tv Election Assistance Commission Chair Benjamin Hovland Testifies at House... CSPAN February 17, 2021 3:09pm-4:30pm EST
president biden nominee for attorney general, judge mary garland testifies before the senate judiciary committee a minute, for his confirmation hearing. watch our live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span and cspan.org this life c-span radio app. you're watching "c-span2", your unfiltered view of government parentheses bento was created by a markets cable television company. and today brought to you by the television company to provide "c-span2" two viewers as a public service. it. >> assistant commission chair benjamin testifies before a house subcommittee on his assessment of the 2020 election cycle and the challenges posed by the pandemic. this runs an hour and 15 minutes.
this is with benjamin hovland . >> let's just a few housekeeping matters. it designated by the chair. [inaudible]. when not under recognition for purposes of a nominations background noise. members are responsible for muting and amusing themselves. and those who have not a muted themselves them will ask you if you would like to have the staff and you'd you. if you give approval by nodding, that will unmute your microphone. i remind all members and witnesses that the five-minute clock still applies and there's a technology issue, we will move to the next member until "the issue is" resolved . and you'll retain the balance of your time for unit the notice the clock on your screen that will show how much time remains . and at one minute remaining the clock wille turn yellow . by 30 seconds, i will gently tap the gavel to
remind members that the time is almost expired. when the time has expired, the clock will turn red and it will begin recognize next member . in terms of the speaker we will follow the orders set forth in the house was beginning of the chair and ranking members. the members present at the time the hearing is called, to be recognized in order of seniority and finally members not present at the time the hearing is called, and finally the hospitals. [inaudible]. with set up an e-mail address for members can submit in writing and any of our hearings by markey freighted that e-mail address has been provided in advance to your staff. before give up my remarks, my rankingg members for the very first subcommittee hearing. we gain a few new members and i would like to welcome them as well and i'll return to the
subcommittee members. i keep my opening statement brief so we can get right into the questions. i want to welcome benjamin hovland chairman and he ensures our elections are fair and secure and accessible. thank you for being here today. these well known that are foreign adversaries even reach our u.s. elections, to varying s degrees in 2016 and 2019 and 2020 elections. u.s. officials at all levels of government support tirelessly to address vulnerabilities in our election systems. as a result, the 2020 election was declared the most secure in american history by the previous administration's own department of department of security. the officials were able to achieve this amid a global pandemic is even more
demonstrable. however, is not the time to acclimate vision accomplished . in the 2020 election, we know there was malicious activity from foreign adversaries, leading up to election day. the threats to undermine our constant and every evolving. our enemies will not be taken a break sunday to delete . this can any has helped any countless efforts to address this issue. since the year 2018, 805 million face to improved election security . [inaudible]. an additional 400 million last year to the 2020 elections during the pandemic. as we know, responding to the state, eac, and i hope you can help us better understand what the states and how they are currently spending the money. we have made significant and important investments in the address.
and the sporadic nature has tempered the ability for the state to spend the money more quickly. it i'm curious to know you thought that consistent year after year funding help improve the rate in which the states spend. and the interviews that you might have to incentivize state to get the money out the door fast we also want to hear about helping election officials improve the administration of elections . in of americans despite in the involving process. we must ensure the agency has sufficient funds to do so. after the funding was slashed in half by 2019, eac significant infusion of funds since the year 20 . in the upward trend providing agency with 17 million . as he was continues to face threats to our elections, now more than ever, we must ensure that eac has the necessary resources to provide vital support to the states and the public. i look forward to hearing from
the commissioner benjamin hovland this morning and what additional tools we need for safety security and accessibility of our elections pray to before i return to her witnesses for a statement, would like to recognize a ranking member for opening remarks. you need to unmute. do you need me to unmute you sir? [inaudible].
[inaudible]. mike: is he there. >> can you hear me. mike: we sure can . >> i apologize. it may have been my earbuds that were denying my audio from going through party to pay, thank you mr. chairman and is going be with everyone this morning . no the chairwoman is talking about the freezing rain and connecticut this morning . think northwest arkansas is winning the prize today . and if i heard correctly, are news this morning, the previous overnight low in northwest arkansas was about 4 degrees. that was the previous record. this morning or before 6:00 o'clock when i went to my breakfast table for my morning coffee, our temperature this morning in arkansas was minus 15. that was 15 below zero.
and that's . chicago. that is correct . which explains a lot about chicago. butr nonetheless, god four - 6 inches of snow over the last couple of days b . were going to get hit again tonight with another three or 4 inches of snow before we get into a warming trend by the weekend afraid of it is great to be with you . chairman thank you for your kind words . and i want to say hello the big shout out to our witnesses this morning happens to hail from my district 40 is from arkansas and in native and went to college at the university and arkansas were delighted to have him here today. great honor to the member on financial services. steve: this subcommittee is charged with funding with impacting nearly every american in our nation. the tax administration in the white house and the courts and a lot more . to look forward to
working with my chairman quickly . and at the end of last year, despite her political differences the committee was able to fulfill our article one duty . . complaining 12th of fresh along with the covid-19 relief which was enacted into law in a bipartisan basis . the spirit of unity and consistency should be continued as we work to advance appropriations bills in the coming months . in a return to today's hearings, each of us recognizes the importance of securing the security and integrity of the nation's elections . fundamental our democracy. in arkansas effective in a reliable system and we go to the polls. the election assistance commission has important job assisting state and local election officials and by administering the developing best practices and acting as a clearinghouse of election administration information. we are grateful for that . the coronavirus pandemic challenged state andt local election officials across country, as it
were to modify their election processes to ensure voters can exercise their rights in the safe environment . is navigated these new circumstances, they also maintained focus on potential cyber security vulnerabilities, the voter registration systems, voting machines and systems that tabulate and display the election results . i'm placing commission's work closely with the department of homeland security's cybersecurity and infrastructure security agencier commands to make surecu the stae and local officials better understand the threats they face and how to mitigate them. and i hope these partnerships between the federal government the state and local election officials to grow. i don't want to see the heavy-handed washington bureaucrats dictates state and locall officials how their actions must be administered or what equipment to use. keeping the administration in control of the states as part of the bedrock system that is served americans since its
founding. passively the state should be the election executions. not only does it incentivize the effective judgment and decision-making but with our national debt, in excess of 20 trillion and growing it also recognizes the harsh trajectory faced by unbridled spending. we need to be targeted and direct federal tax dollars to the areas of the greatest need. i think the chairman for holding this area and i look forward to hearing from a witness and back balance of my time. mike: thank you sir before we go to our windows, were honored to be joined by chairwoman it of the appropriations committee. there she is. >> good morning, good morning. it is wonderful to be with you .
and i think you targeted and obviously an honor to be chair of the appropriations committee and i'm going to try to make his any of these hearings as i possibly can. it's a pleasure to join with all of you today . on it to recognize chairman mike quigley and ranking members steve for organizing this hearing and i think you the assistance orcommissioner . it will testify thise morning. i think the subject of today's hearing is so critical for unit and we need to look at the steps that we have taken to secure our our democratic systems and i know that is what we are going to hear about this morning. almost 400 years ago, our democracy was counting on the premise that all people are created equal and the right to vote with each generation to ensure the democracy. and today in some respects we have seen that challenge. and for four years now, right to
threatened by foreign adversaries and this year, by challenges we've had at the state level. as an opportunity to provide or discuss the resurgence after years of the agencies of being underfunded in previous congress as . i look forward to hearing more how you plan to continue to expand your ability and to support the state efforts to enhance election security. increase access and other activities to approve the administration of federal elections . there's not that long ago that we have these conversations. open america vote act of 2002 and broad reforms to the administration and federal elections. in the act established the eac in these vulnerabilities. as the chairman pointed out the moment ago, to our detriment
between 2010 and 2019, the funding was cut by nearly 50 percent annually. it's inconsistent and insufficient federal funding has hindered the ability of eac and state and local election officials to combat very real threats to election security. the rise of misinformation in the coronavirus pandemic have only further complicated these efforts. thank you to chairman quigley for thed first significant allocation of funds to enable the eac to increase the staffing to expanded the agency support to the election officials in 2020. and again, the fiscal year 2021, and then chairman in the ranking member party to further increase the eac funding to $70 million . increase hashe enabled the eac o rebuild the staffing which was
already doubled in the past year. and expanded the agency, our support, by the state election officials. and that is just a start . still considerable proof for improvement. to implement necessary election security measures. but no voter ever have to choose between their health and their right to vote in 104 core responsibilities on this committee is to ensure that the agencies under our purview safeguard americans elections processes . in our democracy. in the eac is a national clearinghouse for information on election administration and accessibility. and the only federal agency completely dedicated to election administration. now more than ever, we need to provide the necessary resources for the protection of our democracy, secure our elections. and thank you again for your
work and i look forward to hearing the testimony on this very important subject . i yield back now. mike: thank you and we look forward to your leadership. i would like to bring on our guest today. chairman of the election assistance, benjamin hovland. sir, thank you for being here. please go ahead with your opening statement . benjamin: thank you members of the subcommittee and chairman. i appreciate the committee's invitation to testify on the work of the eac and the impact of the election security and response grants provided by congress to the states. the story of elections administration in 2020, cannot be done without acknowledging the tremendous job of what
everybody did while facing unprecedented challenges . with a record of nearly 160 million americans voting in the november general election, in the middle of a global pandemic, the effort required to conduct this election and the officials have managed this deserve our thanks and our praise. the politics in the aftermath of the g november election distracd any from how the election was run. i can unequivocally say this was this best d administered electin that i have seen in my career. any reasons for the success sports target first and foremost, that's a public servant, to runel the electionsn cities and counties across the country and their personal health on the line and worked countless hours for their voters in our democracy. a federal grant money also played an essential role in assisting the election officials with some of the challenges they faced . in 2018, congress has appropriated $805 million. this has helped to replace outdated voting machines and
replace statewide voter registration databases and creating innovative new programs like cyber navigators and address head on, some of the resources and challenges of our decentralized election system . and provided for countless hours of training for staff to be on alert and prepare and respond to common attack efforts. the critical impact of this funding combined with the impressive efforts of state local and federal partners is giving me complete confidence of the infrastructure governments in coordinating the executive committees since the november 3rd election was the most secure in our nations history . . additionally $400 million provided from the, enabled the 2020 election officials addressed some of the additional costs associated with running but the largest absentee ballot that most jurisdictions have every stories and making whole places for voters and election workers . eac was part
of the work we did to administer these grants . and appreciate this committees trust for us to do the job . the recent fighting increase that eac from congress also increase our capacity to assist election officials during this challenging time. from an all-timeis low operating elected $7.9 million. the increase in that made for an exciting time and eac . expanded eac workforce by hiring experts in important areas of our work. including critical positions across the department . throughout the 2020 primaries and general elections, the eac provide much needed assistance to the election officials . by chairing the elections infrastructure during the covid-19 working groups, we were able to leverage partner ships with state and federal workers. we also developed new guidance both in public forums on pandemic related concerns and
closely monitored innovative preparations and encouraging election officials to share the challenges targeted these efforts included dozens of educational videos and materials for election officials highlighting including best practices . in specific concerns related to covid-19 and the use of the cares act funding. other efforts including creating eac cyber access and security programs . which provided security best practices and other assistance for election officials to protect the critical election infrastructure . eac also established the first ever national worker recruitment date. the national recruitment efforts in alleviating concerns about the significant of workers due to the pandemic.bo while we acknowledge the success of the state and local election officials to administer the 2020 elections, this also knows that there's much work to be done . since the 2020 election, is
taught is that our democracy is precious and that we must invest in it to make a stronger and we must constantly seek to improve it. as the electionci infrastructur, the government wide approach to rnfinding elections and the security is needed . and the infrastructure of our democracy, it's important to understand the need for consistent investment and maintenance to a chart that we remain strong . we appreciate the eac ongoing effort . they help assist state and local officials during this unprecedented time. job requires the proper level investment to ensure lasting success . eac is prepared to play an increased role in this pursuit. we look forward to our continued partnership with that some committees in this process . thank you. and i am happy to answer any questions you may have. mike: thank you soin much.
we have rapid success but some conflict freedom going to let mr. bishop go first just because he has one and then shortly thereafter he has another. so i recognize mr. bishop. benjamin: thank you very much mr. chairman and thank you for your testimony and all that eac has done over the past year . let me get right into the questions and i will try to be brief as i can. i want to talk about the male in voting. if the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has presented any challenges. we want to minimize exposure by the hundred million americans work there for you mentioned the cares act and provided client
million dollars . can you tell us on the funding was used. during this mail and an absentee voting. in the accessibility was crucial in keeping americans safe but any were voting in person. and finally another subject very near and dear to me. i had a conversation at a meeting just yesterday with national federations and they raised serious concerns about accessibility for the voters. and they were particularly concerned with legislation that could ensure that americans disabilities have the same opportunities as independently as other voters. bishop: and they have indicated with the absentee and the male in votes, that sometimes it is
very difficult for them to act for obviously, is not a braille . they would like for the eac and for congress to look at some ways to assure they can be communicated accurately. and effectively and that they can respond. based on the current processes, thank you very much . and can handle that. i will yield back. benjamin: thank you congressman bishop per unit as mentioned, the cares act was a big deal for state in the localities to get this money during the pandemic. as i mentioned, most jurisdictions facing the largest elections it has ever had . filming the people are used to having their own absentee
ballots. we know from the election administration and the voting surveys that about 25 percent of americans voted that way. in this year it will be close to 50 percent. but some of the things that is important of getting that money out and getting it early like it was. a lot of people, possibly some things that were done manually were able to be done automatically to handle that volume. covid-19 joint working groups, that worked with election officials and private sector. to defy best practices and we had one of the benefits we had election officials from washington and oregon and utah and colorado. who have been implementing the vote by mail and expanded absentee ballots. for decades and were able to share some of those lessons learned with their colleagues who do not have the luxury at times. to ramp it up.
so that made a humongous difference in those preparations that eac, we did videos of those officials to share with people to produce various guides. ame lot of it was to get the moy early to account for those short timelines for you also mentioned me in person to making that is safe as possible and again the joint working group address a lot of those issues . they also work with the cdc to issue guidance on how you make polling places as safe as possible for the voters in the poll workers . you saw a lot of innovations from one time use things to reduce contacts in regular contact . and appearances instead of the i voted sticker. it andrs want to make sure the lead time to address your question about accessibility. absolutely agree with that . to help america vote act has created the election systems commission. it was in any ways the
accessibility piece. making sure that americans can vote independently and privately. we worked his sharereor that bet cactuses around that. i think there is more than we can do to make the examples accessible to more americans. different states have implemented different ways and i think we can go further than from the resource issues. but that the move act requires each state have a portal or blank ballot delivery for military and overseas voters. i think that we can do a lot to possibly even build a template or encourage those to become bothnd make sure those are secue accessible so they can be used as a great way to provide ballots for accessibility purposes as well. suet thank you very much.
once you think you mr. chairman. in thank you to our witnesses. couple of questions related to federal spending on elections. the cares act, if my numbers are correct . $400 million allocated to the states for the 2020 election cycle. related to covid-19. s the speaker speakers heroes at which was not enacted but did pass in the house. twice. it would've provided a traditional additional $3.6 trillion for this purpose . based on initial data, reported by the states, my understanding of the states only used about 270 million for about 60 percent of the 400 million provided in the cares package . so banks this question mr. chairman, was
a 400 million provided in cares, was it more than what the states actually needed. if in fact only about 68 percent of what was provided was actually used. >> thank you, you are right on those numbers. 270 million that we had those based on a report that the cares act language required. on february 28, that will give the big picture. that number in the low number on that will be about 70 percent of that was being used which was an important dorsum is using as you know, 20 percent that also triggered a lot of legislative to use the money. so the delays and challenges and
money when out the door was toward the end of the legislative cycle. or some had already ended and there were some issues with that. as far as getting funding at the door. what the number was exactly, this is probably the most extensive election that we have ever seen. he did see some private philanthropy covenant that i don't recollect ever saying. mark zuckerberg spent about $400 million. and again i talked to the people who distributed that. in the election officials and that was going to the basics. that was going t for ppe, that s going to different things to secure significantly enough polling locations and places have closed down because maybe there were senior centers and were not available. possible locations and didn't have room for socially
distancing for voters and staff. so it really is getting the right numbers are a little bit tricky. i have to dive down into some of the consistent issues that the chairman. . buts as far as that cares act money where it went to this year. hovland: our reference just a minute to go back on that heroes act. it was an amount nine times greater than the 400 million of the cares package. so let's just for the sake of the argument assume that the heroes act was enacted into law. what in the heck would we have done spinning 3.6 - million dollars per unit. >> i would say that go islanders. it. womack: i would thinknk again tt
any times when you look at the federal election fundings. the expirations days don't matter, the structure is what matters. when you look at talk about this more with the security grant. but the way the most of these grants are structured is they go to the state printable the state localities have different experiences very different needs and the election states. the bulk of the expenses with the elections administrations and most states is born at the local level. so that's important. i think that one of the things that i have seen in the house appropriationspr bills, has been mentioned 50 percent in-kind going to locals. it is very important. unfortunately it hasn't made it through the senate side yet . but it recognizes the costs are primarily borne out at the local level. but also announced that collectibility. top-down and bottom-up states in the way that they have
structured the election administrations around the country. >> ten plus years that i am certain congress is that invariably, the states and even further down at the local levels, state and county levels. they all want more of our money, they will want more money to execute missions that i think are dependent on them to do predilections as part of it. and we shouldn't have a role in helping people technical assistance on what have you on elections. it just goes without saying that the more that we do in this particular case because of the covid-19 situation, i was more of a one-off normal. that is normal and the more we do we become reliant on those kind of packages which lessons
need and prospective opinions to be able to cough up the money locally. have always believed emma former mayor. that is our money in place, were going to be very respected and how to administer that money. but if it's our money, were going to make sure that is spent for all the right reasons. the moneyft is gifted to us by another agency sometimes, it can be used a little more loosely. so i just wanted us to understand. i want all of my colleagues on this committee to understand it that we have the significant debt, over generations that we've had with god be careful not to allow more and more of the federal tax dollars to go forth what is normally paid for at the more local levels. i have a lot more to say about that but i i will reserve that r another time . think you and i will yield evaporated.
>> thank you. >> i'm interested in listening to the questions on both side of the aisle from our callings. and thank you for this important hearing . i will continue to be president these hearings but i don't want to detract from what our callings on this committee want to get at the core of this issue so thank you very much. mike: chairman, let me go ahead and ask a few questions here . about the money not being used. certainly the timing of that . we have certain issues and one of it was an issue that comes at the end from some general assembly stop meet often. but also do you hear from them.
and some of the issues why is not happening for it is a because it wasso so long without it to access their own almost trying level off the spinning over period of time recognizing the next year they may get zero from the federal government. >> thank you and all distinguish between the cares act funding this group and on security grant money. i think there's a little bit different. on the security grant, that's exactly) for a long time, we went without any additional money until 2018. so certainly, and a lot of states are wondering if that was the end of the money. , the federal money. make a part of it is likely, you
seen awe lot of this money be spent. but at the end of 2019, we were getting right into the cycle. id[inaudible]. it is difficult to deal with this in an election year but you also don't want to be making major equipment changes during the middle of intellectual election . there are states, i'll give you two examples . delaware were using the money. they got $3m dollars, minimum in f-18. the use all of that. it to assist 13 million-dollar purchase for equipments in delaware . they had three counties. and you look at louisiana, they're in the process of procuring a new statewide system. if projections is looked at as
being, about a 95 - $100 million purchase to cover their. in their federal proportions, both in 18 and 20, ends up to about 12 and a half million dollars. so again, significant portion but they are still looking to get a significant state and local investment. as soon as that procurement goes through, they will have spent down to zero. so you have sort of this buckets. arkansas has grants to a lot of their counties the news all of their money . different category, illinois. he recognized out some counties just don't haveti the needed or resources for cyberh
professionals . these employees have a regional responsibility. there are a handful of counties they are responsible for. so last overtime. to be consistent of the nature of the cyber security challenges . so the rate is low. and in the louisiana category, just on the verge of a major procurement. another example, i heard recently, they expect he is a all the money from the remaining money replacing their state wide registration voter database. but that's not something they wanted to do in the middle of the presidential election cycle. >> you have an exact report . >> yes we get reported to us on a fiscal year . and we get her have reporting through september
of 2020 . and he actually at the end of the year they provided to us. were still working with a couple of states toth make sure that we have that accurately. and then provide a report. but the picture come evincing that money is significant. it's not enough to cover some of the major purchases like voter machine placement . summer going through and prioritizing. maybe is cybersecurity training for staff. or other programs. but a lot of that is making sure each state individual risk is prioritized . >> thank you.
>> while we are playing with the camera. there it is . i just joined in to this so i will yield back. >> thank you. next person. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i'm looking forward to being here and i appreciate it . german i did have a question around your last election but really moving towards voter misinformation. there's a poll last month, 37 percent of the voters think that there was fraud in 2020 election. of course you so it happened on january 6. it's a three-part question one what was the role in combating misinformation about collections
and two, but in the proactive steps to protect between now and the 2022 men term to give americans confidence in three, june the resources to help towards that and for 202012 and 2024. hovland: thank you for that an absolutely a great question. it's very important. as mentioned earlier, think there's a lot of benefits a big get to our decentralized election system. the assistance from the vote by mail states and how to ramp up rated the one of the real challenges that we have to recognize this decentralized system makes it more susceptible to misinformation and disinformation for it is just harder to combat because each state runs a little bit differently. as i think that when we look at what we do on that.
the national association of secretaries of state. 2020 and trying to get there election information from state and local election officials. that's important but i think we can do a lot more . a lot of calls. our election administration and voter surveys, we received a lot of facts about how elections are run. i think with adequate resources, i would love to see us establish a one-stop shop website to help with voter education and help with the fact f checking. and have that information directly from the state about the various ways that the administration deadlines. there are rules for voting but have them in one place. i think that our effort to
create national poll worker recruitment day where we have the help america vote .gov website . can have national campaigns to the point people to one central location. but then that website gives people basic information and then point them to their state election officials. think that's a model with how we can do a broader election information of education educate the public around the process of voting give them the accurate information to their states and to the jurisdictions . and that will take more resources. >> thank you . in just a question as far as in your opinion, we capable of anticipating threats interstates capable of doing that. providing infrastructure the states that need it . hovland: i think we've done a
great deal of information sharing . part of the reason i am comfortable about making that statement of the 2020 election. it that information sharing with the state local and federal levels. it the designations help with that . in the election infrastructure information sharing andnd analysis. almost 3000 members . and really have a level of disability and. [inaudible]. that we have never had before . chairman quickly hit on it earlier. it aboutng the annual funding streams. think that is more for one piece of it. the nature of the cybersecurity threats in the ongoing threats and the fact that it is a national security issue . means there is realth value to havinga piece of federal funding that is known to be dependable and plan
around. and also there's a federal portion of the ballots. this is national security issue. just the federal piece bring the state and locals going primarily responsibleti. you need to come up with the rest. talks about the whole of ecgovernment. >> think mr. karen and i yelled back. mike: thank you. i'm sorry. >> hello everyone. first of all i want to take this time to thank our elections across country. i have a question for you mr. benjamin hovland . back in october, two right wing
individuals were charged in connection to racist and discouraged around 12000 black residents in detroit. in other u.s. cities for voting in the november election then telling them the voting by mail in the upcoming elections was subject to their arrest and debt collection enforced vaccine. what we need to do to find this misinformation campaign from our citizens particularly in the underserved communities in the black and brown communities. the public engagement campaignmp is the ac wanting to do to combat this information. do we know that the elections securities and what we struggle with the most this last election, was misinformation.
i would like a response here thank you. hovland: thank you . and that is a great question . that is absolutely one of the biggest challenges. i think there were a lot of things that you hit on there. that are important to dive down into. one, we see more and more misinformation and disinformation both domestically but also amplified by foreign adversaries. it often mirrors voter suppression and that is a real concern. obviously should be enforced by the doj or a local prosecutor. but your main point, i think that we can do more around the voter education space. mentioned the one-stop website. i think that is a big deal. getting that trusted source of information to the voters. and having one place that you can point people to party to another thing i do not mentioned
earlier, the interagency agreement, on vote .gov. that's run voter registration . i think that is something that can be expanded on. i think you can have basic information and he is there to help reduce the failures. we know from various studies that a lot of people are not comfortable with just saying that they're not familiar with the process. they do not want to go into the polling place not understand it what is happening or maybe they don't know how the absentee voting works quite and even at the national level, think that we can do basic voter education videos to reduce that and peoples potential for being intimidated up with things like what you described. there is a lot of work that we can do there . to address the voter education and a lot of things, when you think about the fiscal impact, and recognize
that the ranking member what they said but when we can find those areas and the eac where you have this state impact or the federal investment level can save tax dollars around the country because you're not reinventing the wheel targeted that's a skill of the national approach. the ability to utilize other organizations and to amplify those messages at the national scale. and again a lot of success with national recruitment day. in getting amplified on a number of different places like celebrities and from various groups . he really saw a new generation of poll worker step up so any ways i think that's on the education level. >> okay, i am looking for a commitment for a public engagement campaign for misinformation. so you talked about a couple of
those things . partnering with the secretary of state so they can be automatic campaigns that address misinformation. the website is good. but there are robo calls going into the homes. isn't just to be committed financially, to your budget. and commitment that youou can me because misinformation, if we do not attack that and change that, we aree never going to get our election process to be sustainable. we fought through at this time and i am so proud of all of the engagements. ... ... -- member has joined us.
he is now recognized. >> i have been on the whole time. sometimes some of us may not have our cameras on. no worries at all. >> thank you for being with us and again, i member thank you for hosting let me ask my two questions and allow you to respond there a little bitan different many familiar with solar winds, it's a catastrophe actually in the cyber world and you need to understand do we have any evidence that any of our process and election were violated or compromised especially knowing it's been out there for a long time, second question you mentioned 00mr. zuckerberg's 400 million about $420 million he contributed to nonprofit private organizations safe election
projects being one of them but others as well, my concern and my question to you do you know how that money was spent and was it spent evenly, for example if we are private individuals coming in spending hundreds of millions of dollars in some places more than the federal government is spending let's say they target blue leaning districts were blue leaning states or another group comes in and targets red districts or red states, i think that would be problematic and obvious to both of us, talk to us about that, the funding of the private groups our ability to know how that money is being spent in is that influencing the outcome or could potentially influencece te outcome if it is spent in one district or another. >> thank you for the question first on the solar wind i have not seen any evidence that the
election was impacted against, some of the things in place this year to thatrt confidence 95% of americans vote on a paper ballot or paper audit trail in a number of the close dates we saw audits and recounts, hand inspection in georgia that reconfirm and i would think the solar winds as a reminder of the evolving nature of these challenges and basically the election officials did in amazing job this year and changing information sharing at the federal level but really a great reminder that the work has to t continue and that's the nature of the threats and challenges, as far as that the length of p, money to cover some of the covid expenses i have had
briefings on that it was available to jurisdictions all overer the country and went to counties ran by democrats and independents -- >> do you know how that money was spent, can use say x amount spent in here in x amount spent there. >> i don't have the breakdown that was not the money wee distributed it was important that that money came in on the pandemic rather than the ballot states and jurisdictions had to rely on thean philanthropy to be able to buy the basics and ppe expenses they had and socially distance or staff as they put their own personal health on the line to run our elections, again i'm glad it was there for the jurisdictions that needed it this year but i hope we can
remedy that in the future so we don't have to rely on private philanthropy in the space and i'm asking you if you could try to find the information, could you do that? >> i'm happy to have conversations and look into that and reach out. >> find out if you can't find out that the problem and we should be able to know that if is someone is contributing election oriented we should know how that money is spent and where that money is spent in the second thing to your point this is primarily to conclude or help with the expenses of covid but i set a precedent that will continue into the future and four years god willing were not dealing with covid and now do we think that we are private individuals who come in with hundreds of millions of dollars in targeting specific to the
state and that would be a real problem and i think we need to know that the problem were potentially could be the first way to deal with that and know where that money was spent, we would really appreciate if you would get back with us. >> thank you. >> i'm sorry mr. chairman did you say? >> thank you first of all commission chairman public tour committee thank you for being here with us today i'm not stressed that there is a greatly for you to work together with other federal agencies, other federal secretaries to ensure that everyone is working toward
the same goal when it comes to election security when it comes to delivery of the ballot, with thatd, in mind i have three isss that i would like w to address with you and that's a postal service with handicap in whatever word you may wish to used to describe what happened in those last two months and it caused a lot of domains under delays due to the pandemic state deadlines did not align with the reality of the male it's really a set up for voters to deliver their ballots on time. what role have they played in moving forward what role to ensure that state voting aligns
with reality and what additional steps can congress take to ensure the usps guarantees onon-time delivery of mail in ballots sent before the saturday before election day, on that same note surrounding in the last election it is imperative that voters have alternative ways of returning their mailing ballot such as drop boxes, however, we must ensure that drop-off boxes are placed in places that are secure and we establish minimum guidelines in my home state of california for example the dot placed more than 50 drop-off ballot boxes in los angeles in lawrence county which were fraudulently labeled as official ballot boxes and the
other issue was already mentioned by a previous colleague as it relates to assess ability. there are 7 million eligible voters individual impairments in all of these voters they have a legal right to vote under the american disabilities act and help america vote. what are you looking to do to help ensure that ballots someday are available to ensure that we have a voting system that is truly a personal vote and does not have to be disclosed simply because someone needs assistance from the other caregiver to fill out their ballot. >> thank you for those questions on the usps issue we work fairly
closely with u.s. ds and you mentioned on the state deadline that isn't new there was more focus on it this year, there is certainly something that state lawmakers balance in one hand you want to make absentee ballots available to people that may not have another option but if you allow for example some states allow for a request three days before the election it is not realistic it will make it both ways and transit and you will have different states with the postal indicator deadline or received by election date so those make a difference and we will continue to work on best practices -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt we cannot abandon our responsibility to ensure a federal election happens in the voters are not overcast.
that is your task so i hope you will come back to her committee and provide some input on what we can do to ensure there are minimum requirements for states to meet these guidelines. >> one thing that can make a huge difference a few years ago the federal assistance program or fs did a p pilot program with u.s. ts on into in tracking for the balance in my understanding you could go and in turn basically full domestic tracking for about $8 million at theki pt office, not only with the help election officials understand where ballots are, see problems that can be identifiednt immediately if there is ballots on a loading dock getting delayed but it would help voters have the confidence that they can see in transit both ways and
a lot ofon states have done that we saw that as a big improvement this year but if you have a uniform system implemented by the usps then people can build off that and do more off the baseline because it would be uniform across the country that's an immediate improvement that can happen. >> thank you mr. patrick is recognized. >> thank you chairman as you know over 90% of our vote is vote by mail which is a good thing we've seen an improvement in border participation because of that but we have many tribal areas andba rural areas that dot have service in my question, what are you doing to address
the rural areas especially tribal areas where they don't have daily mail service? >> thank you for that, it's hugely important issue you are right arizona permanent early voting has led to significant expansion into absentee balloting and that helps a lot of people but there are challenges with usps delivery, certainly that is something more aware of as we highlight best practices but one of the things that's a hugely important issue but one of the things that isth important to recognize is the nature of the ac were a small agency it was mentioned we were at an all-time low in 2019 and operating budget of $7.9 million and this year there was 17 but we pastor one and a half of that so we have $15.5 million
operating budget, that means to where we almost were a little below where we were with inflation a decade ago and you look at his sister agency like the federal election that does campaign-finance, there is $70,000,000.40 million was part of 1.5 billion sub agency, when you look at the 50 state jurisdiction and the breath of the challenges to election administration in this country and being in election a minute straighter has never been harder than it is right now and that the state and local level and also the federal level in a hundred billion dollar to take on the challenge that is expected of us, that does nots. happent overnight but is a example that needs to be tackled and when we look at our
statutory mandate and when we look at the things that were required under the help america vote act this is important and we want to work on and work on best practices but there's a reality to what were able to do with the resources that congress has given us. my other question has to do with violence at polling places this is an emotional election and marches in arizona, we had people angry, angry crowds marching to the polls and i just wonder two things are you seeing that having a chilling effect on volunteers who work the polls and you actually show the fact on the turnout? >> i think we saw all more this year in arizona was a hotspot in many ways, i think we saw more
of that in the aftermath of a number of election officials receiving death threats totally unacceptable and then put their personal help on the line in the democracy, people that care more about the integrity of our election than anyone else and so really completely unacceptable, really unfortunate, i hope that it doesn't scare people from getting into the states, i do think it was an extremely stressful year and there is a level of burnout amongst election officials but one more reason we need to recognize the work that they do provide sufficient resources, again the job has never been harder and that is the administration pieces but then the challenges that you are alluding to as far as around voter education to the process more people saw more of the process this year than ever
before, most people to tune in election night and see the preliminary results and tune out but this year we saw the audits, we saw people going through provisional ballots to figure out if someone was eligible or not we saw the campus and certification process and i think that was important but we could do more to educate people around it and we can do more to support our election officials aroundk the country. >> thank you very much mr. chair, i yield back. >> question chairman, is there anything you would suggest that we would do to incentivize the states to move the money out quicker? >> i think a few things on the security grant money i think there's a lot that ties into the timeline i mentioned it would've been consistent annual stream and a lot to plan for that accordingly, you could look at
expiration dates to 18 and 20 doesn't have expiration and again, that was the first real money to come in a long time, i don't know how people have confidence that there will be more but then you saw at the same time the expiration cares act money was too short and i think were happy our team does a great job working with all the states and were happy to work with your staff and try to work on the details that should involve talking to state and local election officials and part of the difference i mentionedve before that are pointed out at the state level and pulled out at the local level but i think there is a lot we y can do and were happy to wk on that with you. >> sure. >> do you have a follow-up question?
>> i'm trying to do hybrid where we don't have as much time and i wanted to finish up the opportunity. >> i do mr. chairman and thank you, i do appreciate the information you are giving us today. this is a question about misuse of funding, how are you organized, set up and how, this comes back to her oversight piece, how are we able to discern the misuse of funds if and when it happens and then what actions arere then taken, what prompts an id report that would have the ability to recover the misuse of funds, if you could talk generally about that particular subject. >> i'm happy to and when i
mentioned our budget earlier one that is important is that we spend a million dollars a year on our inspector general for an agency are size that is a huge portion of our budget even when our budget was down to $8,000,000.000000 was going to inspector general and that's because our inspector general's audit all the problem money they found tracks for a lot of that to audit this money and usually about five or six dates a year sometimes a little bit more, this year, arkansas, florida, kentucky, massachusetts, new mexico and west virginia were ngall audited and were looking t that money and looking how it spent in the receipts and making sure falls into categories that are allowed by congress qualifying expenses and then we provide those reports to you we
will continue to do that and move across the country and make it through that in those efforts were looking at cares money, security money, and states that have that in a big part of our role is helping in jurisdictions on theic front and providing information and resources and webinars allowed expenses in ways that can people use the money and auditing not to making sure that it's been used correctly. >> my final question mr. chairman, and education we have accreditation standards and accreditation facility set up of which to be able to monitor and judge just how effective our educationalns institution are, s there an accreditation standard and is there an accreditation platform by which our states are judged how to they carry out on
elections? >> with her decentralized election i would not say there's no federal standard, obviously we have a decentralized election system the ac is nonregulatory in a small agency you see things like the election performance index that is now housed at the mit election lab that is created by the charitable trust but that is a category that uses a lot of election administration and survey data in that there's a number of different ways you can look at it and i think a little different than a ranking standard but to your question earlier on resourcing and how we , get there one of the great things about the election assistance commission when commerce created the help america vote act was a clearinghouse responsibly there is so much more that we could do without but one of the big areas
to expandse into more is trainis because sharing those best practices that election officials discovered across the country but doing training can really help everyone get better in the fnc's we can realize with the tax dollars that we can save through that i think are significant and i think it's a critical mission for the agency in the. future. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> as we try to do a second round we recognize ms. torres if she has a follow-up? >> i do not mr. truman i will put a letter together. >> thank you. >> mr. patrick.
>> i have a follow-up. >> and you get closer to your microphone. >> my question what are your concerns about violence. [inaudible] >> my question has to do with adequate poll workers in turnout on every election and again, you see violence as having an effect onei that and being able to recruit volunteers? >> i think one of the things one of the real silverlining's
advice on this year's election and the primary you saw a lot of dropout around poll workers we know from the election a administration of voting survey is the majority of poll workers over the age 60 and we know recruiting poll workers is oalways challenging in 201870%f jurisdiction had some difficulty finding enough poll workers so in the primaries you saw the states that had primaries in the early days of the pandemic like wisconsin had a huge drop out and shut down a lot of polling places so it became clear it would be critical to have enough poll workers and that was part of why we launched the poll worker recruitment day there were also a lot of other efforts, poll heroes project, you saw employers giving people the day off and what it resulted
was a new generation of americans stepping up and serving as poll workers and it is my hope i served as a poll worker number of times and it's my hope their experience is similar to mine and they realize the customer service phase of our democracy and what they were there to do and did not have anything to do who people were voting for the simply they were there in your opportunity to make their experience withd the process be a good one, help the 18-year-old who is a little bit nervous or the senior citizen voting longer than you were alive give them extra assistance in the i voted sticker and thank them for coming out i know that was the experience i had as aho poll worker and i hope the new generation had that experience as well and we will see that make a difference in 2022 and 2024 because poll worker recruitment has been a challenge for a long time and i think it's something we need to continue to
amplify, i think we learned this year a lot of people didn't know it was a way they could serve in their community so i think we will continue to push those efforts but it is crucial. >> thank you so much and i i yid back. >> thank you. >> you didn't have a question the first time do you the second? >> i'm not sure if he's still with us same question if he's not there. >> no longer with us that is a
negative, whatap will do will wp up and i want to thank you for your service, your work and for your willingness to participate today, ranking member if you have anything else you want to say in closing. >> not at all but again good to have chairman with us, carroll county from arkansas and a you see a product and it's good to have you here and next tenure back in the third district of arkansas make sure i get a call, let me know. >> i want to thank all who helped put t this together interpret dissipate with the staff without standing these are difficult times and we look you all and asng we do next time we are adjourned, thank you.
>> thank you, chairman. >> officials from the disease control and prevention update the house subcommittee on the agency coping response. watch live thursday at 11:00 a.m. on c-span2. >> divided administration leading the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic although the latest at c-span.org/coronavirus search c-span coverage of news conferences as well as remarks from members of congress use the gallery of maps to follow the cases in the u.s. and worldwide. go to c-span.org/coronavirus. >> on january 3 more than 60 new members of congress were sworn to serve in the u.s. have house of representatives in the weeks of taking oath there been part of history the first few weeks included debating challenges to electoral college vote surviving an attack on the u.s. capital and voting on whether to impeach the president of the