping overhaul. this time, coming here, petitioning the u.s. congress for a redress of events is -- grievances. protecting their voting rights. they have done this at great personal cost. great personal risk. leaving their families behind i for one, salute them, their courage being here. blocking a quorum is not a permanent solution to the problem of efforts to disenfranchise people and suppress the vote in america. they are here to ask us to act as we must pass the for the people act and the john lewis
voting rights act. the cost of inaction will be devastating for our democracy. the voting restrictions in texas will strike at the heart of democracy in that great s tae. restrictions may intentionally restrict access. because they need a ride to the polls. could have devastating consequences, especially in the latino community. you cannot out organize a law that criminalizes you for trying to help your grandmother vote. . limits in what officials can do will also leave minority voters vulnerable. leaked video showed gop texas officials aim to organize election brigades to monitor
communities of color in human. imagine how many brigades there will be ones pull workers have a one time get out of jail free card for voter intimidation. there is a remarkable provision which says a partisan poll worker cannot be removed from the polls until they have already been warned once for violating the law. finally, this bill prohibits reforms that were successfully implanted last year by harris county such as drive-thru voting and 24 hour voting that were mainly utilized i african-american and latino voters. the texas civil rights project estimates half of all ballots cast using those methods were cast by voters of color.
this pursuit of a massive draconian crackdown on voting is now a national crisis. 18 states have enacted 30 laws restricting voting rights so far this year. more are on the way. congress has to act. we have a responsibility to guarantee the people of the united states a republican form of government. that is not a r republican, a small r. they can choose republicans or democrats are libertarians or whatever else. the point is the people get to decide. we don't get to micromanage and gerrymander the electorate. we have to fight back against this new campaign for voter suppression. sparked by the big lie, the same big lie which brought chaos and
violence down on this institution and this capitol six months ago. for anyone who has not watched our police officers described what happened, i this speech you to do so. i bake you to go and watch what they went through. they were assaulted with baseball bats, steel pipes, flagpoles, bear spray mace, defending our democracy. all of that took place to so-called stop the steal in the name of the big lie, which is president biden did not actually defeat donald trump by more than 7 million votes. this wave of legislation grows out of that same poisonous soil. the future of democracy is in our hands. i offer my friend, mr. sessions,
the time to make his opening statement. mr. sessions: i would like to ask unanimous consent to this is a hearing about texas, i would like to have unanimous consent to have greg abbott's order entered into the record. the work of the state of texas is very important. the people of the state of texas have duly qualified and elected individuals who represent them. it has become a common effort that people, when they know they do not have the votes to lead, to walk out, to not participate. i know here in washington dc, we do not have the votes to win any
single vote, so to speak. none. but republicans do not walk out read we do not go and accuse people of things just because we are losing. i would suggest to you what is happening today, in texas, is the rights of all texans are being withheld because members of the democratic party, members of the statehouse choose not to be a part of it. the question is, what is some of this that is being withheld. one of this is the election integrity bill. we'll talk about that election integrity bill in detail. i think that anyone that is listening to this will recognize that the strength of any majority or member of that body to bring forth a bill that they believe would be important is important whether it's complete or not. that process would involve each of the members who would be here to offer amendments to that to change it.
but members are still allowed to represent their particular constituents with what they do. second, border security. as a result of president biden's decision on january 20 to literally tell federal law enforcement officers that they will not enforce the laws, the border laws, the immigration laws, and the commonsense laws this country has placed a tremendous burden and it is an emergency in texas. over one million illegal immigrants from entered the -- have entered the united states. record numbers of drugs are coming in the united states. and essentially these federal officers that were there to protect the united states of america, not just our sovereignty but to protect people who might live in my
hometown of waco, texas, from drug cartels that are sending record levels of fentanyl, cocaine, and meth. to our american cities and homes. third, family violence education is now not moving forward in texas. this is based upon their ability to provide appropriate and more education to middle and high school students about dating violence, domestic violence, and child abuse. to recognize that what is happening in this country is we have a crisis in our homes. one can say because of covid. i say because of the changing times. we need to use our schools to educate our students about these circumstances. number three, youth sports. there is going to be a bill that disallows a student from
competing in athletic competitions designed for students of the opposite sex. we believe, i believe it's fair to have the debate. and a vote. and to see the different ideas that come forth about that opportunity where people of one sex would compete against another sex, person of that sex that i believe is unfair to women. i think it's an anti-women circumstance that we are involved in. i had children. i competed when i was in high school. it's unfair to have a 17-year-old boy compete against a 17-year-old girl in most sports. 13 check is legislation the house has before it to give teachers a 13th check during the year. allowing teachers a chance to have not only more supplemental
payments and benefits, but to allow them at a time when more money is available and the teacher retirement system, but it requires the legislature to act. property tax relief, the proposal is to allow the legislature to provide appropriation from the general fund to give property tax relief to all texans. these are important issues that need to be done. the business of the people of the state of texas. today in essence we are allowing and coddling people who should be at work in the state of texas, their constitutional duties. yet we are treating them as hometown heroes in washington, d.c. i believe they need to have their constitutional duties performed and be back home. now, mr. chairman, texas has been a pioneer in passing early voting laws that began in 1988
in texas. but i would say to you that texas has used every two years for the legislature to be able to strengthen these laws and to provide feedback and to allow texans the opportunity to vote. i would note that texas allows 17 days more of early voting than delaware, which is where our president is from. texas allows each texan 17 days more than the state of delaware. these bills that we'll be talking about today keep the ability for disabled or elderly persons to vote curb side. that's important to me. i have a disabled son. perhaps my son may or may not want to go inside. he can stay outside and it allows that. we need to also remember that these discussions, our
discussions opened to amendment. these bills would make sure that voters have a right to cure their absentee ballots of mistakes. and they are given in these bills up to six days after the election to be able to cure a mistake if you had one. this is a far cry from democrats' claim that the vote is being suppressed. it actually allows them an opportunity to figure out if they had done something wrong. that is common in both the senate and the house bills. transparency is necessary in elections. this bill guarantees elections observers of any -- free from any political persuasion. we heard our chairman today lament that partisan poll
workers would be discouraged. let me repeat, he believes, evidently, that partisan poll workers should be involved in that process. we disagree in texas. we think anyone that comes to vote should be free of partisan poll workers engaged in an election site. we believe that texas democrats understand these bills because many of the people, several of the people here today, sought amendment to those amendments and they were accepted in the bills and the process that is have gone on. one member has been a member of the legislature for a number of years and no doubt knows that the laws of texas that are updated every two years are done in the best interest of all texans.
but rather than continuing the debate, they broke quorum and they are trying to paralyze this progress that would be made on behalf of all texans. mr. chairman, i hope today that the testimony that we are going to offer today from a state representative clarity in particular will allow those elected representatives who are republicans in texas a chance to set the record straight about not only what is in these bills, but the need to make sure that texas works together and passes these laws for the benefit of all texans. i yield back my time. chair raskin: thank you so much. we have two other opening statements. the chair of the committee on oversight and reform, mrs. maloney. she's now recognized for her opening statement. mrs. maloney: thank you, chairman raskin, for convening today's urgent and vital hearing. i want to thank you for your leadership on this issue and
your enduring commitment to the legacy of our late chairman, elijah cummings, late colleague, representative john lewis. who both fought tirelessly to protect americans' right to vote. this is a historic hearing. not just because of our distinguished witnesses, but because of the brave actions they took to defend the rights of texans against one of the most aggressive attempts at voter suppression we have seen anywhere in the country. now more than ever we must follow their example to ensure that these shameful attacks on the right to vote do not succeed. we must fight to fulfill the american promise that voters choose their elected representatives rather than politicians picking their own voters. when it comes to restricting the right to vote, our nation has an ugly past. historical voter suppression measures included threats of lynching, poll taxes, and literacy tests.
today texas remains the hardest state in the entire country for americans to vote. texans have repeatedly refused to implement reforms that would support greater voter engagement. in 2013, the supreme court's decision in shelby county vs. holder blocked the department of justice from overseeing elections in places that historically discouraged and suppressed the votes of black, latino, and other communities of color. since that decision, texas has removed its voter suppression with a vengeance. it has closed 750 polling sites, including 452 polling sites in counties with the largest increases in black, latina voters and more than any other state in the union. now texas republicans are trying to add new restrictions to voting. let's be clear about these
bills, what they are, and what they are not. these bills are not an effort to make voting in texas more secure. these bills are part of a racist right to vote. these bills takes power and choice away from the people of texas and let the politicians decide who their voters are. simply put, these bills are an attack on voters and on the rights guaranteed by the constitution. but there is a solution. congress must act. congress must pass the for the people act which would end institutional barriers to voting and ensure all eligible voters can register and cast their ballot. congress also must pass the john lewis voting rights act to restore and strengthen the landmark voting rights act. we must seize this moment to restore the vision of america as a nation of rights where
government derives its power from the people not the other way around. to our other witnesses, thank you for being here today. >> before i recognize mr. komar, i'm going to ask unanimous consent for waving on questions only. without objection, we will waive them on. i now get to recognize the ranking member of the oversight committee mr.,. mr. comer: the hearing title claims there is an assault on voting in texas, which would be troubling if it were true, but it isn't. the hearing title implies a big
lie. their bill would federalize elections across the country, funnel taxpayer money, and it would prevent commonsense and popular integrity measures such as voter i.d. once again, democrats are engaging in spectacle over substance while conducting no real oversight. there are multiple ongoing crises that is going on due to biden's border, crime crises. we wanted a hearing on the border crisis, including the migrant children being put in crowded spaces during the middle of a pandemic. the democrats have not had any hearing nor called for an investigation on the gross mismanagement at the southern
border. we heard about waste, fraud, abuse in the federal government. our committee's core mission. but democrats have ignored these requests. because federal bureaucrats have not returned to the workplace, veterans have waited for almost a year, a year for their records from the national archives and records administration. this massive backlog is delaying the benefits to which they're entitled. yet, no hearings from this committee. hundreds of billions in pandemic unemployment relief have been stolen by international crime organizations. again, there's been no hearing to understand how u.s. taxpayer dollars were so badly managed or the damage it caused to our national security. no wonder the democrats on this committee received an f, an f in
congressional oversight by the lugar center. americans deserve better. instead of conducting real oversight, democrats are holding a hearing to celebrate their theatrical exit of over 50 texas democrat legislators from their state to debate on legislation they simply don't like. they paralyzed the texas house which cannot proceed to voting rights for texans, including voting integrity measures. during their superspreader stunt, democrats flew to d.c. in two private charter jets, stayed in downtown hotels, met with the vice president, the speaker, and other congressional leaders. they spread covid-19 all over d.c. and made sure to share their vacation experience all over social media to fundraise for their campaign and expenses. unfortunately, this stunt likely pushed d.c. into the substantial spread zone and we know what that will mean for our children. no in-person school. in these democrats actually cared about voting rights, they would care about the right of texans to have their voice heard through their duly elected representatives. it prevented the legislature on debating on important measures during the special session.
it hurt all voters throughout texas. the texas bills has commonsense voting integrity measures, such as extending a simple voter i.d. requirement to absentee ballots and standardizing and expanding early voting access. unfortunately, because texas democrats fled their state for washington, that process cannot proceed as designed. i hope our committee will see the light in this partisan charade and start conducting real oversight. the american people are counting on us to safeguard their government from waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement. that's the reason this committee exists. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. mr. raskin: thank you very much, mr. comer, for your opening statement.
and i do want to remind the committee members we're operating under the rules and guidance of the capitol physician, which is, please have your masks on when you're not speaking. thank you, mr. comer, for demonstrating good public health manners there. and members will not be recognized if they're not wearing their masks when they're not speaking. it's now my great privilege and honor to introduce our witnesses today. our first witness is the honorable senfronia thompson, texas state representative and member of the select committee on constitutional rights and remedies of the texas legislature. we'll hear from nina perales, at the mexican defense and legal education fund. next we'll hear from nicole collier, texas state representative and part of the texas black caucus. and we'll hear from travis clardy, who is a representative in the texas legislature and diego bernal, member of the
mexican american legislative conference. the witnesses will please rise, be unmuted, be so we can swear them all in wherever you are, please raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give us is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god. >> i do. >> i do. mr. raskin: let the record demonstrate all witnesses answered in the affirmative. representative thompson, you are now recognized for your testimony. before you begin, i want to recognize, also, the presence of our distinguished colleague from texas, mrs. lizzie fletcher from houston. representative thompson, you're recognized. ms. thompson: thank you, chairman raskin and ranking member sessions. we're honored to see our representative from texas. pete sessions, good to see you. we had an opportunity to check with one for a moment. we're happy to see the new freshman, colleague up here. pat. we miss him in texas. we know he's doing a good job up there. mr. chairman, i was sitting there listening to the comments,
opening statements that were made. i had to take a step back and kind of look at the history that i have been able to perceive in texas. it's very difficult to look at the history of a progress that maybe african-americans may have made in this country without looking back at the struggles that we have gone through and the struggles that we keep going through. i can understand the position of some of the persons who spoke earlier because they have been part of the privileged society that i have never been a part of. what i have been concerned about listening to them is that inability to be able to stand in other people's shoes and recognize that the rights that they take for granted to vote in this country. even though we are americans we don't share those same rights.
i just want to digress for a moment, if i can. i'm in my 25th session of the legislature and i have been privileged to represent persons in my district and one of the members said, well, you shouldn't be here. you should be back in texas doing this and doing that and those sort of things and i listened carefully. i'm here because this is the seat of democracy and my people who i represent has a right to be able to vote unabridged, just like all of you. you may not want to recognize
it, but we're supposed to have those rights. that's why i'm here. i'm here fighting for them. and i have the right to fight for them. and someday i'm hoping i don't have to keep fighting despite my grandchildren and my grandchildren's children will not have to keep repeating these struggles. i was born in texas, and i can tell you just from my testimony as a child, my grandmother used to work and earned $2 a week working for the privilege. and out of those $2 a week, she used to save pennies and nickels to be able to buy a poll tax. the poll tax, as you know, was created to give people an opportunity to invest in public education support. but if you were white, the
grandfather clause took care of you. you didn't have to pay the poll taxes. but my grandmother was african-american and she had to pay those poll taxes and to pay $1.25, it was difficult to save money. my grandfather couldn't afford to buy poll taxes because they both couldn't buy poll taxes. it was too costly. she had to ride a bus to get to the poll tax, a place for colored people to go and vote. transportation was certainly not accessible as it is today. i can tell you, when i first voted 60-some years ago, i had to buy a poll tax.
and they did not exempt me as they did others. and texas has had a poll tax, and we did not get rid of our poll tax until 1966 even though the law had been passed. i would not vote. my grandmother could not vote in the primary, chairman raskin. and you want to know why. because she was black. and primaries was for white only. it was not until smith vs. allred, a case won by thurgood marshall that had african-americans a right to say in their primary democracy. we're not talking about something that you go to the store and use for a little while and toss aside because you've gotten tired of it.
we're talking about something that makes and breaks this country when we're talking about the democracy to vote. you damn right i left texas and i'm glad i did. you know why, pete? i left texas to give my people the right to vote without them being infringed upon. i had a chance to vote during 2010 and 2012 when poll watchers came to my precinct where i vote personally. let me tell you the chilling effect of that. they had people, chairman raskin, that looked like they were from the proud boys, looking at you like you were in the wrong place. in a minority area, that has a chilling effect. that chilling effect is the pressure of voting. i don't know what you call
intimidation. intimidation by any other name is still intimidation. it's intimidating, and the word gets out that these people are at your polls looking at you like they want to arrest you. keep you from voting. and people, as a result of that, do not go and cast their vote. i am the voice of my constituents, and if i had to walk to washington, d.c., to get here to fight for my constituents, i will use any means necessary to get my point over. i will meet with anyone they allowed me to talk to about preserving and protecting the rights of my constituents to be able to have a say in their democracy. the governor's own secretary of state said this. the 2020 elections was the most transparent and secure elections. i see she's not there anymore, but that was his secretary of secretary of state. mr. raskin: thank you very much for your testimony, representative thompson. i look forward to our
questioning. before i go to representative collier, i want to recognize the arrival of representative marc veasey who is from texas. welcome. representative collier, you're recognized for your five minutes. ms. collier: thank you, chair raskin, and members of the committee. it's an honor to be here before you to provide information and to share our story about what brought us
here to washington, d.c. my name is nicole collier. i'm currently elected to serve house district 95 for the last five legislative sessions. i currently am also elected to chair the texas legislative black caucus which was founded in 1973 with eight members. today we have 19 members.
we are a bipartisan, bicameral organization with the goal in mind of addressing the issues affecting african-americans. i want to go back to some of the things that were talked about. some of you may be asking, you know, why did we ring the alarm? why are we raising the concern about what's going on in texas? well,
it's not just happening in texas. it's happening across our country. we have seen a concerted effort in various states to pass legislation that would limit access to the ballot. it would not expand access. it would reduce access. what is happening in texas is no
different. you heard about the republican appointed secretary of state who said that the 2020 elections were smooth and secure. and yet, we still found ourselves facing legisono address the elections. i want to also point out some of the things that -- i want to respond to some of the things that were mentioned. of course, there are some other legislation that was put on the call from the governor. one of them being critical race theory, which would whitewash
the systemic racism that has happened in our country. also is limiting access to legal abortion. that is also on the call. and i would remind everyone that the 13th check, our retired teachers have not had a cost of living raise in years. and the democrats have always advocated for additional funding for our teachers, including the 13th check. in fact, that same bill passed through the democratic committee quickly and died in the republican-controlled calendars committee so we stood for our teachers all along. another thing that i want to remind you is that there was mention of the walkout of the quorum. that's a procedural method just like the filibuster is in the senate. if they don't like a procedure, a policy that's being presented in the senate, they filibuster. that is just part of the rules. that is what we have come to see. what happened in texas was that
we tried to work with our colleagues. we provided amendments. miss t, representative thompson, sat through 400 hours of testimony. 65 for it. all of the amendments that were presented by our democratic colleagues were declined on party line. in fact, there was a vote immediately following the hearing to pass this bill. so there was no interest. there was no even attempt to work and compromise and collaborate with our colleagues on this. our backs were against the wall. there was no more discussion. we saw the writing on the wall just like it was during the regular session. i was on the conference committee for senate bill 7 during the regular session and
it's no different than what we saw in this special session. the bills that were filed would do more harm than good. they would limit access to the polls. you talk about -- i heard people say that we are opposed to voter i.d. let me tell you, texas has been found to violate the voting rights act of 1965 every decade since its passage. we cannot outmobilize racist gerrymandering. and when you talk about having somebody represent the interest of the people, it only reflects the racist gerrymandering that has been taking place in texas. so we don't have people that represent the communities that they represent. we need to make sure that we have communities -- they have to have the ability to represent -- to elect a candidate of their choice. someone that represents their values. and we're not doing that in texas.
i just want to talk about one of the provisions in the bill. miss t, forgive me, say, for instance, she registered to vote 20 years ago. there is a provision in this bill that would require someone that's eligible to vote by mail to insert their last four digits of their driver's license or social security number or say they don't have one. miss t may have registered 20 years ago. she may not remember which one she provided when she originally provided to vote. if she put down the other number, even though it's the correct one, her ballot would be rejected. and there's no sheer opportunity within this bill to cure her ballot. she would not even know that her ballot would have been rejected. that's just one instance. and i welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation to provide additional information about why we founded -- sounded alarm. mr. raskin: thank you, representative collier. sorry. senator sessions: mr. chairman, i would -- mr. sessions: mr. chairman, i would ask that you remind the witnesses they have taken an oath to tell the truth. subject to that, texas had a cola in 2013 for teachers. the gentlewoman has led us to believe there were no colas that were given, no updates.
that is, mr. chairman, that is a direct lie before this committee. it's not truthful. mr. raskin: without entering into the merits of that -- mr. sessions: we need to because there is no need to give your opening oath. >> mr. chairman, sorry, i don't know what the procedure is. that goes directly to her character. she should be able to respond to that. mr. raskin: i want to continue with the witnesses. obviously, there is some factual difference and point of view about a teacher cola. i am not sure how apt it is to our hearing. we'll clarify that. i'm sure there is no ill intent. mr. sessions: it was part of her testimony and it was meant to mislead this committee. mr. raskin: ok. i'm sure there will be a clarification if there was any misstatement there. why don't we go ahead and recognize representative clardy who is now recognized for five minutes for his testimony. mr. clardy: thank you, chairman raskin and ranking member sessions and members of the committee for the opportunity to speak about election integrity in texas. for the record, my name is travis card and proud to
represent house district 11, part of nacogdoches. the laws protecting our vote should be conveyed honestly and vigorously. that is exactly what we've endeavored to do in texas for the last eight months. while i am grateful for the invitation to be here, i believe this conversation is best suited for the texas house floor and our state capitol in austin rather than in a washington, d.c. committee hearing room. i must take exception to the premise of why i testified. to be sure, there is no assault on voting rights in texas. but there is in fact, a real danger posed to our direction. not the well-intentioned and reasoned provisions in h.p. 3 to better secure our election processes. instead the growing threat of practices is too long tolerated to bribe individuals to dilute the essential democratic concept of one person,
one vote. moreover, while i appreciate the hard work to pass a one-size-fits-all omnibus bill. a dedicated group of election professionals that should be the envy of every state in the union. this is reflected in the outcome of this tuesday's special election. texas enjoyed a safe, secure, timely and well-run election which we can take pride with trust and confidence. but first, let me say this to my democratic colleagues there with you today. it's time to come home. enough is enough. you had your fun. it's time to get back to work. you know as well as i do this legislation has been negotiated in good faith and deserves your attention. house bill 3, the reason we are here today, is a sound and tailored bill to improve existing law. like every bill, it can get
better through debate and deliberation. but unfortunately, until our colleagues decide to come home, that is not possible. in texas, we allow everyone to submit amendments to be argued during floor debates. it's an inclusive process that's served us well and is available to all those who want to participate. simply put, we should want to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. house bill 3 expands voting hours. it makes it possible for voters to correct mistakes on their mail-in ballots and in fact, it's such a good bill, that the
professional associations representing our election administers and our county clerks around texas testified that with a few technical process changes they would change their formal positions from neutral to actually supporting the bill, which we all should want. now, i would like to address some of the misconceptions that have made their way around the national media concerning house bill 3. first, house bill 3 does not limit hours of voting. actually, house bill 3 expands
voting time from current law of 7:00 to 7:00 to 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., an increase of four hours per day. further, employers are required employees to vote or face criminal sanctions. house bill 3 does not eliminate curb side voting. it's allowed for disabled and other -- an accommodation that allows these individuals to drive to the polls and participate in person rather than mailing in their ballots, which remains an option. thirdly, poll watchers cannot intimidate voters. this bill does not permit voter intimidation. they can't allow them to watch them cast a ballot or film it. they can be ejected from the -- interfere in the election process or committed -- breach the violation of law.
house bill 3 will not allow mail-in ballots to be thrown out automatically. for the first time, it allows the voters to cure their mistakes so all valid ballots can be counted. fifthly and finally, it does not impose integrity on voter assistance. it expands current law regarding their information and the assistance oath before aiding the voter. folks, let's make no mistake about it. illegal voting does occur in the state of texas. and it cannot be excused. we must have zero tolerance when it comes to voter fraud. confidence in our elections, like faith in our judiciary and trust in our law enforcement is vital to the perpetuation of the american experience. it's our best and up most assurance for the survival of our republic. this is the duty we have to all of our constituents and the oath we all took for our constitution, to our nation and to our state. i believe we are all up to the
task. thank you for the opportunity to be here today. and i look forward to answering any questions. thank you. mr. raskin: thank you very much for your testimony, representative clardy. nina perales who is the vice president of litigation at the mexican legal defense and educational fund. ms. perales: thank you for allowing me to testify today. two bills, s.b. 1 and h.b. 3 seeks to suppress my north voter participation and thwart a more racially diverse texas electorate. the texas bills deprives latino voters of lawful voter assistance. a significant number of latino as well as asian voters rely on language assistance from family members, friends, or neighbors. article 6 of h.b. 3 requires voter assisters to swear under penalty of perjury that they will restrict their assistance to reading and marking the ballot. article 5 of s.b. 1 requires the assister to swear that the assister did not encourage the voter to choose them. h.b. 3 and s.b. 1 both require the assister to secure statement of eligibility from the voter.
these voter assistance restrictions violate the federal voting rights act which guarantees voters the right to assistance beyond just reading and marking ballot and does not require the voter to explain his or her name for assistance. the first amendment to the u.s. constitution and section 208 of the voting rights act guarantee individuals the right to encourage a voter to rely on them for assistance and guarantees voters the right to choose assisters who encourage them. in addition, these bills create new paperwork requirements of assisters that will slow down the voting process and increase wait times at polling places in predominantly latino neighborhoods. none of these provisions are based on any evidence that voters who need assistance are involved in fraud. second, the texas bills invite voter intimidation by poll watchers. section 3 of s.b. 1 and section 4 of h.b. 3 strip voters of the
protections of privacy and security in the polling place and invite vigilantism by poll watchers. the bills empower poll watchers to roam around the polling place and stand close to voters while they are voting. at the same time, the bills punish polling place officials with up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine for refusing to accept a watcher even when the poll workers are concerned that the watcher is disruptive. poll workers face the same penalty to protect a voter from a watcher who is trying to intimidate that voter. section 4 of h.b. 3 prohibits election officers from removing disruptive or even violent poll watchers unless the poll watchers commit a second infraction. that means they can scream, yell, physically impede, frighten or drive off voters and must still be allowed to remain in the polling place unless they were previously warned and commit a violation again.
these provisions ensure that not only will voters be intimidated but unrestrained poll watchers but election officials will also be intimidated by the threat of severe penalties for stepping in and trying to protect voters from poll watcher interference. latino voters in texas have borne the brunt of more than a century of voter intimidation at the polls. there's every reason to believe that removing security measures inside polling places will result in more intimidation of latino voters. third, the texas bills continues historic as well as recent racial discrimination in voting. texas 1.04 of senate bill 1,
which was amended out of the bill after public testimony created a voter purge surgically aimed at disenfranchising naturalized u.s. citizen voters. this was the same voter purge launched by texas against 98,000 voters in 2019. and blocked by a federal court order. texas settled that case and agreed not to use this policy again. but s.b. 1 brought it back with the same predictable result of excluding primarily latino and asian american new citizens from voting. the 2019 voter purge was only the latest in a long history of discrimination against latino voters in texas. the u.s. supreme court in 2006 explained that, quote, texas has a long, well documented history of discrimination that has touched upon the rights of african-americans and hispanics to register to vote or to participate otherwise in the
electoral process, unquote. that case has since been followed by u.s. supreme court ruling in 2018 that texas had again discriminated against latino voters. s.b. 1 and h.b. 3 are part of this recent and older history of racial discrimination and reflect a continued effort by texas officials to suppress minority political participation. thank you for your time and i'm happy to answer any questions of the committee. mr. raskin: thank you, ms. perales, for your testimony. finally, we will hear from the honorable diego bernal, who is, again, a representative and member of the mexican american legislative conference. mr. bernal: thank you, chairman. thank you for having us. the testimony of representative clardy and ms. perales cannot be in the same place. let me talk about a small section of the bill that would affect a voter. to get more to the policy itself. so here, let's say we have a voter who is 62. she prefers spanish. isn't super comfortable with her english. let's call her senora nicole and she's always voted with an assistant and in this case her assistant would be me, her neighbor. i noticed on election day we
have not spoken and so i go next door, knock on her door, she answers. hi. have you voted? she said she hasn't. ok. let's go vote. i'll help you like i always do. grab your keys. grab your chanclas, as we say. come out and i'll take you to the polling place. we go. when we get to the front of the line, the first thing i will encounter that's new is a new form i have to fill out and that form asks for my name, my address, my relationship to the voter, and it asks that i attest i haven't been paid by a candidate or campaign or a p.a.c. i don't know what the form is for. i don't know who gets it. i don't know if it's private. it takes time to fill out.
in a neighborhood like ours, primarily latino, might add to the length of the line. we power through that. the next thing we encounter is the oath of the assistant. there are three new things in the oath that this bill would require. the first, generally, it's now under penalty of perjury which means a violation of it even without intent would result in a state jail felony. the next piece asks me to affirm that she has represented to me that the only reason why i am her assistant is because she cannot see, read, or write. in the past, a voter assistant was able to navigate the polling place, interact with poll workers.
and that's gone. i have to simply translate. i have to say under penalty of perjury she's told me that's the only reason why i'm helping her. i've known her for years. i am not sure if i am about to perjure myself or commit a crime. some people will say beyond this -- will stay beyond this point. some will go. let's say we get past that part of the oath. there is a third part of the oath that says i must attest and affirm that i did not coerce or persuade you -- and the senate version says encourage -- for her to choose me as her assistant. i recall the conversation we had on the front door. senora, have you voted? let's go. i will be your assistant. grab your stuff, meet me outside. did i persuade her? did i encourage her? did i coerce her? i'm not sure.
at that point as i'm filling it out, i'm worried i may have and am about to break the law. again, some people will stay. but some people will go. let's say we get past that part and go to the actual voting machine. there, let's say she's asking me a question which you can't really do but i'm just translating. all i can do is translate. that's it. i can't do anything else. i'm translating state board of education race and a school board race. it's difficult. we're not breaking the law.
there is a partisan poll watcher in the polling place who now has free range and free roam to get close enough to any voter to see and hear election activity. that is the law. they don't know what we're saying but they may not like it. they may not like the tone. they may not like the language. they may not like the way we look. they are allowed to disrupt, to harass, to physically of mo, to push us a -- physically move, to push us away and the only thing they can do is give me a warning. because the law says, article 4, section 4.01, section g, page 11, starting on line 15, it says -- a partisan poll watcher can break the election code or the penal code and the only thing the election judge can do to them is give them a warning. the election judge can only remove them if they themselves saw a second infraction. it doesn't matter if everyone in the polling place saw it themselves and reported it, the election judge has to see it them self to remove that
partisan poll watcher. the manager at target has more latitude to protect their customers than election judge in texas would to protect voters under this bill. and some of the opponents may say, can't they call the police? yes, they can. they can call the police. but that takes time. the police have to come and assess the situation. voting at that polling place would stop or come to a halt. and just using my hometown of san antonio as an for example, there are over 300 polling places. the largest shift at any given time of sapd is about 150 officers who have arguably better things to do. what happens to us? do we finish her caster her ballot -- casting her ballot? if we do does she come back? what's the word of mouth as that experience spreads like wildfire, bad chisme? that can't be who we are and the idea this bill makes voting easier in this instance, i don't see how.
there are no cases of voter fraud relating to voter assistance. in county if a, just to give you numbers -- in fact, just to give you numbers and i'll wrap up - mr. raskin: please. mr. bernal: the likelihood of voter fraud in texas is less than anyone of us being struck by lightning. mr. raskin: thank you, representative bernal, for your excellent testimony. and members are very patient. i'll hold off on my questioning and allow mr. mfume to go. then we'll go directly to the ranking member. mr. mfume: thank you very much, mr. chair. and members of the committee. mr. chair, i want to thank you as i have done privately and repeatedly for holding this hearing and bringing us to this point. your leadership on this is very, very important. \[indiscernible] and there is no
real redundancy in talking something so near and dear to the fabric of this society as is voting. i also want to thank the state legislators who have come here. those who are also on the zoom with us electronically for your participation. and if i might say, also, for your courage. this whole issue, mr. chairman, is an issue that has a lot of discussion about. one thing that's clear, unless we have real integrity in our system where everybody feels like their vote counts, we're never going to get to where we need to be. in fact, we will find ourselves repeating many of the problems and issues of the past. now, i don't want to be funny here but this is almost like the old yankee manager, yogi berra, once said, deja vu all over again. voter intimidation and the
burdens that will put on voters is something that's revisited itself in a mean and ugly way. years ago between the 1890's and the 1960's, there were real efforts at voter intimidation and denial. it started with the good old grandfather clause that said even though you may be free you cannot vote unless your grandfather voted. well, your grandfather was a slave so he couldn't vote. and therefore, you couldn't vote. and when that became so ugly and intimidating, states changed up and created things known as the literacy test. where throughout that period of time up until 1965, in many
states you had to tell how many bubbles were in a bar of soap just to be deemed intelligent enough to go out and cast a vote. when that came under further scrutiny, states changed it and said, ok, well, now you have to be able to recite the constitution from beginning to end to be able to be qualified to vote. i just think that it is ludicrous for us to think that somehow now the things we're facing, particularly in texas and elsewhere, are not akin to the same laws that were put in place with the same objective and the end vote, to suppress turnout and to, in many instances, deny the ability of all people to vote.
this is a new phenomena and an old ballgame, and it's a phenomena that quite frankly cries out for us to pass the john lewis voting rights act and to pass h.r. 1, the for the people act, so we can put to rest once and for all these types of attempts. i've exhausted my time, mr. chair. i, again, want to commend you. i want to commend the legislators and want to remind my colleagues that as legislators, we have every right to use what's in the constitution that we're governed by to advance our cause, even if it means denying a quorum. i yield back. mr. raskin: congressman mfume, thank you for your excellent remarks. i turn it over now to my friend, the ranking member, mr. sessions, for his time for questioning. mr. sessions: thank you very much, chairman. i'd like to engage, perhaps mr. bernal, or mrs. perales, please. are ballots in texas in the language that a person would
need them to have? in other words, english, spanish, chinese, are they available? mr. bernal: yes, sir. mr. sessions: they're available in the language of people. that's not backwards. that's pretty important. i'd like to ask you, mrs. perales, you said that texs really had been held in discrimination since -- for a number of years and implied that texas was discriminatory in their practices. but isn't it true that preclearance was required and certainly the clinton and obama department of justice scrutiny of the bills that every time would relate to the laws and the redistricting of texas would be
reviewed by preclearance of democrat and republican department of justices? ms. perales: well, representative, i am not sure what you're asking. it depended on what president was in office at the time. but certainly doesn't subtract from the fact that when we brought these claims in federal court -- and both of the cases i mentioned were claims successfully brought by maldf, my organization, the u.s. supreme court held that texas had in its laws discriminated against latino voters. i'd like to add an answer to that -- mr. sessions: what year was that? ms. perales: the cases i
mentioned in my testimony. 2006. in the case i argued before the supreme court. and also in 2018 on a claim that maldf brought racial gerrymandering against latino voters in 2018. the answer that representative bernal provided earlier needs to have something added to it which is that although texas is forced by federal law to provide bilingual ballots, section 208 of the voting rights act requires a broader scope of assistance. and the fifth circuit tells us that in the case of chinese americans. a bilingual ballot is not enough. they have the right to take an assister with them to help them navigate the polling place, interact with poll workers, read and understand -- mr. sessions: thank you very much. mr. clardy, can you please address that issue what the bills would be before us?
i have a disabled son. i have been with him. he marked his own ballot, but i helped him. could you please talk to us what is before us with these bills related to the -- what the gentlewoman speaks of? mr. clardy: thanks. i'll use this word in its truest sense. i think very liberal laws. as it relates to the disabled people be able to vote. in the instance of your son, we have curb side voting. it will be available throughout the state where they can drive up, an election official will come out, help assist, and provide that ballot and then those people who are eligible for curb side voting be able to vote. that's been our law for some time. likewise, those individuals are available. they have the right. unlike most other states i think in the union to cast a mail-in ballot. they register, they request the mail-in ballot. it will come to them and they
will vote and return. if they choose to, they can bring it in and have that ballot dropped off. mr. sessions: thank you. representative clardy, are you aware of the case in limestone county, texas, where this person was charged with 134 felony counts of acting as an agent of election fraud by putting in applications and forging signatures, are you aware of that, sir? would this be addressed in the new law? this happened in november of 2020. mr. clardy: congressman sessions, i am not familiar with the specifics of that case. as you know, it's inappropriate for us to talk about pending matters. there is another pending -- there are 50 cases pending right now. that's just from the office of attorney general that have hundreds and hundreds of counts
that exist. there's another approaching 400 cases are being investigated. those 50 i mentioned, those were presented to a grand jury and they've been true billed and indictments of issue. mr. sessions: thank you very much, sir. mr. chairman, i'd like to engage in the record and place in the record these 400-some cases that are being presently handled in the state of texas for voter fraud. mr. raskin: great, without objection at all. under the current voting fraud statute. mr. sessions: thank you. mr. raskin: i'd invite debbie wasserman schultz for her five minutes of questioning. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you so much, mr. chairman. similar to what we see now in texas, right after the 2020 election, election supervisor
and former governor desantis praised the election process. the way florida did it inspires confidence. i think that's how elections should be run. desantis changed his tune because donald trump was emotionally incapable of accepting the results of the 2020 election and he needed to whip the fringe of his party into a frenzy to further his own aspirations. the result was a florida voter suppression bill that mirrors what we see proposed in texas. making voter registration harder, limiting voting by mail and curbing the secure ballot dropoff boxes many of the floridians used in 2020. these blatant anti-democratic bills are in search of a problem, at the very least. we saw a rare expansion of ballot access. we not only allowed people to stay safe but gave flexibility to communities of color who face voting obstacles. representative thompson, it's so good to see you again. harris county, home of houston, which you represent, led the way in expanding opportunities to voting last year.
so my question for you is, with all that harris county did to make it easier for folks to vote during the pandemic, were there any resulting voting irregularities that resulted later? mr. raskin: that's for you, ms. thompson. ms. thompson: i do not recall any at all, debbie. ms. wasserman schultz: i don't recall hearing any either. so it's helpful to have you underscore that. representative collier, is it fair to say these expansions were particularly valuable to black and latino voters in texas? ms. collier: yes, thank you. absolutely. we found that african-americans often have two jobs. and so being able to vote during a 24-hour period is very helpful. being able to have drive-thru voting is also helpful for those that have children. these are mechanisms and i am not aware of any instances of voter fraud that have been prosecuted related to those mechanisms.
ms. wasserman schultz: thank you. the texas legislation that we're discussing today, my friends, would create criminal penalties for local election officials who send absentee ballot applications to all registered voters. these are the priorities of the texas state government. harris county attempted to do last year before the effort was blocked by the texas supreme court. in florida, senate bill 90 also prohibits local and state officials, they double down on what was already prohibited in florida by saying that mail ballots could not be sent to voters unless one was requested. ms. perales, can you explain how communities of color are particularly affected by a restriction like this on mail-in voting? ms. perales: well, in texas, we have mail-in voting available, just to be clear, for those who are disabled, can't get to the
polling place, and those who are over 65. so we're talking, generally, among all communities about predominantly older population. and - ms. wasserman schultz: sorry. just to be clear. i'm asking you about a restriction on not being able to proactively for a local official to not proactively send out a ballot? ms. perales: yes. and my point is when you are an older individual, it can be particularly challenging to navigate the request of a mail ballot. a lot of folks don't have access to online. and the process can be confusing. to have a local election official who can determine who is eligible affirmatively send those applications is going to particularly benefit black, latino, and low-income voters. ms. wasserman schultz: so here's the -- thank you. here's the icing on the cake of this legislation. political parties in particular
would still be allowed to send out ballot applications even if it's outlawed for local officials. so ms. perales, how do you explain the discrepancy and treatment and wouldn't that result make it harder to vote? and then representative collier, if you were writing a bill to combat voter fraud, would you have started by targeting local election officials? ms. perales: with respect to making it more difficult, yes. if someone receives an application for ballot by mail and they want to fill it out and choose to fill it out, that is going to make voting more accessible for them. there is no reason on the face of the earth to prohibit a local election clerk who has all of the correct information from sending out ballot applications and, yet, at the same time, permit party partisan folks within their organizations to be able to do that same mailing. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you. mr. chairman, can representative collier answer before my time is turned over? mr. raskin: yes and then your time is up. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you so much. ms. collier: thank you so much. i would say, yes, local control is absolutely important, because those individuals who are on the
ground have a better grasp of what is going on in their community and can address the needs of their community. ms. wasserman schultz: i appreciate it. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. raskin: all right. i thank the gentlelady. i now recognize representative nancy mace for her five minutes of questioning. ms. mace: thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank ms. thompson. i was a state lawmaker for three years before i came to congress. i represented the first congressional district of south carolina. south carolina has had its own history, very bad history with black south carolinians, black and brown african-americans. i recently took a vote to remove one that wrote the dred scott opinion, black and brown and african-americans could not become citizens of the united states of america, i voted to remove his bust. someone like hampton who encouraged the murder of over 150 black south carolinians during his run for governor. so i appreciate your comments about the 1960's.
i was not around then, but i watched and read a lot of the history and seen the videos and seen the moments of violence against black america. so i applaud your work on that. my understanding is that you were elected in 1972 in texas, is that correct? ms. thompson: that is correct. ms. mace: i applaud you for making history, i would imagine, in texas and being a strong voice for black men and black women. coming from south carolina, we got -- we've got voter i.d. and i'm assuming texas is the same way, do y'all need i.d. to buy alcohol when you're purchasing at the store? ms. thompson: yes. to be sure - ms. mace: do you need an i.d. to buy cigarettes in texas? ms. thompson: you have to show an i.d. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. when you are getting a job and trying to get on payroll in
texas? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. to go to the pharmacy and get a prescription in texas? ms. thompson: it depends on the prescription. ms. mace: but do you need an i.d. for some prescriptions in texas? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. to get social security services in texas? ms. thompson: you do. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. to rent an apartment in texas? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. if you're going to buy a house and finance it via a mortgage in texas? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. in texas if you are going to board an aircraft and fly commercial? ms. thompson: yes.
ms. mace: did you fly a charter plane? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: do you need an i.d.? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: did you need an i.d. to get in the building here today? ms. thompson: yes. ms. mace: do you need an i.d. in texas to open a bank account? to cash your check if you're working. do you know, representative thompson, how many -- what percentage of blacks in texas, black and brown african-americans are registered to vote? ms. thompson: a huge percentage. ms. mace: 70%. do you know what average black and brown texans have voted on average during the last election? ms. thompson: 64%. representative mace: do you know how many whites are registered? 70 2% of whites in texas or representative boebert do know the percentage of whites who turned out to vote in recent elections? ms. thompson: over 50%. representative mace: 65%.
you know what percentage of hispanics are registered to vote in texas? 63%. you know what percentage of texans -- hispanics voted in the last election? 53 percent. hispanics are not voting in as i of numbers as blacks and whites -- in as high of numbers as blacks and white. do you know the number of the percentage of democrats to vote -- to support voter id? 72%. do you know the number of black and brown african-americans in the country to support voter id? 75%. do you know the number of hispanics who support voter id? 81%. do you know where the state of texas is ranked in lack voter turnout in this country? ms. thompson: in black voter turnout? 44%. representative mace: texas is
ranked 10th. so they are top-10 in the country. you know where texas is ranked with women voters? ms. thompson: up in the 50's. representative mace: in the bottom third of this country. texas has a more difficult problem getting women to vote than black and brown and african-americans. thank you. chair raskin: thank you. i would like to go to congresswoman kelly. congresswoman kelly: thank you. it is critical we recognize voter suppression measures are not simply attempts to act on former president trump's big lie. for years, texas publicans have tried to blunt the impact of demographic trends that strangle -- that threaten their stranglehold on power. according to the u.s. census bureau, texas is very diverse. nearly 40% of its population is
hispanic or latino and almost team percent is black and african-american. starting in 2018, we saw diverse populations in major cities drift away from the republican party. in 2020, nonwhite voters cast ballots at a rate of 9% higher than they had in 2016, enabling president biden to perform better in the state than any democrat in decades. this performance was fueled by large cities like houston, which saw its highest turnout in nearly 30 years, due in large part to expanded ballot access. ms. perales, you fight for voting rights, how do you think these demographic shifts in the texas electorate influenced restrictive voting measures? ms. perales: there is a direct connection between diversification of the texas electorate and moves to restrict
or tighten texas election law. one example is, from 2014-2018, latino voter turnout increased to such a degree that latinos cast almost one million more votes statewide in texas in 2018 compared to 2014. those types of shifts are very challenging for those in power who think that latinos will not support them representative: have you seen the need to necessitate federal legislation? ms. perales: yes there is a need to tighten election laws in response to increasing racial diversity in the election. representative: what do you make of the argument that these restrictions have less to do with voter fraud and more to do with shifting elliptical tides? >> the policy bears that out. it is hard to argue you are
trying to combat voter fraud when it is more likely you get struck by lightning or meteor, i did the math, then there being voter fraud in texas. i don't think it exists. this eat guys, the national, big lie -- the is each guist -- the zeitgeist, the national big law, you have a hard time finding a case of voter fraud in the last teen years, if not decades. representative: miss thompson, you represent a rapidly diversifying city. houston is going to overtake the dallas metro area with the largest gains of any metro region between 2010-2020. representative collier, how have you seen voter suppression efforts in austin intensify in response to this population growth? ms. collier: too often, we look
for overt and obvious signs of suppression. but suppression can be emulated in long lines, in creating harsher penalties from making simple miss -- penalties for making simple mistakes. it may not look like the poll tax of the literate test of old times, but suppression can rear its ugly head auto forms -- rear its ugly head in subtle forms. going back to the question if we have ballots that have multiple languages, the only reason we have that is because of the protections of the voting rights act of 1965. in 1975, texas was required to provide multiple languages in the ballot because we had the protections under the voting rights act, which only elevates it and shows the need for having this type of provision again.
so, texas was made to do these multiple languages. it wasn't on on its own. so, unless we have federal intervention, we will continue to see the chipping away of our rights. representative: my colleague took the time to go through step-by-step what you need identification for. and there were a lot of things, but it is not just about voter identification, it is identification mixed with everything else that you have to do. i don't know if one of the wraps or ms. perales, that rap -- reps , or ms. perales, if you want to respond. ms. perales: voting is a fundamental right. voting is not the same is going to the store and buying a bottle of liquor. it should never be acquaint -- it should never be equated that way. it is demeaning to the right to vote. texas had a voter id law that surgically made it tighter and
more restrictive in a way that a federal court found was discriminatory against minority voters. so, and id can certainly be much more expensive than what was provided in texas when it was found to be discriminatory. and you should know that because of the federal court ruling, texas had to broaden the opportunity for voters to vote. representative: thank you, so much. chair raskin: i think the representative. before i recognized mr. franklin for his questioning, i want to recognize the presence of congresswoman sheila jackson lee from houston, who has been with us observing the hearing. i want to thank congressman vicci, who has cleared up the urgent matter about colas for retired teachers in texas. retirees have not received an
increase since 2013, and the cola applied to anyone who retired after 2000 vote -- cooper fired -- retired by 2004. i recognize mr. franklin for his questioning. representative franklin: thank you. when there are so many topics we could be digging into as the congress committee on oversight reform, we are squandering the opportunity on something that is not germane to this body. but i am not surprised. it was here on this committee that i learned the person i always considered my mother is not a mother, just a birthing person. on multiple locations when i thought we might discuss oversight with respect to the breakdown surrounding the events of january 6, my democrat colleagues refuse to require leadership of the capitol police to testify. i am not surprised. but i am puzzled by why you
witnesses have chosen to be here, instead of being home in the state of texas doing the work you were elected to do. you cut at red two dcn brought covid and infected people at the capital. representative i object, personal attacks. >> the gentleman has spoken the facts of the case and is speaking off publicly available information. chair raskin: in the spirit of chairman cummings, we are going to allow the gentleman to continue with whatever he once to say, true or false, and there will be opportunities to respond. >> we are under obligation to tell the truth in this committee. the gentleman is responding to what would be publicly available information. wheaton. yes we did not interfere with their witnesses. chair raskin: no one is interfering, that is my point. he can continue with whatever he wants to say. he has rights under the first amendment. please proceed.
representative franklin: maybe this opportunity is to give you something to do while you should be in texas. i have been on a lot of losing votes. i don't enjoy it. i think the democratic majority has jammed through policies that are terrible. but we cast our votes and move ahead. on the republican side, we will message about how it is wrong and when those bad policies their rotten fruit like inflation, debt, the humanitarian crisis on the border, spikes and violent crime, we can say we told you so, but we suck it up and do our job and take our votes and bide our time until we take the majority. we don't act like spoiled cowards running away and refusing to vote when it is clear we don't have the numbers to get our way. your testimony was received just
an hour before the hearing. you stated you support hr one, which the house passed on straight party lines, no amendments, no opportunities for republicans to offer amendments. hr one would strip away authority the constitution grants state legislatures. in your oath of office for texas, you swore to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and laws of the u.s.. the framers wanted authority for determining elections to rest with state legislatures, not congress, not appointed officials, not other elected officials, specifically and only state legislatures. i can't fathom why you would want to cede power granted to your state back to the federal government. and i hope the people of texas are watching and understand what our witnesses are trying they think the federal government
knows better than texans how you should discuss your elections -- how you should carry out your elections. the media try to paint u.s. heroes, but you are not. the truth is, you persuaded people in your districts that you should represent their interests. you signed up for it than texans put their trust in you and now you are failing them. you should be getting on a plane and flying back to texas in coach, like the rest of us, unlike the private jet you used to get here. and they are going to make you wear a mask. i don't have any questions. i will yield to my colleague. representative: fallon -- representative fallon: we are hearing so many things that are not true or are assertions coming to the committee with absolutely no proof. the chairman of the committee
said texas is the hardest state in the union to vote. let's look at 2016-2020. texas improved our turnout 8.8%, ninth best out of 50 states. so you can say what you want, it doesn't make it true. that assertion wasn't true. the historical struggle for our african-american brothers and sisters to vote israel. that happened -- vote is real. that happened. it is terrific. it is the most horrible stain on our country. we need honest and open elections and i get physically ill hearing stories representative thompson shared. those are awful, but let's address the metric today, the bill you wrote quorum not -- you broke quorum not vote for.
that is what the amendment process is about. this bill is not voter suppression, this bill is voter integrity. yield back. >> i have a point of parliamentary inquiry? chair raskin: please. representative: do the rules that govern the committee permit democrats or republicans to defame witnesses by calling them cowards, and being unable to substantiate that seems to be outside the realm of free and open discussion? it is an active defamation. chair raskin: it is the spirit, tradition and i believe the rules of the committee that we always proceed with civility and respect. as chair, i will not tolerate intimidation or abusive witnesses. everyone, take note. and thank you, mr. mfume,
for that. i recognize myself questioning. i want to contrast what you have done with what the violent insurrectionists it to us on january 6. they had a complaint about voting, too. they came here to stop the steal, is what they said. they had been goaded by donald trump to comment try to put coercive pressure on vice president mike pence to reject electoral college votes from arizona, georgia and pennsylvania, to proclaim a power no vice president ever exercised and doesn't exist in the constitution. and mike pence refused to do it. do you know what? they trashed the place and they entered and wounded 140 police officers. now we have representatives from a major political party in texas representing african americans, mexican americans, white people,
native americans, who are coming forward to say the voting rights are subjected to a gauntlet, an obstacle course. they say this is a up form of voter suppression. i was delighted to your my friend that it pained him -- to hear my friend that it pained him, mr. fallon, to hear about voter suppression inflicted on african-americans. but at some point apparently, it all ended and what you have come to washington to talk about is apparently just a figment of your imagination. so we can't trust the african-american community or hispanic community or native american community or voting rights lawyers about this. we are supposed to, instead, trust one political party. i'm sorry. i don't test trust one political party, whether it is my party or somebody else's, because what they want to do is when elections. representative burn all, we have heard an attack on one-size-fits-all elections.
the claim is, i getting the federal government involved as the civil rights movement did with the voting rights act, but by getting the government involved, it is a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach. but this bill looks to me like what that bill is, because there is all kinds of things that are working at the county level in texas that are going to be extinguished by this legislation. isn't this really an attempt to impose a one-size-fits-all straitjacket on counties and municipalities in texas? >> it is. and it would force counties that are small to operate the same way as counties of millions of people, and there's nothing wrong with the same rules that is what federal laws are for. they are the ground floor. otherwise, there is no reason to have them at all. chair raskin: i am for uniform rules that help people get the right to vote.
mr. burn all: there should be a ground-floor that holds this tent -- mr. bernal: there should be a ground-floor that holds this. there should be rules they all abide by, but that doesn't mean they can't do things within the law that benefit voters. chair raskin: you talked about difficult voting and people who work double shifts, the only time they can vote is at 2:00 in the morning. why should the state dismantle that? >> because it is not good for their narrative. in texas and the 2020 general elections, we had the largest turnout since 1992. in response, we get restrictive legislation that would limit access to the ballot box. we saw that what they did in harris county worked -- drive-thru voting just like
you get the covid shot. we are all vaccinated from the texas democratic legislator and if you get the vaccine, you can get it drive-thru. that is all that they were offering in harris county to address the pandemic. but under the bill, they would allow untrained, partisan poll watchers to observe close enough in violation of cdc guidelines. at the governor is prohibited local officials from requiring masks. so that means the delta variant that is going around spread even easier under the election coming up, if we don't have precautions in place. chair raskin: thank you. ms. perales, representatives bernal and thompson talked us through this remarkable obstacle course that would be imposed under the texas legislation, making it extremely difficult for people to navigate all the twists and turns of the law
without subjecting themselves to criminal prosecution. my looking at this correctly? it looks like a permission structure put in place for bureaucratic extremism in areas where you have official authorities that are resistant to people's right to vote, but that also empowering partisan actors to overcome officials when the officials are trying to protect people's right about -- right to vote. ms. perales: that is exactly right. it is coming at voters from both directions. and coming at all workers from both directions, which is to threaten with felonies and a year of jail time any poll worker who tries to protect a voter, and at the same time, change texas election law so that, instead of being able to stay in one place and observe, which is what poll watchers can do now, allow them to rome
freely and get close to voters to observe their activities. chair raskin: it is astounding to see this criminalization of the work of election judges. representative thompson, it was just said by mr. franklin that you cut and ran. and i think the word coward was invoked. are you guys demonstrating a lack of courage by coming to washington to demand federal legislation to protect the right to vote? >> you are holding our side accountable to the five-minute rule. chair raskin: i have given everybody on both sides discretion and i am going to finish with this question. if you want an extra question, by all means, mr. sessions. did you cut and run? >> no. we took responsibility to represent our constituents by leaving. even though mr. franklin may call himself a coward, he don't
have the right to classify me as one. chair raskin: representative cloud is next. ok. mr. donald, you are next and you do understand the rule that we need to be wearing masks when we are not speaking? according to the capital physician? representative donald: i will save the debate on masks for another day. representative thompson, thank you for your service, i understand what it is to serve in a state just later. i served in florida for four years before i came to congress. you mentioned how you were at a polling location and felt intimidation. i believe it was from a proud boys member, whoever it was, did
you file a complaint the election official? i assume the election judge in texas that is at every polling location? ms. thompson: it is nice to meet you. the person came behind me and i turned and asked what they wanted. and i am known in my district, i am known at every precinct, and most people would not have stood their ground. representative donald's: -- representative donalds: did you take it upon yourself to file a complaint with the election judge? ms. thompson: i did not, and the person left after we finished talking. representative donalds: is there
anything in this law that would stop anybody from being able to file a complaint if they felt some form of intimidation from a poll watcher? ms. thompson: you are black like me, how many black people do you know who are intimidated are going to file against a white person in the south? i'm responding to your question. representative donalds: is there anything in the law that prohibits anybody from filing a complaint? we are talking about the law. capitol -- ms. thompson: somebody looking like a proud boys in their precinct is going to be intimidating enough. most people my age are going to be intimidated and they're going to tell their friends and their friends are not going to want to go back. and that intimidation by any means is still intimidation and that is suppression of the vote.
representative donalds: it is just not a member of the proud boys, this is my time, i am saying there is nothing in this law that prevents any voter in texas from filing a complaint which would take away or diminish the voting rights. that is the fact of the law because i am reading it and even in your answer, you didn't know me that it is not clear in this bill that people are allowed to file complaints. we are almost out of time. representative collier, i was listening to comments about the absent people pallets -- absentee ballots where they have to put in the last four of their social security number or driver's license number or have to do an oath if they don't have that available to them and you said there ballot would be kicked if the number on the ballot did not match what was that the supervisor of elections.
but in reading the bill, that is not clear. can you expound? is this in the law that would allow a ballot to be kicked out of the process or is this a technical change that you are one of your colleagues could file an amendment to? ms. collier: what section? representative donalds: i've been coming through so many sections of this hell. this is not fair. i'm digging through bill. chair raskin: we will be kind to you. representative donalds: old on, thank you ms. -- thank you. >> i believe it is on page 12. representative donalds: page 12. no, that is poll watchers. my apologies.
page 17, article five section 5.02, starting with section a, subsection one, line 26, starting on page exchange. i am on house bill number three. i am looking at this and there is nothing in this language that would kick your ballot out, so please explain your rationale. ms. collier: it says an early voting ballot, page 16, must include, and it has the requirements on page 17. if it does not include, it has not met the standard of requirements under the law. representative: for clarification, what is in here is that you have to have the last four of your drivers license, last four of your
social security number or you can actually made a statement that you have not been issued a number of anything in the first two sections. if you do one of those three, your ballot is actually allowed account under hb three. ms. collier: absolutely. and we are not even raising the issue of strict voter id in texas, because that has been determined by the court, that has been resolved. the concern with this is, if i registered to vote 20 years ago, i was required to put down one of those identifications, either social security or driver's license number. on this tickler measure, it is -- on this particular measure, it is saying the person must put down the number that corresponds with the one on file with the election administration. representative: sorry to cut you off. i am out of time. this is important. chair raskin: hold on. this is an important
information. so you were saying if you put down your social security number and you forgot you did it want to years ago and you put your drivers license down, they will throw out your ballot without even telling you that you chose the wrong number? ms. collier: that is what this bill does. it is not clear that there is a pr opportunity. there is a cure -- clear that there is a cure opportunity. there is a cure opportunity for the other provisions, not this one. if the numbers not the same number in my file, my ballot does not meet standards in this bill. chair raskin: the time for mr. donalds ended. i'm going to be generous. take another moment if you would. representative donalds: i have read election bills in florida. we made election changes. i have been in congress, we did
other election changes, i have read those bills, i am reading the language here at what is in the language doesn't comport with what you are saying. if you have a technical issue, the job of you and your colleagues is in the texas legislature, not here, to mixer those technical changes can be made or work the majority party. in texas like most state legislatures, you have more latitude to bring technical changes to amendments. here in d.c. in the minority party, we hardly have any ability to bring amendments. ms. collier: this is not a technical amendment. this is a practical implication that is going to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of votes in texas. we tried to work with our counterparts, but every amendment we presented was declined. chair raskin: in committee? ms. collier: yes, sir, in committee. even in the regular session when we presented amendments, they were not always admitted.
we have tried to use every tool to collaborate with our colleagues. the only thing left is to come to congress and ask for federal intervention. chair raskin: thank you. i come to my friend ayana pressley of massachusetts to recognizer for questioning. representative pressley: i'm reminded of the words of my mother sandy, a super voter who never missed election day. she reminded me every time i would vote with her, she would turn to me and say never forget that on this day, election day, we are powerful. and i would stand just a little bit taller. i believed her then and i still do now. republicans in the texas state legislature are trying to take away that power. the voter suppression tactics
they support are targeted and precise with the aim of stripping votes away. this is the latest chapter in a long history of systemic disenfranchisement by creating new and broad criminal penalties. texas republicans have adopted a strategy of blatant intimidation to suppress the vote. ms. perales, you believe expanding criminal penalties in this bill will deter people from voting? ms. perales: yes. representative pressley: family members help people with ballots. people with disabilities are more likely to need accommodation to vote. how does this bill's
requirements for mail voting impede voters with disabilities from exercising their right to vote? mr. bernal: interesting question. one of the most interesting answers is that it requires a 10 and ink signature, something many people with disabilities -- requires a pen and ink signature, something many people with disabilities can't produce. representative: thank you. i want to shed light on if a voter requires assistance from a friend or relative, this bill would require an uninvited poll watchers like a member of the republican integrity brigade intimidation group, to watch over them while they cast their ballot. this means voters with
disability will be subject to greater discriminatory treatment. do you believe this bill enables individuals to harass, intimidate or obstruct voters under the guise of pull watching? ms. perales: yes, it certainly does. representative my colleagues in the senate must stop forcing people with disabilities and people of color from carrying the burden with finding ways of organizing against shameful and anti-democratic state bills. instead, senators, those in my own party especially, need to remove these articles by abolishing the filibuster and passing the for the people act and the john lewis voting rights act. this is a fight about disability justice, racial justice and electoral justice and we must win because the future of our democracy demands it. thank you. chair raskin: thank you.
representative: it is important that we not continue speaking about things that are not truthful. the gentlewoman made the assertion that anyone could simply walk in and be a poll watchers. that is not true. you must go through a certification process by your local party to be able to be there. chair raskin: we have been keeping a number of members waiting period mr. fallon -- waiting.
mr. fallon? representative we are here -- representative: we are hearing so many twists and propaganda that simply are not true. i don't have time to address even a fraction of them. we live today in a headline culture. many people read the headline and don't read the article, so they hear a statement and they say this is a learned person, so it must be true. the title of this very hearing is democracy in danger. that gets attention. he goes further and says, the assault on voting rights in texas. the assault, as if a crime is being committed. the second paragraph of the memorandum of the hearing says the texas legislature, or this texas legislation would dramatically restrict access for voters across the state. it mentions the proposal about banning drive-thru voting and 24 hour voting. dramatically restrict. think about that. it fails to mention that of the
254 counties in texas, 253 had no drive-thru or 24 hour voting. 99% of us texans did not utilize drive-thru voting or the 24 hour voting. that is not to say that the folks that did use 24 hour voting after 7:00 and before 7:00 a.m., they could have voted just like we all did. i am disheartened that 50 former democratic colleagues abandoned our state and came here to washington. it is unfortunate that some, nothing three here today, but some are more like carnival barkers. the baseless claims are hyperbolic, disingenuous and
patently untrue in the memorandum issued by the majority about this hearing says texas has a long history of attempting to suppress black and latino voters. it has been judged the hardest state to cast a ballot. that is inflammatory. and they cite the guardian newspaper, not an american newspaper, a far-left newspaper in britain. instead of citing foreigners on other continents, why don't we see what texans think? a poll last week by rmg research in texas, asked texans is it easy to vote in texas, hard or about right? only 16% said it was hard. to break it down demographically, 79%-14% among whites, 64-21 among african-americans and 75-20
among hispanics. the results are in and it is a landslide that the vast majority of texans believe it is just about right or easy vote. i would like to ask my former colleagues quickly, do you support or oppose voter id? ms. thompson: my vote was no. ms. collier: i am for expanding voter id to include student ids. mr. bernal: i think expanded voter id works. i support the concept of voter id. >> democrats voted against the voter id bill at the time, and that is out of step with texans because texans overwhelmingly support voter id, 82%-11%.
it is overwhelming demographically, supporting voter id. representative thompson, do you believe the legislation proposed in texas has an adverse effect on voter turnout? ms. thompson: i do. >> in 2011, there were the same concerns, but they were fabricated because last time we had a presidential election in texas that didn't have a voter id eight to 2020 in the last one where we added, turnout went up 39%. our population did rise, but it still outpaced to-one -- 2 to 1. democrats in our state were wrong then and they are wrong now. i yield back. chair raskin: thank you.
we go to chairman maloney for her questioning. chairman maloney: thank you. this is not the first time the oversight committee has investigated voter suppression efforts in texas. in 2019, chairman eliza cummins along with chairman raskin launched an investigation into the state's failed attempt to purge nearly 100,000 voters from the texas voter rolls. texas threatened more than half of these voters with criminal prosecution. but it turned out, many were eligible voters. this purge was halted by a federal judge because the judge found "perfectly legal, naturalized americans were burdened with what the court finds to be ham-handed and threatening correspondence from the state."
your organization help stop this latent voter suppression attempt in texas. how did it contribute to voter suppression in texas? ms. perales: we did file suit on behalf of naturalized u.s. citizen voters who received letters from their counties accusing them of being non-u.s. citizens and telling them that they had to prove their u.s. citizenship, even though they were u.s. citizens. i had one client tell me she never wanted to vote again. she was newly naturalized. she had proudly become a u.s. citizen and probably registered to vote. and she was so afraid and intimidated by that letter, thinking she had made some awful mistake, that she sent you never want to vote again. and that was repeated around the state.
chairman maloney: which communities would have been most impacted by this action in your state? ms. perales: the texas voter purge of 2019 was surgically designed to kick asian american and latino newly-naturalized registered voters off the voter rolls, because of the way they put that list together, which had to do with people who formerly held the green cards that were registered to vote today. that is disproportionately latino and asian american in texas. german maloney -- chairman maloney last year, the committee found evidence that u.s. citizens at been incorrectly told they were in eligible to vote and county officials in texas raised serious concerns about the purge. representative thompson, you have been outspoken about the history of voter suppression efforts in texas.
how did these attempts to purge voter rolls play to the greater context of voter suppression in texas? ms. thompson: it had a chilling effect on persons who may have wanted to vote, because of what was happening. chairman maloney: the federal judge who halted the effort said, " the evidence has shown any hearing before the court that there was no widespread voter fraud." yet today, we are seeing the same falsehoods about voter fraud being pushed to support new voter suppression bills in texas. ms. perales, has there been any evidence of widespread voting by noncitizens in texas in the 2020 election? ms. perales: not in 2020 or at any other time. chairman maloney: so the current
version of a texas voter suppression bill would require a monthly review of voter rolls for noncitizens. ms. perales, how would this affect people, how would this threaten voting rights? you mentioned one person you talked to who felt intimidated and scared and did not want to vote again. what is the impact of this? ms. perales: fortunately, we were able to get senate bail one amended based on our testimony to make sure the same people would not be targeted again. however, there is the monthly checks for citizenship. the issue is, what you will wind up is a u.s. citizen, perhaps a young man who shares the same name as his father and his father is not a u.s. citizen, has been excused from jury duty for non-citizenship, this type of matching system unless done perfectly is going to vacuum up
immediate relatives of non-us citizens in the latino and asian american community and forced them to jump through additional hoops. chair raskin: please take this last question in it than -- question and then, your time is up. chairman maloney: is there any legitimate justification for this proposal? mr. bernal: no. chairman maloney: texas efforts are no more than a thinly veiled attempt to suppress texans' right to vote, a right guaranteed in our constitution. chair raskin: i go to mr. roy of texas. representative: i served as ranking member with you and i appreciate it. chair raskin: good to see you back.
my colleague, a conservative republican, is watching you today. please be on your best behavior. representative roy colin i think you get -- representative roy: i think you guys should be in texas doing your duties. is section two of the voting rights act in effect? mr. bernal: yes. representative: was it just section five that was overturned in the shelby county decision eight years ago? mr. bernal: yes. representative and the reason was because this body failed to update the data? mr. bernal: that was among the reasons. representative: so the 96 to five voting rights act remains in effect, provision, section
five, overturned because was 50-year-old data. do you believe texas should submit to the department of justice for any changes it makes in voting laws or formulas? mr. bernal: yes. ms. collier: the historical nature of texas -- representative: yes or no? should they submit to the department of justice for preclearance? ms. collier: yes. representative for the record: my colleagues want to differ to washington for what we should do in texas. are you all aware you are violating texas law by being here right now instead of in the texas legislative session? it would be in order to arrest
you were you in the state of texas to get you to the steakhouse, do we agree those -- at the statehouse, do we agree on those? mr. bernal: that is unconstitutional. i don't think so. representative: you're supposed to carry out the constitutional duty. do you support hr one, the federal law passed here? ms. collier: i stand with congressional members who passed it. representative: do you support hr one? ms. thompson: i am ready to be arrested. i am not violating the law and i am representing my constituents. representative: i appreciate your review. that makes the case precisely. with respect to hr one, one witness said she opposed voter
id and to set some forms of voter id. -- and two said some forms of voter id. the state may not impose additional requirements on the eligibility of an individual to cast a ballot, in other words, federal prohibition for the use of voter id for absentee voting by mail. witnesses have testified about the lack of examples of fraud. one representative was asked if there was voter fraud occurring by mail and he said yes, definitely. was there voter fraud occurring by mail and his response was definitely. mr. bernal: i don't believe he said that. ms. collier: i can't confirm.
ms. thompson: i'm not aware of him saying that. representative: your colleague said vote i mail is a great source of voter fraud. yes or no? >> i have no reason to base, nothing to base that is the greatest source of voter fraud. >> i don't know the context. representative: vote by mail is the greatest source of voter fraud in the state. that is the context. ms. collier: tell us what else he was talking about. i will decline to respond. ms. thompson: i think we would be added in vantage if he was here. representative: do you
agree with representative coleman that we should ban preprinted ballots? do you agree with that position? ms. collier: i can't say what he thought were dead. ms. thompson: i'm not aware of him making that statement. mr. bernal: are you talking about application or a ballot? representative: a preprinted mail-in ballot. mr. bernal: application yes, ballot no. representative: with respect to the assertions earlier, the chairman put in videos and statements from texas constituents. i would ask to insert into the record a document that i have outlined a number of examples of voter fraud, including statements from black witnesses who testified about voter fraud. chair raskin:. . without objection -- chair raskin: without objection.
representative: demetrius quoted , you are making a mockery of my suffrage to use it to your own advantage to keep my seat. it is not about the people. aubrey taylor, election's are being stolen, get ready to lose the state. jerry wayne munro, my community is suffering they cheated. he said he witnessed ballot harvesters taking $22,000 in pay, that they were soliciting nursing homes, he testified that a voting location had spare ids available for voters if they did not have one. the fact is there is fraud in elections on the legislator is trying to reform our election laws and taxes democrats fled to washington to ask washington to step over the interests of the voters in texas. chair raskin: thank you, mr. roy. great to have you back. ms. norton. representative norton: i
appreciate your words about bob moses. i worked with bob moses at sncc in mississippi. i would like to put up a slide. according to records obtained by the local houston press outlook khou-11, the texas attorney general received 197 complaints of voter fraud from 2015-2020, during which over 44 million votes were cast. that is for thousandths -- that is four thousandths of 1%.
only 23 of these complaints pertained to the 2020 election. and there is another slide. during which 23 of 11 million votes were cast. now, that is 1% of 478,260 votes. how does the discussion of these pending cases mislead the people of texas about the prevalence of voting fraud, given what i have showed you? ms. perales: there is a total mismatch between the egregious restrictions put forward in this bill and what many members here today are refusing to engage in these specific provisions, but there is a complete mismatch between what is in this bill and the sporadic, individual, anecdotal reports of voter fraud in texas.
representative norton: governor abbott's own administration has investigated cases of fraud. keith ingram, director of state elections, testified elections, i am quoting him, that the election was "smooth and secure." how did republicans react to mr. ingram's conclusion? mr. bernal: i don't think they cared. they are going to do what they want to do and it doesn't matter what facts and figures they have in front of them. it doesn't matter if it is from our attorney general or secretary of state. they have a different agenda that is not based on numbers or reality. and that is why we are here. representative norton: thank
you. representative collier, the failure is certainly not for a lack of trying. attorney general ken paxton double the amount of hours spent on fraud cases in this cycle, 22,000 hours, yet only charged 16 -- 16 -- cases, minor cases, none of which resulted in jail time. representative collier, what do you make of the argument that prosecutors simply do not have the tools to uncover massive voter fraud. ms. collier: there isn't widespread voter fraud. that is the response. the aclu did a study and found 72% of the investigations by the texas attorney general, who by the ways under indictment for fraud himself, securities fraud himself, have been lodged
against people of color, black and brown individuals. when you have a bill that creates new criminal penalties against potential voters, the only conclusion we can reach is that those would be targeted against people of color. representative norton: what are your thoughts about how the aggressive prosecution of voter fraud as already affected voters of color. ms. collier: in the law, there is no intent. did i have the intent to defraud? that is not even a question. it is whether the act was completed. so the state of texas has gone after innocent mistakes like crystal mason and harvest rogers where they waited over a year to pursue charges, just for the hearing on this harmful election bill was heard.
so it is all part of the narrative to politically posture and restrict our freedom to vote. representative norton mr. chairman, thank you for this hearing on behalf of the voters of the district of columbia who are struggling for statehood and have no votes in the south or senate. this hearing on voter suppression means a great deal to me, and them. chair raskin: and your comments mean a lot to us, as do the rights of their constituents, who never stormed the capitol, even though they have been disenfranchised for a long time. i recognize representative cloud. representative >> thank you. i find it odd that we are talking in washington, d.c. you made an oath of office to protect the constitution of the united states. as a texan and as a constituent,
it is odd to see you here instead of back in texas doing the job that you were elected to do. now, you talked about the fact that you are here to help break quorum. your understanding is that quorum, the ability for you to break quorum has to do with the fact that your presence is not there. is that correct? >> who are you directing the question to? representative cloud: is it your understanding that a quorum requires your physical presence? i mean, that's -- yes, no? >> to whom are you directing the question. rep. cloud: either one of you, all of you. the representatives here. this is not a complicated question. >> would you be kind enough to
restate your question please? rep. cloud: the texas constitution requires a quorum for you to be there in order to do business. understood that that means your physical presence there. the u.s. constitution requires our presence here but we have enacted proxy voting in a way around that, and we need to go back and return to the days before proxy voting here in order to do business. i would suggest that you return to texas and continue to work on the job that texans elected you to do. the spirit of texas is all about doing the work that we are set to do. we can remember the alamo and all of those kinds of things, and we have never been ones to run from a fight. i yield the remainder of my time to my friend from texas. >> i have good news.
i got a text from your colleagues that are in austin. on your concern, representative collier, about the tdl and social security number not matching, they are aware of it, they said they discussed it with you and will cure it via an amendment. we spent a lot of time on something that's going to get fixed. >> made a little bit of progress. >> representative thompson, do you feel the 2020 november election, general election in harris county, was conducted fairly in your own county? ms. thompson: the secretary of the state of texas says it was. >> you believe it was fair, is that fair to say? ms. thompson: it was fair. rep. cloud: i looked up the drive-through locations in harris county, where they were located. i am sure you are familiar with
precinct one, rodney ellis is the commissioner of precinct one in harris county. is that a democratic area? ms. thompson: you mean the entire -- >> it's about somewhere between 75% and 81% democratic area. of these 10 locations, five of them were located in precinct one, four of them were located just outside precinct one in democratic areas, and one was located in -- at the humble civic center, which is clearly a republican area. nine out of 10 of these drive-through locations that you love so much, and by the way, there were no drive-through locations in the other 253 counties. 90% of them just happened to be in democratic areas. 128,796 ballots were cast. i would say, respectfully, that that definition of fair leaves a lot to be desired.
you are sworn in 1973, is that right? ms. thompson: yes, sir. >> for your first 30 years, you enjoyed a majority in the texas house of representatives? ms. thompson: right. >> did the republicans ever use this quote-unquote right or tactic to break quorum in those 30 years? ms. thompson: we are using the same procedure that -- >> we have very little time. ms. thompson: as you know, it is in the rules. the rules allow for a quorum, and we broke quorum -- >> i would like to reclaim my time. ms. thompson: we want to be able to have a voice in our democracy. >> that's not what i'm asking. ms. thompson: the real reason, what you should be asking me is, why are you having a problem because texas happens to be 84% people of color and 16% of anglo
and look like the power is about to swing and you are having a problem by wanting all of these laws in place. >> we are going to accept that as your response. i don't want to get into a texas tussle here. back to you, mr. fallon. you get your final wrap-up question or statement. >> i consider myself a person of color, i don't know what it is, kind of pinkish. >> obviously, you guys have roots in texas. >> i may be white, but i am colorful, ok. ms. thompson: i have the honor of working with you and it was a pleasure. >> thank you. respectfully, because i did talk to the speaker, the first 30 years, because you serve together, the republicans in the texas house never broke quorum, and that was the point, they never did. you have been a party to it three times and representative collier and bernal now twice. ms. thompson: during the first 30 years, we broke quorum many times. i can tell you because on different bills, we may just not
have gone as long as we did now but it may have been for a few hours, overnight or a day. we broke quorum several times because i participated in those breaks. >> republicans did not do it en masse. ms. thompson: it was only about eight or nine of you there, how could you? >> i don't mess with texans messing with texans. i am going to call it off. we have to go to congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez. it's not over, because we've got more people. i want to thank congresswoman sheila jackson lee, who spent the day with us. i don't know if she's still here. your recognized. >> even just recently, just a couple days ago, we saw that the texas senate passed a bill that removes education of martin luther king, women's suffrage, and native american history from required curriculum in the state of texas. if anyone even studied american
history, knew the work of king, knew the work and the necessity of women's rights and suffrage and native american history in this country, they would know the importance of understanding this history in the context of present law. let's start with a history lesson and let's talk about jim crow. according to the public broadcasting service, they defined jim crow as the segregation and disenfranchisement laws known as jim crow represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid. that is not a subjective definition. this is a settled definition of jim crow in the context of american history. i understand that the texas state senate thinks that that's not relevant or necessary to teach, but it is important in the context of understanding present law. representative thompson, you were born in jim crow, in the era of jim crow, is that correct? ms. thompson: yes, it is.
rep. ocasio-cortez: briefly, what were some of the voting limitations that you know of that targeted black voters during the jim crow era? ms. thompson: the black code was one of them because it denied african-americans the right to vote and after that came the poll tax. the poll tax states that even after the law was ruled unconstitutional, remained until 1966 in texas. rep. ocasio-cortez: from 1966, we had apartheid, racial apartheid, known as jim crow, in the united states of america. during that era of jim crow, as you know, that includes a polling tax, correct? that includes stringent voter id laws, correct? citizenship checks, correct? difficult hours to vote during jim crow, correct? ms. thompson: right. rep. ocasio-cortez: you have the normalization of white supremacist voters monitoring and intimidating black voters at
polling locations during the era of jim crow, correct? ms. thompson: that's right. rep. ocasio-cortez: let's walk through some of the dangerous measures proposed by your texas state republican colleagues and supported by governor abbott that they are trying to inactivate. the proposed texas bills sb one, hb three would set new id requirements so voters must provide their driver's license number, or if they don't have one, the last four digits of their social security or a signed affidavit. they would also place a ban on the distribution of mail-in ballot applications, correct? ms. thompson: correct. rep. ocasio-cortez: as well as monthly citizenship checks. monthly citizenship checks for voter registration, correct? ms. thompson: correct. rep. ocasio-cortez: they would also ban extended hours during early voting, is that correct? ms. thompson: for those we call essential workers, yes. rep. ocasio-cortez: the proposed bills today, right now, would create an array of new criminal
penalties and requirements for folks who assist voters at the polls or people who assist others planning to vote by mail, is that correct? ms. thompson: that is correct. rep. ocasio-cortez: these bills would expand the authority of partisan poll watchers by granting them "free movement" at a polling location. ms. thompson: people with no training coming in your area. rep. ocasio-cortez: this s ounds an awful lot like the jim crow you are born into. what you say that these proposed voting laws are remnants of jim crow? i shouldn't even say remnants, revivals, and attempted revival of jim crow? ms. thompson: absolutely. jim crow 3.0. rep. ocasio-cortez: would you agree that they are systematic measures to impede your community, black communities, latino communities, and wide variety, including disabled americans, the constitutional right to vote, as was done in the past? ms. thompson: yes. rep. ocasio-cortez: now, let's
talk about voter quote-unquote, the myth of voter fraud. only about 0.0006% of total mail in votes cast are results of voter fraud. that's less likely than being strict by lightning. are you familiar with the 2016 case, texas association of hispanic county judges versus greg abbott, the same governor who is supportive of these bills? mr. bernal: yes. rep. ocasio-cortez: what did we learn? mr. bernal: texas discriminates against voters because of their race. over the past 10 years, texas has been found to have acted against the interest of minorities over 10 times by three federal courts. rep. ocasio-cortez: to clarify, the fifth circuit already told governor abbott that these voter id propositions are discriminatory, and abbott knows
this, has been told by the courts, and is still continuing to support laws that he knows are discriminatory, as ruled in the court of law. >> the witness may answer that question and then the gentlelady's time has expired. mr. bernal: every chance they get. rep. ocasio-cortez: thank you very much and i yield my time. >> here's what we are going to do. votes have been called. we are just going to keep it going. i hope my friend, congresswoman norton, is still on the call, because being the represented of the people of washington, d.c., she doesn't have to go vote and i am hoping she can fill in for me. we've got some very distinguished representatives who are still yet to do their question. i am going to go ahead and call unrepresentative to lea -- call on representative talib for her five minutes of questioning. >> i would insist, as we have normal regular procedure, that
we go back -- as you know, they have called a vote. i would insist that in that place, because you and i only one minute ago agreed we would continue, and i am for continuing. but we would still, the republicans would have a chance to respond for five minutes. >> is there another member -- i mean, we are trying to get through all the members. >> that may be true, sir. they have, as you know, gone to vote. i am going to say that i believe that rather than 25 minutes of straight democratic members, that the republicans be given a five-minute, and then the democrats be given five m inutes. i can go and get some. you and i cut a deal in minute ago. >> forgive me, and i am trying to honor that you. i am told that it was your staff that told us that he was not here and we should go ahead. >> that did not mean go ahead,
that we would not allow republican in that place. >> i think two republicans can go in a row, right? >> yes. we are going to get through this just fine. every member of this committee is going to get the right to question. >> you and i agree with that. i just wanted to know what the rules are. >> i am going to make sure every member gets question. i am not going to try to cut anybody out. ms. talib has been waiting patiently. you are recognized. >> thank you so much to both of you as we continue this really critical hearing. you know, thank you, chairman raskin, for really wanting to put this forward. thank you to all of the honorable representatives of the american people who risk so much for the rights and freedoms of so many. i want you all to know, i always have john lewis right over my shoulder as a reminder that we
sometimes, in a nonviolent way, have to push back against oppression and injustice. you all are doing it. i think it is extremely patriotic, what you are doing on behalf of your residence, and please don't allow my colleagues to intimidate or bully you. you know what the risks were, but also, you know what is at stake. i just want you all to know your inspiring, your courage is inspiring to me. some colleagues continue to not like the title of this committee. well, how about weekly or, you know, [indiscernible] things like the election was stolen. i am so appalled by those who continue to enable that kind of rhetoric that really brought so much violence on january 6 to this capitol. it was not my immigrant neighbors here at the capital. they are not attacking our
democracy, and continue to attack people of color and those that [indiscernible] with the reason that the outcome of this election was not in their favor. just to remind my colleagues, please, you all won with the same system of democracy. you won your election with the same system. the former impeach president won the election with the same system you are trying to tear down, that you are trying to dismantle, that you are now saying is fueled with fraud. if i make, i think it's important to put into the record an article that says texas had an outside presence at the capital insurrection. let's be clear, these republican voter suppression bills took pains to avoid mentioning race, but they are aimed directly at
american voters of color, which is a blatant, disgusting attempt to return to jim crow disguised by expensive washington consultants and lobbyists. we all know what this is about. we know this is because of -- this playbook isn't new. 2016, a federal judge struck down similar efforts in north carolina, where they wrote "all of the provisions target african-americans with almost surgical precision." in fact, had cures for problems that did not exist. now, the texas legislature, michigan republicans, i might add, are now doing everything they can to make it harder for my black and brown neighbors across the country to vote,
wanting to employ these very tools to use the new requirements for mail-in voting to suppress voters of color. these proposals create intentional confusion regarding ids and requirements designed to trick individuals and really intimidate individuals from voting. i know we have talked a little bit about the. knowing my mother who is an emigrant, it would have devastated her to have that happen to her as she went to exercise her vote. they also are threatening jail time to elected officials who solicit mass mail in voter registrations. all of us have done that, go vote, have your voices heard. now you are going to put handcuffs on those people. this provision would put election officials in jail. i cannot see any good faith reason why political parties would be able to help people
vote but not nonpartisan election officials. these bills in texas, michigan, and countless others being pushed by my republican colleagues, they are an attack on our american democracy. they failed, and now they want to cheat. they want to somehow dismantle anybody that looks like me or has a name like mine to be able to go vote freely. it makes me angry, because they all benefited from that same system, they all are and their places of power because of that same system. and now, because the impeach president did not win, they are putting this man before their country. but they do not [indiscernible] have the courage to make it stand.
ms. thompson, i would like to close by hearing your voice here, which has been very powerful. why do you think republicans are pushing to make it harder to vote and going so far at want -- as wanting to jail election officials? >> the witness may answer that question and thank you very much for your questioning. ms. thompson: i think there is a change of the demographics of texas when we have 84% of the people of color that makes up the population by 29 bring people, and only 16% of people who has been controlling file threat at this particular time. >> thank you very much for that answer. here's what we are going to for both biological and parliamentary reasons, we are going to take a 15 minute break,? ok? ? the witnesses have requested some time so everybody can go use the restroom, make a call, whatever you need to do. we will all go vote and we will resume here in 15 and we will be
-- 15 minutes and we will be going to the republican side and we will continue to make sure every member gets there questioning. we have a temporary recess. [gavel smashes] >> [indiscernible chatter] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]