tv U.S. Senate Sen. Sullivan on Voting Rights CSPAN January 19, 2022 3:18am-3:33am EST
, we joined together. wouldn't that send a wonderful signal to a fractured nation if we did that today and stood up and said, we're going to vote. we're all going to vote. we're going to vote yes or no, but we're going to let people of our state know how we voted, we're going to let the american people know how we voted. we'll say why vietnam. i would wish we vote as we did before to all americans -- republicans, democrats, independents, any part of this country -- we want you to vote. we'll urge you to vote the way we'd like, but we want you to have the ability to vote even if you are vietnaming -- votes for our opponents or for a different point of view. the most important thing as americans, as united states senators, is to say we stand for the right of people to vote.
infamous speech by a president of the united states. let's just say it didn't really go very well, the president's speech. i ask all americans to take a look at it. it's quite disturbing for a whole host of reasons. the president's speech was almost universally panned, on the left even, on the right, in the center. i have not seen one u.s. senator come down on the floor this week to defend it. it will be interesting as we debate these issues. if anyone does. but i doubt there will be, and there are many reasons for this.
as a speech by a president, it was remarkably divisive. in essence, calling every senator, democrat or republican, who doesn't agree with him, a racist and a traitor. read the speech. it was historically absurd, invoking the sacrifices of the civil war and heroes like abraham lincoln and villains like jefferson davis to present-day circumstances. it was profoundly unpresidential, as senator mcconnell stated, rhetoric completely unbecoming of a president of the united states, and as an attempt to get senators, especially democrat senators, to vote the way in which president biden wants them to vote, it appears to have been a monumental failure. i wonder why, mr. president.
well, of course, here's why. calling someone a racist and traitor is not the normal, logical route to try to persuade one to come over to your side. and neither, mr. president, is claiming that republican senators and republican legislators in states and republican state voting laws are so-called jim crow 2.0, when your very own state's laws in terms of voting are some of the most restrictive in the country. this is a narrative i hope our friends in the media will keep an eye on during the debates this week. what am i talking about, mr. president? well, first and foremost, i'm talking about majority leader schumer and joe biden and their
states -- new york and delawaref the most restrictive voting laws in america. let me repeat that -- some of the most restrictive voting laws in america come from the majority leader's state and the president of the united states' state. and yet, listen to their rhetoric. listen to their rhetoric. republicans in republican states are, quote, jim crow 2.0. mr. president, i was on the floor last week talking in particular detail about my state's laws. we're all different states here, but i know my state's laws. i know them well as it relates to voting rights. and here's one thing i said last
week -- in some of the most critical issues in terms of voting rights legislation, early in-person voting, automatic voter registration, and this chart here, no-excuse, absentee voting, the republican state of alaska, the great state of alaska has voting laws that are significantly more expansive than the laws of new york, than the laws of delaware, than the laws of connecticut, than the laws of massachusetts, than the laws of new hampshire. it is a long list, mr. president. a long list. and you can see why senators like me, my constituents, in particular find it more than just a little bit annoying when you have these smug arguments of republican states being jim crow 2.0. let me give you another particular one as it relates to
new york, the majority leader's home state. my state has no-excuse absentee voting. we've had that for many, many years. many years. now, the state of new york just had a statewide referendum to have same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting to meet the high standards that we have in alaska. now the people of new york recently rejected that. i don't know why. i'm not from new york. i'm sure they had what they thought were good reasons to do that. but if the majority leader keeps coming down calling republican states that restrict voting jim crow 2.0, is he going to go to times square and call his own constituents jim crow 2.0 relative to my great state
because they just rejected doing this, restricting voting rights according to the majority leader and the president of the united states. there's something really wrong here, mr. president, on these arguments. and it's not just new york, and it's not just me making these arguments about where other states are. and again, my argument here is not to say, well, everybody should be like alaska. in the constitution, the founders gave the states the fundamental right and obligation and responsibility to design their state's laws in terms of voting. but what is really difficult to swallow is that so many of the arguments we're going to hear this week, we heard last week and we heard from the president of the united states come from elected officials, u.s. senators and the president, a former senator, who come from
states who have some of the most least restrictive voting laws in the country. and again, mr. president, it's not just me making this argument. this is an article, mr. president, i submitted for the record last week from the "atlantic" magazine. not a republican mouthpiece by any measure. i'm going to read extensively from this article. it came out last year, because it really makes the point i'm trying to make. quote, biden has assailed georgia's new voting law as an atrocity akin to jim crow in the 21st century for the impact it could have on black citizens. but even once the g.o.p.-passed measure takes effect, georgia's citizens will have far more opportunities to vote before election day than their counterparts in the president's
home state. where one in three residents is black or latino. to republicans, biden's criticism of the georgia law smacks of hypocrisy. they have a point says duane benefiting, a voting advocate with the aclu affiliate. the state, the state of delaware, is playing catchup in a lot of ways. the article goes on, mr. president. quote, delaware isn't an anomaly against president's date strong holds, it presents the president's party with an uncomfortable reminder. although democrats like to call out republicans for trying to suppress voting, the states they control in the northeast make casting a ballot more difficult than anywhere else.
mr. president, i'm going to read that again. i'm going to read that again. because it's an issue that no one's talking about in a really -- and it really smacks of hypocrisy when i see some of my colleagues making had these great arguments about jim crow 2.0 in republican states. here it is again, the "atlantic," delaware isn't an anomaly against democratic state strong holds and its example presents the president's party with an uncomfortable reminder. although democrats like to call out republicans for trying to suppress voting, the states they control in the northeast make casting a ballot more difficult than anywhere else. unquote. then the article goes on to say. quote, connecticut has no early voting at all.
holy cow. my state has early voting. we had it for years. in new york's -- and new york's onerous rules force voters to change their registration months in advance if they want to participate in a party pry playery. alaska -- primary. alaska just changed that. the article goes on. in rhode island democrats enacted a decade ago the kind of photo i.d. law that the democratic party has labeled, quote, racist, when drafted by republicans. a little bit of hypocrisy there. the article goes on. the state, rhode island, also requires voters to get the signatures of not one but two witnesses when casting an absentee ballot.
only alabama and north carolina are similarly strict. the article goes on. according to a new analysis released this week by the nonpartisan center for election, innovation and research, delaware, connecticut, and new york rank in the bottom thirds of states in their access to early and mail-in balloting. and, as i just said, new york just rejected it again. you really wonder if the majority leader is going to come down and call his citizens jim crow 2.0. mr. president, this is a very important issue. and here's the bottom line. before any of my democratic colleagues come to the floor this week with their insults, with their smug, offensive, inaccurate arguments about jim crow 2.0, racist, traitors,
mimicking the president of the united states last week in georgia, i want my colleagues to come and answer this simple question, a very simple question. why should we listen to you? why should any american take you seriously?when so many of you come from states with the most restrictive voting laws in america? i wonder if any of my colleagues will come down to the floor, particularly those like the majority leader, who loved toed rant about jim crow 2.0, when their states are leading the charge in america on restrictive majority whip. mr. durbin: this past weekend, yesterday in particular, w