tv John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky Our Broken Elections CSPAN August 20, 2022 12:55am-2:16am EDT
reagan's political career and american conservative movement author of several books including to an age of dragon series. witness and patriotism is not enough about the scholars who changed course of conservative politics in america. joining with your phone calls from a facebook comment, text and tweet. in-depth with steven hayward live sundays noon eastern on c-span2. ♪♪ >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual piece every saturday american history tv documents american stores and sunday's book tv brings the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including media,. >> the world changed in an instant the media comports ready to that tracking sold and we
never slowed down. schools and businesses went virtual and we powered a new reality because at media, we are built to keep you ahead. >> viacom with these television companies support c-span2 as a public service. >> welcome to the heritage foundation those of you in person and joining us virtually. i am speaking to you from washington d.c. where you need to show an identification and vaccine card to enter a gym or restaurant but you do not need to show idd to vote. it's the same in many states across the country. faster 2020 election for town council in eatonville florida was overturned by a judge and new winter declared because of voter fraud. the same thing in mississippi where a judge overturned result of the democratic primary, voter
fraud and voter intimidation. voter fraud may not make a difference in many elections, it certainly can and close once we have lots of close elections in this country. another problem is nobody really knows full extent of the voter fraud problem. since there are manyy border vulnerabilities making it easy to commit for fraud and difficult to catch after the fact that is if you can find a prosecutor interested in pursuing voter fraud cases after an election has occurred. one absolute truth i can tell you, it has h highly unlikely to find fraud if you don't father look for it. members of the mainstream media and politicians choose to ignore or belittle any discussion about voter fraud and quick to label any attempt to address it as
voter suppression or threat to our democracy. we are fortunate to have with us a distinguished panel to discuss various facets of this problem. i will introduce in the orderimn which they will speak and we should have time for questions at the end from her in person and virtual attendees so i encourage you to think abouts those questions and submit them. we will first hear from john fund. john is in national affairs columnist for national review, magazine and an analyst for foxn news. previous they serve as our columnist and member of the editorial board of the "wall street journal". his written articles that have appeared in dozens of publications. he's also written several bookss including three. /social which social office of his fellow panelists. the first is counting? monsters and bureaucrats but your vote at risk and the most recent this year, are broken
elections, how the left changed the way you vote. we will then hear from my colleagues, senior legal fellow an election law reform initiative at the heritage foundation. like john, is written articles have appeared in dozens of journals and articles and from what legal political commentator on various media outlets. before joining heritage, he served as a federal election commission, an agency that enforces campaign-finance for presidential elections and spent several years working civil rights division at the department of justice providing expertise and forcing the voting rights act and help america vote act and also served as a former vice chairman of electoral board at fairfax county virginia and member of the georgia board of registration elections and advisor to the u.s. elections
commission. t we will hear from the honorable ryan hughes. he's in his second term in the texas senate where he represents 16 counties in east texas and obtained undergraduate from university of texas where he's honored as outstanding alumnus and law degree from baylor university honor as a young lawyer of the year. while in the state senate crimea he's received numerous accolades including taxpayer champion award, defender of the americann dream award and horizon award in the texas right to life. ... secretary of state and it's the president-elect of the national association of the secretaries of state. he served in that role since 2018 after serving for nearly a decade as the first assistant secretary of state. since his election kyle has championed legislation to strengthen louisiana's election
laws and its cybersecurity including laws that ban ballard harvesting ballot trafficking and require managerial or managed service p require managed service providers to report too the secretary of state. because of these efforts has received national recognition by the elected assistance and various other organizations. last but certainly not least we will hear from jessica anderson. jessica is the executive director at heritage action for america where she is responsible for the vision and operator station of theon organization while working alongside the leadership of the heritage foundation to ensure both organizations are aligned in working toward common goals. jessica previously worked at heritage action as a vice president before taking leave to
join the trump administration as an associate director of intergovernmental affairs and strategic initiatives at the office of management and budget. we are certainly glad to have her back, just as received numerous awards including most recently the award for conservative leadership. with that, john, the floor is yours. >> thank you john. in 2000 the issue of election integrity of the administration of our elections stopped being so macho local and state issue and became a national issue with the bush gore race. americans realized sloppy backward in acquitted election system in many states could really impactt national policy. the presidential race was decided one state, florida by er537 votes. parties that we hao improve our election systems. and that resulted in the help of america vote act of 2002, which was completely bipartisan passed by. democratic senate signed into law by a republican president
its lead co-sponsor senator chris dodd a democrat from connecticut said the purpose of this bill is to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. we're americans we can do both at the same time. the first few years after that election integrity was still into a large extent a bipartisan issue in 2008 the supreme court by a vote of six to three upheld the constitutionality of indiana's voter id law and the opinion was written by the court's most liberal member at the time john paul stevens who recounted a long history of voter fraud and voter regularities and voters sloppiness in america and said the very integrity of our elections was at stake if people and he cited several polls which showed rising cynicism about the accuracy and completeness of our vote counts. he said to the extent that public cynicism was about the reliability of our elections. you're going to see voter turnout go down.
you're going to see less public confidence in our elections and ultimately less legitimacy in our government and the government officials who serve us unfortunately starting about 10 or 12 years ago that bipartisan makeup of the debate over elections started to break down dramatically under barack obama's justice department and hans and i have written a book about this the issue became thoroughly politicized as soon as barack obama took office one of his top justice officials held a meeting. and announced that a provision of help america vote act which specified that an exchange for the federal government upgrading election systems for states sending the money, they would have to submit to a culling of the roles a cleanup of the voter registration roles. which in most states are notoriously inaccurate the pew
research center in 2012 estimated that one out of six voter registrations was inaccurate unreliable or outdated and i think that starting with the obama administration when they decided openly to say we are not going to file any cases against states that don't maintain their rotor rolls. we're going to ignore that because that could decrease voter turnout rather than increase voter turnout. that's not what we're interested in. well if you have voter registration roles that are as an accurate as the ones many states have the people who are going to be sometimes voting are people who shouldn't be voting and one of the things our book emphasizes is that there are two civil rights that everyone in this audience has you have the right to vote freely without any undue influence any barriers? no poll taxes. no jim crow laws that we had up until the 1960s. no one should stand in a polling place location in any way shape or form block you from voting.
that's a civil rights battle that we fought in the 60s. we need to preserve and extend those gains, but everyone in this country also has a second civil right, which is not to have their vote canceled out nullified by someone who shouldn't be voting someone who's dead. look i believe in, you know, honoring our elders and honoring our ancestors, but i don't believe in representation without respiration and someone who's dead someone who's moved out of state someone who doesn't exist someone who's registered from a post office boxer vacant lot or who's a hasn't yet had rights restored when that happens election results are tainted illegitimate and people lose confidence in the election process. i'll just conclude by saying that it's unfortunate that the media in the last. year or so has decided to completely ignore one side of the story. the headlines are full of
articles about voters suppression alleged racism the big lie. we're not here to discuss that so much. in fact, i'll quote phil klein the former, kansas attorney general many on the left decried the lack of transparency prior to the 2020 election, but now that they've won their silent many on the right have improperly claimed definitive proof of fraud in 2020 instead of recognizing that all investigations and reviews of government performance begin with questions not conclusions. the result is a form of nuclear warfare where both sides engage in the mutual assured destruction, but accusatory sound bite bombs hoping to cancel each other meanwhile responsive government dies unquote. look there are two sides of the story. we just went through a long debate in the united states senate. over the let the people vote act. and the other side on this spent probably a hundred million
dollars. they had the 99% of the mainstream media on their side yelling racism in a crowded political theater. which led to incendiary charges and the president of the united states accusing opponents of this act of being modern-day supporters of jim crow and adherence to the philosophy of jefferson davis the president of the confederacy. it's time to turn down the temperature and it's time now that the bill has been defeated for us to actually step back and take a calmer look. and i think that that has to begin with recognizing that. there is a real debate. our systems are antiquated and outdated and sometimes you can't tell where the incompetence ends in the fraud begins and i'll give you just three examples from yesterday's newspapers and internet. in compton, california three people who had been accused of stealing votes in a city council election that ultimately ended up being decided by one vote pled guilty the city council member who was the instigator
apparently for that fraud has not pled guilty, but all of his associates apparently have compton by the way is 99% minority. that's 100,000 people live in compton in next door, hawthorne, california two people have been charged with submitting 8,000 fake voter registrations. this is in a city. that's 64% minority. one of the things that has been completely ignored the mainstream media is sometimes the biggest victims of voter fraud or minorities in areas where government is corrupt government is unresponsive government provides poor services. sometimes reformers try to change that and local political machines will take any action necessary including an up to include voter fraud in order to reform i've seen that happen and reported on it in detroit and milwaukee and saint louis in hawthorne and compton many other places. that's why minorities
surprisingly support voter integrity measures like voter id by percentages as high or higher. than the white population in fact the washington post survey of a few years ago found that minority populations asians blacks hispanics support election integrity measures and believe that voter fraud is a serious problem in a greater percentage than caucasians do why is that well, i'll give you one example. we have seen over and over again that voter fraud. does affect elections we saw congressional race in north carolina overturned by federal court had to be rerun and we've seen examples at the heritage foundation's website, which has over 1,500 documented cases of voter fraud. lastly there are some signs that in the wake of the for the people act being defeated in the senate. there are some signs that there's perhaps going to be
reevaluation in sundays new york times chris caldwell who's a contributing writer for the new york times editorial page had a very interesting piece in which he said the various iterations of the for the people act were case in point and how the media has distorted this issue. democrats monopolize the political argument for a year if there were a solid case their bill really was an emergency project to protect democracy. it would have triumphed by now. and he concludes by saying. voters of any background might for example be appalled by what happened on january 6 2021 of the capital, but they also might consider the intervention of infotech billionaires in the 2020 election to be a larger potential threat to our democracy mark zuckerberg's foundation gave upward to 400 million dollars to the nonprofit center for tech and civic life to help local governments organize elections under covid-19 conditions. it is hard to imagine that
anyone worried about the role of private wealth and prison construction or military contracting or public schools would welcome such a role in elections. whether this says anything about the presidential election of 2024 is unclear but for the time being writes called well in the new york times the republican argument against which the democratic argument is being measured does not include these factors. and i believe that if we are going to discuss this in the wake of the failure of the for the people act we have to have an honest discussion that they're two sides of the story and that the american people rejected the argument that this was only about voter suppression and only about preserving democracy after a hundred million dollars was spent on this. pulls by various organizations including the honest election project which is in this room proof conclusively the needle did not move at all on these issues the american people do believe our elections are
imperiled but they don't believe it's a simplistic one-size-fits all explanation. they do believe that we have to pay attention not just to the civil right of making sure everyone is able to vote but also that every vote is counted accurately and that people's rights are protected from fraudsters and from and from incompetent bureaucrats. thank you. can't it's hard to follow up with john but since we often write together and get someone to do that. look some years ago the heritage foundation john malcolm and myself. we got the idea that you know, we got reading stories in the washington post and elsewhere say there's no election fraud. we don't need to worry about it. so we started a election fraud database. so it's uniques the only one in the in the country we know of. it only has proven cases of fraud in it. someone's been convicted in a
court of law or a judge is ordered a new election like the elections that john was talking about. we're up to 1,340 cases. we now have three more cases to add the compton california cases. and you know what's happened is now now what the newspapers and others say as well. there's no widespread election fraud across the country and i'm going well. how widespread does it need to be before you want to do something about it particularly when you have elections close elections that get overturned and there's example after example of that the other problem, of course with this is and john mentioned. this is look prosecutors, unfortunately. are an interested in prosecuting and taking a lot of these cases? i know of many many other cases of potential that prosecutors have ignored. and a quick example if i may give it the public interest legal foundation. i'm on the board of that size my
work at heritage. they recently used the sunshine laws in florida to ask for. all criminal referrals from just 10 counties in florida criminal referrals where election officials found evidence that criminal violations of election laws that occurred from related to the 2020 election. they issued a report. it's available on their website a hundred and fifty six criminal referrals. from those counties nine of them nine out of the 10 and then they followed up check court records and everything. and do you know that the prosecutors local prosecutors knows nine counties did absolutely nothing about any of those criminal referrals. now if they had done something about that in those cases been proven. database would jump up quite a bit, but there are many many
instances of that unfortunately. so this this website shows again. it's a sampling of cases only it is not a comprehensive list, and it does not include. all the potential cases out there that aren't investigated by election officials and art prosecuted. by the way. remember i said they tried 10 counties they got information back from nine counties the 10th county hillsborough county said, oh the election official said, we don't refer any any of the cases we find a local prosecutor, so they're not even interested in investigating potential election crimes and going after that. so that's a real problem in this area now the other and this is a map. it's up on our website. you can click on any state. it'll pull up. the fraud case give you the details and most importantly give you citations to the source documents everything from newspaper articles to actual court cases as john it can tell
you before the last election. um several media outlets got together assigned 14 reporters. to not investigate possible problems in the election sphere but to investigate our database. to go through every single case. we had trying to find problems mistakes and they couldn't find a single one because we're very careful. the latest thing that we've done this was a huge project took a lot of work. we started this a year ago was we now have on our website our election integrity scorecard. because as you know, the heritage foundation, we don't just identify problems. we want to recommend solutions. and so what we did is we analyzed the election laws the we believe are important to election integrity and security. which are intended to protect voters our goal is both access
and security. and we compared it to a list of best practices. that we have recommended to the states on how they should do everything from handling the cleanup and maintaining the actually the voter registration roles. to how they should handle at the absentee balloting process to maintain the security of that process. and then we compare each state's laws. to our best practices now folks need to understand. this is not an analysis of the 2020 election. this is the status of the laws and regulations in each state as of a month ago. and remember what happened in 2021 a number of states acted like texas and senator hughes gate about that to try to fix. the vulnerabilities in their system which unfortunately exist and a number of states pass very good election reform bills,
florida, georgia, texas even arizona and a number of other states did that and so we rated each state a perfect score was a hundred. no, no state in the country. got a hundred. i think the highest score was 83 texas was pretty high. i think you guys were sixth but what that shows you is that while a lot of states have done everything they can to improve. the process to protect their voters, they're still room for improvement and the other big advantage of this is that we've also put up model laws on issues like voter id, for example, and this is going to be continually updated. so we're going to be doing a lot of work from now on every time states have their legislative sessions. we will update it now one final warning about this scorecard. you can have the best laws and regulations in the country. but if local officials the state officials don't comply with
those laws and don't enforce them there. they're not going to do much good and we're hoping that folks at the grassroots public, you know citizens. state legislators and others will use this to to not only put in good laws, but make sure that lectures are complying with the laws that have been put in place. by their state legislatures um each state you can click on it. you can get complete details. we explain our methodology what the best practices are that we think should be there 12 broadcast categories 47 different criteria, and this is work in progress. if folks think we have missed something if they think something needs to be corrected if they think there's another standard or criteria to criteria. they think we ought to consider. we want to hear about it. so we encourage folks to take a look at this analyze it look at our standards. look at our methodology and let
us know if there's anything you think we should fix. i hate say it, but they're another states that are at the bottom of the list because their standards are so bad and their election laws are are in terrible shape. and what does that mean? it means there's a lot of room unfortunately for fraud. if someone wants to commit it, and there are no security measures in place to really stop it or detect it. you can do it and you can get away with it and as the cases in our database show. there are folks who are willing to do that to get into positions of power. why is that well because as a now retired long time career lawyer. the justice department told me years ago. he had been responsible for prosecuting these kind of election crimes for many years. he said look, in many places whether it's big cities or rural counties. elected positions are positions
of power because jobs contracts money. are dealt out by local governments and people in some places unfortunately are willing to misbehave to get into those positions. so i want to thank everybody for coming today, but there's a lot more to be said about this and i think i'll end there john fine. thanks very much. my name is brian uses great to be here connecting with those who are here virtually and also also present important stuff and we're thankful for the work of heritage and each one here. i've gotten to work with each one on this panel and somebody in the room and and learning a lot. that's how federalism is supposed to work. right we learned from each other's mistakes and copy the good stuff and so with that texas did go through this in the last year election integrity is something we've worked on for a while in 2017. we had a male ballot reform bill was passed on a bipartisan basis
in 2019. we came back for more reforms based on what we hear from folks back home. it's not again. it shouldn't be a partisan issue as john said sadly it has become that and then in 2021 we came back with more reforms again in texas since we have a part-time citizen legislature. we are in session for normally $140 days every two years. i know mr. chairman better if it were two days every hundred the years but we're we're there for about five months every other year and and during that interim. we're back home back in our old jobs, and we see people at church and football games and at the grocery store and we have to give account for what happened what didn't happen we get we hear testimony from folks that way and also formally adhering and when we hear these problems whether it's about election integrity or education or transportation, we try to address those problems. so that's what this was about and it was an especially ugly debate this year because of all that was going on nationally, but the good news is common sense reforms got put in place many of these of course are not
partisan. none of them should be but many of them for example a paper backup right an auditable paper trail one of the part of the fallout from the health america vote act was launching everyone toward electronic voting and those direct recording electronic electric voting system was pardon me where there's no there's somewhat unfulfilling right when you vote on that electronic system and just poof you voted and some not just rednecks like me a lot of folks would have more confidence if there were a paper record. so if we have to do a recount we can do a recount. that was a long fight. that finally got done in texas and how about a way to track your own mail battle application. i know we've heard from folks who say i sent my application for battle by mail. i don't know if it's going to get here in time or i returned my bat my application my ballot by mail. is it going to make it? now in texas, we have a portal unique number that you can go into and track your mail ballot application your mail ballot, make sure it's going to get there in time know whether you should come and vote in person. so many things like that chain
of custody for those ballots 24-hour live stream video where those ballots are being kept when they're brought to central accounting things like that, which should not identified some of those things were a real fight. we have those in texas now, we did learn we did learn in this process that much so much of what we doing we were doing was being scrutinized and there was such a presumption against everything we were doing such a presumption that we were just trying to do something nefarious when in fact these reforms on their face and and as we followed through we're just common sense reforms expanding access was an important thing because that senator dodge words about easy to vote-hearted sheet. i think some of us thought we thought of that ourselves we've all been using that for a long time and we mean that easy to vote hard to cheat it just makes sense in so we expanded access texas already had more early voting days than jersey more than new york more than president biden's homestead of delaware, which had zero early voting days until recently. they still have fewer than
texas, but we expanded those more we expanded access to make sure folks could get access to the ballot in a while we did that. we wanted to work on access. as well as security because both are so important and we understand that it's interesting if you look at the criminal penalties and senate bill one our reform bill and you look at the other other measures with teeth. they are aimed not so much at individual voters who are trying to cheat that happens, but the real problem is those is in some places those election officials who are cheating or misleading people or those ballot harvesters those paid political operatives who are trying to get between the voter and her ballot we crack down hard so that folks have access and they're allowed to vote in a vote in a way that's going to be counted and so a couple of things along those lines in texas if you look at our prosecutions the greatest problem that we see is of course male ballot fraud in texas. we do not have male balance for everyone in texas. you need to be 65 or over out of
the county or disabled to vote by mail we do offer robust in person early voting options. as far as balanced by mail, that's who it's for in texas. what we find is ballot harvesters go in the neighborhoods, and they mislead people they get people to sign blank forms, and then they go back and change the information or they'll check disability when the person didn't even claim to be disabled. and you know what happens they know when the ballots come they pull them out of mailboxes. they forged signatures. so this bill cracks down on that makes it a crime and in fact the language and this bill is so strong that political parties will be careful now paid political operatives really cannot in texas will not be able to have anything to do with a application for bala by mail or a male ballot if you're a volunteer you can help someone with that, but if you are working for a campaign on a campaign's payroll in texas, it is illegal for you to have any interaction with the voter in person with that application or that ballot by mail.
that was a hard bright line to draw but we thought it was important to protect those vulnerable voters and also illegal assistance. that sounds awkward. but the most of us here know the lingo that's when people claim to be assisting a voter but in fact, they the one clamity offer assistance is voting the way they want to not the way the voter wants to our attorney general's office and our da's prosecute these cases and there's tangible evidence. i'm going to show you in a moment. so those things we crack down on. we also put things in place to make sure the system is working. right to make sure poll watchers have access to do their jobs, but not to intimidate not to again not to interfere with the voting process. also making sure the machines are working right so we can have confidence in that system. those are some of the some of the high point things we did voter id. we've had voter id in texas in person since 2011. we now have voter id for ballots by mail and we're implementing that for this for this for this
election cycle our secretary states working with our counties to make sure everybody knows and for the first time ever and this never gets talked about in the in many of the stories, but for the first time ever in texas, there is a standardized cure process for those applications from ballot by mail in the past if you have a problem on your ballot by mail, it's rejected. you don't know about it unless you chase it down. you don't know it needs to be fixed now in texas in every county a standardized system where the voters informed and given an opportunity to cure defects in their application for ballot by mail again, we want every el order to vote be encouraged about make it easy. we do not want people to cheat and as far as enforcement goes. john made a great point and we can pass strong laws, but if our district attorneys are not willingly doing force the laws or if we don't have other state authority to do that. it's a real problem and it's conservatives. we understand the challenge, right? we we are reticent to expand a statewide executive office like attorney general. we have a great attorney general
in texas and hope we always will but we recognize if we if we concentrate too much power in one place that can be abused when you're not always have a great attorney general in texas or other states and we know why our founders were our founders low the concentration of power for a reason so we like local control, but what happens when the local district attorney for whatever reason doesn't prosecute these cases whether they don't have the resources whether they're afraid of the ballot harvesters whether they're in bed with them or are a plethora of other possibilities. i'm not suggesting any of those or more likely than others, but for whatever reason they're not getting prosecuted. so what do we do about that? and so in texas? as one tool we added private causes of action private causes of action. so let's say in election is stolen from you and the district attorney won't prosecute well in texas now, you can file a civil lawsuit against that ballot harvester against that one who stole the election and you can you can make them discourage the monies that were paid for doing
that also get your attorney's fees back. of course. there's always the abnormal process for challenging elections and and those are pretty tight frames for that. that's always an option. but even if it's too late to overturn the election if you can prove you were cheated you can hold the wrongdoer accountable and we as conservatives we shouldn't fear this, you know number seven of the first 10 is a the right to trial by jury in a civil case. has it been abused of course, do we have to guard a jealously? yes, but private citizens a jury of your peers holding you accountable. that just makes sense. that's a uniquely american idea. and so we are using that in texas. you may know we're also using it in the heartbeat bill separate issue. today, but we're using that in texas and we believe that will have an effect as far as illegal assistance. what does that look like? i do when i do want to share one example with you before i give you a little bit of time back and so we talked about you talked about how many times? the fraud takes place in in minority communities we found
that as well elderly voters folks who maybe don't speak to english language. so well first time voters. they're the ones most often prayed upon by illegal by ballot harvesters by these paid operatives who just want to cheat and yes with with financial motives. and so i'm going to read you sworn testimony from a trial and it all go county, texas. this is a sworn testimony given under trial the cases on appeal now and this the lady i'm going to quote his name angie cavazos ms. cavazos was a first-time voter, but she wanted to vote she was encouraged to vote until she came and then when she got to the polling place someone showed up to help her and i'm just going to read you her words. and she says and then i go to the polling place and marcella goes up now. i should have mentioned marcella later testified. she was being paid $500 to be at the polling place to help canada. now she to help voters now. she was being paid one of the candidates. did that color the way she was giving assistance? we'll who knows but she was
being paid by a candidate at the polling place to help voters. so marcella so back to ms. cavaza. she says i go to the polling place and marcela goes up i go to the polls and marcella comes up behind me. i had the intention of well she was going to assist me how to do those things because i didn't understand that machine. so she started punching in the machine. i don't even remember that remember the language and the pole so she was telling me you're going to press here and you're going to press over there. so i saw that she put it in favor of the team that she was on. so i had the idea that she was giving me like a tour of how to do those things and that she was going to leave i didn't touch the pole at any time. so by the time i told her okay, let me let me let me vote on my own. she said no you already voted now. that's what we're cracking down on in texas voters like that have a right to vote.
however, they want to vote and people who are doing. what was alleged be done here are going to be held accountable in texas. again. this is happening as you said the charge from the other side used to be there's no evidence of voter fraud and now it's there's no evidence of widespread voter fraud. and of course, we always ask the question in response. how much fraud is okay how much frauds acceptable? of course? we know the answer to that how much frauds acceptable none how much suppression is acceptable. none none. that's what we have to get this right and we really do have to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. i'm glad to be here today. i'm learning from everyone on the panel and those here and thank you for having me the last you say voter report is a myth. they now say it's rare. i'll take progress where it comes although they really have no idea. how rare or often it happens kylie with us. in the more than 10 years. i've worked in this office beginning as first assistant and now as secretary of state, i've never seen the public more focused on election integrity as
it is now. personally have relished the opportunity to educate the public on louisiana's top-notch election processes and procedures and i'm proud that heritage is ranked, louisiana as one of the best states in election integrity in the nation. in the time since i've become secretary of state, i've worked with the legislature to implement sensible election integrity measures that have garnered bipartisan support while pushing back against attempts to implement liberal policies lacking and accountability in 2020 when the entire nation was first gripped with covid faced enormous pressure to implement universal vote by mail in louisiana. i stood up to that pressure and worked with my legislative colleagues and our attorney general to craft the plan that worked for, louisiana. one that was limited in scope and upheld by liberal judge not want but twice in that same year. we passed the bill to ban ballot harvesting in louisiana one that passed with overwhelming support
at both parties and signed into law by a democratic governor. during last year session. we also passed legislation that injured the most accurate information available was supplied by my department to ensure. that deceased voters were being removed from our voter registration list. as an aside this bill passed with unanimous support every republican and every democrat voted for it and our democratic governor signed it into law and yet the brendan center called this a quote voter purge in quote and accused us of quote making voting harder in quota even after we confronted them and gave them the facts they maintained their lie about what is going this law actually does. yes, we face some defeats a champion legislation with my republican friends to band zucker bucks and any attempt to privately fund elections and to institute a second annual voter canvas to ensure that our voter registration list is staying
accurate as possible. both bills were vetoed by the governor. but we're not giving up in louisiana. and this year i'm excited about two pieces of legislation that i've already secured sponsors for one is a bill that will strengthen our voter id laws that have been on the book since 1997 and i would ironically let you know that that was the clinton administration's department of justice that approved our voter id law in when we had to be ahead to have legislation approved by the department of justice. i believe that was called pre-clearance. for those that are registering to vote in online. we're going to require them to utilize additional efforts to prove citizenship. i'm proud that we were among first states to adopt online voter registration, but equally as proud that we are always looking for ways to make sure that nobody can take advantage of that system. secondly, i'll be pursuing an amendment to our state
constitution that will ban any municipality or local governing authority in louisiana from allowing non-citizens to vote in the election. what happened in new york just a few weeks ago is in a front to election integrity and we can't let that happen. and the best part of this proposed amendment is that it doesn't need the governor's signature once it passes the legislature. it will be going straight to the voters of louisiana for their approval. i'm proud of our record in louisiana as we continue to strengthen our election integrity laws processes and procedures. i'm proud that we've done so by working with republicans and democrats i'm proud that we've stood our ground against outside liberal groups like the brennan center who want to tell louisiana how to run our elections? again, thank you for this opportunity to brag about louisiana and the strides we've made and how we can be an example to the rest of the nation and successfully strengthen our elections. and as others have said it's not wrong to strengthen our laws and
election integrity efforts. we need to make it harder to cheat and easier to vote and in louisiana. it's never been easier to really the register and vote. or vote, it's it's very simple when you have over 90% of your eligible registrants eligible citizens registered. that's an important part, but the other part is making it easy to access the ballot box. we've had early voting in, louisiana we have seven days. we expanded it during covid to offer more opportunities and we will continue to look for ways to expand it, but we will also make sure that on balance integrity efforts are priority in our great state. thank you for this opportunity, and i look forward to questions. thank you, kyle, jessica. great. well, it's a pleasure to be with everybody this morning and to back clean up after this very diverse discussion about the different aspects that go into securing the vote and
safeguarding our elections. i run heritage action. this is a grassroots organization. it's two million activists across the country and one of the things that we've realized in the last 12 to 18 months. is that the fight to secure our elections is the is the base of any form of grassroots activism on any issue going forward. we don't have a shot at advocating for life issues to cut spending to engage in a strong foreign national defense. to work on an energy and environmental issues here in the united states. we don't have a shot at doing any of that with our elected officials if we don't have faith in our vote and so that's really been the anthem of the grassroots the last year. i think a lot of it was spurred from of the confusion coming out of the november election it took a while for people to understand exactly. what was that at stake? and what was that play on the ground, but then to focus on moving forward and so the goal
for the grassroots the last year and a half has been two-fold. it's been to block the federal overreach of our election systems, and it's been to tackle state-based reforms and so i'm really proud of the work that grassroots activists have been able to do to not only support great state legislators like senator hughes in texas come alongside them as they pass these really incredibly important bills that frankly are nonpartisan. there's nothing crazy. there's nothing nefarious. there's nothing racist about any of these bills that move through the states and they were there they they did hallway activism. they engaged with the lawmakers. they showed up some actually in texas until 4 am one night giving testimony these committee hearings. i mean, this is the power of citizen activists coming out of the woodwork. eugene and such an important and and frankly comprehensive to our republic that work at the state level it was going on. just very intentionally not only in, texas but in florida in
georgia and arizona and other places across the country always on top of our mind though was what was going on here in washington with the various bills that both leader schumer as well as nancy pelosi. we're putting forward on capitol hill that started with s1 or hr1 at different parts of the year. it turned into hr4, which got into the pre-clearance things my colleagues were talking about whatever the bill and the package was though. the end goal was the same which was a federal takeover of our elections. someone asked me the other day if i thought we needed that do we need a federal election system? my answer was no states are doing a fine good job, and they should continue to do a fine good job. and so there's really not a need for those sorts of legislative packages now the left would try to has tried i think arguably unsuccessful this last year, and we're trying to reframe this debate about voting rights about
disenfranchisement about racial inequalities or inequities at the state level. they had a vested interest interest the left that is had a vested interest in seeing states like georgia like texas like arizona like florida they had a vested interest in reframing what these states did and calling it out as racists or vote suppressionist because they needed to show their fellow lawmakers here in washington that they're in fact was a need for the federal takeover. the states are crazy. they can't do it on our own. we therefore the mighty washington bureaucrats must do it for them. the american people saw through that right? this is this is this is a year and a half into this where so many got up to the bat to pass these bills. they failed they lost the public argument and we're seeing now i think just a complete wave of just not not just conservative grassroots activists, but every day average american citizens like my parents actually seen
through so much of this narrative and recognizing that the left is manipulating the success. that the states for their goal here in washington. they can't actually win with a compelling legislative agenda. so they resort to rigging the rules breaking the filibuster as we all know and then advancing this hr1 or potentially s1 forward and so that's sort of state of play has been it's been frankly top of mind. there's a very broad coalition that has worked from coast to coast to have with having these two goals in mind blocking the federal overreach tackling these state bills. we call ourselves the save our elections coalition and the goal is to do just that save our elections and so going forward. i think this is going to be a fight that we are glad to take on this year. we're armed with new information. the heritage scorecard is very much the roadmap for what states need to continue to tackle reforms where those gaps on voter integrity lie. i love the scorecard because
it's so easy to use. it lets me click my state see where my gaps are. what can i do to increase my score? there's draft model legislation i can download and so as a grassroots activist as a citizen activist i can then go to my state lawmaker and i can encourage them to tackle this and to take it on this year in their state legislative chambers. so i expect we're going to see a lot of activity from states this year in 2022. we're already seeing about a half a dozen states introduced spills around these election integrity provisions and particular on strengthening voter id and making sure that this very common sense provision of voter ideas as john's comments at the beginning you have to have an id to get your vaccine. you have to have your vaccine card then to get into restaurants, but you don't have to vote in dc that that's sort of comparison exists in a lot of states around the country and and people are eager to have a voter id and a lot of places like georgia like south carolina if you don't have them they're
available for free and so there's i think going to be much more excitement around bills. that and so we're watching what states are doing. i think you're going to continue to see grassroots enthusiasm. you're going to see people show up and you're going to see people actually engage in a substantive way on the merits and principles of the spill. i think if we learned anything from this last year, it's that it's not enough to just read the sound bites of what these bills did at the state level. you actually have to go in and look are we actually limiting people from having water in line like they accused of in georgia? no, that's not what this bill is doing. so i think a lot of activists frankly just learned that we have to read the bills for ourselves. we can't rely on what the mainstream media is saying or characterizing and that's going to bring i think a flood of renewed enthusiasm around these state bills as they move through state legislative chambers. second thing would be here in washington the the fight to block this federal ovary is not
yet over there is a lot of interest from schumer from pelosi to be able to nuke the filibuster in the senate to advance these bills to biden's desk think biden's comments the president biden's comments. i guess two weeks ago now in atlanta really articulated where heart is on this issue he wants to see a version of these bills on his desk certainly before the 2022 midterm elections and so conservatives will need to stay vigilant not only to preserve the filibuster for the many reasons. we all would agree that we need it but then to recognize this two-step paragraph that could come shortly after with these hr1s1. package of bills the third point i would i would just make is one that conservatives are i think getting really comfortable and more used to talking about and senator hughes think illustrated this point so beautifully the role of pull of a poll worker and a poll watcher and volunteering as part of election day operations. i mean, this is no easy task
what we're asking people to do is to give up, you know, three four five weeks depending on how long early voting is in their state give up their time take some time off of work from their family and to show up and to do a constitutional duty and a constitutional privilege to sit in there and to be the eyes and ears for freedom and for our constitution within the election system and the polling location place. that's a role that traditionally there's been a lot of interest from the left and placing activists to do those things. i would argue that that's a role that we all should and can be doing we all love the constitution. we want to see our vote protected we can volunteer as poll workers and pull watchers as well. and so heritage action has made a pretty significant push to encourage activists across the country to consider volunteering their time. you have to get trained by the state and in a lot of times that
training with the state and that vetting process that the secretary of state's go through and the placement actually begins now it begins this spring so i think coming off of not only the virginia governor's election where you saw more poll workers from the conservative right? turnout that you're going to see that same sort of enthusiasm as boots on the ground to actually be faithful stewards of the constitution within our polling location. so i'm excited to see that i think these are all good things. our republic these are all good things when conservative activists show up when they ask tough questions when they defend the truth and then and frankly when they support great lawmakers like senator hughes and support our great secretaries of state that work diligently to manage these election day operations without any interference from any partisan angular perspective. so i'm really proud of that work. i know it's a little different than some of the history and legislative background, but i really wanted to leave you all with some of the grassroots color of what i've been hearing
on the ground across the country and how real and personal this issue has become to so many of us. so thank you for the opportunity john. thank you jessica. i should have mentioned that we're actually joined in the room by a number of friends and allies in the election integrity fight, and i'm very very grateful for all of those efforts in a moment. i'm going to be opening up to questions from people here in the audience and people who want to send them in. i want to make a couple of quick points myself and maybe some of you will want to comment on it. so hans mentioned but we all know which is, you know, elections have consequences if you elect the people on your side you get policies that you like it can lead to appointments government contracts power. i'm always a head scratcher when i i see media outlets on the left that are almost tortelling when they point out that somebody who's accused of election fraud was a republican voter as if that somehow means that this isn't really a problem as opposed to pointing out that well, duh. this is a universal bipartisan
problem incentives to cheater. just great for republicans as they are for democrats once again, and then the other point i want to make and you can comment on either or both of those is so the left has been trying to make a number of election changes many of which are in these federal bills for years and they they failed at the ballot box. it weren't able to get these changes through the legislature but a number of executive branch officials and judges. change the rules in. id without getting ratification from the state legislatures in most cases on the rules that applied to that election and the department of justice is already announced that if states as the pandemic begins to wane, hopefully will be over very soon that any state that attempts to revert back to the laws that are actually on the books in those states maybe subject to suit by the department of justice and i
i think that's a real danger too. so, you know any of you can comment on that and and then let's take some questions. are you just want to point out in the debate over the for the people act in the senate? there was one point that senator schumer the majority leader declined to ever answer which was this we know among many of the things that the bill would do to override state election laws, and for example require same-day voter registration, which is an open invitation to ballot fraud and also of course eliminate any need for an excuse for absentee voting. he had no answer for those who brought up the fact that of course his own home state new york does not have same-day rotary registration does not allow unlimited absentee voting and in fact just last november two ballot measures were presented to new york voters. to institute same day voter
registration and no excuse absentee voting. two of the pillars of the for the people act and new york voters overwhelmingly defeated them. so senator schumer was pushing on all 50 states measures his own constituents at opposed. now hans made a very important point about human nature being frail, and you know, we're all flawed creatures. boy, it can get pretty ugly out. there power is a very dangerous drug. we've had two former members of congress in pennsylvania indicted in recent years. and what were they doing? these are former members of congress you'd think that have a reputation of some kind to protect they would go into alzheimer's homes where they were patients and assist them in filling out their ballots. they were both indicted. in texas, we're senator uses from a few years ago.
there was a group called houston votes that was registering people who didn't exist who were illegal aliens who were ineligible to vote? the county registrar leo vasquez said this was outrageous. it was polluting garbage into our voter registration system. he found of the 25,000 applications the group used in votes filed only 7,193 were actually for new voters. frauded in an unprecedented scale now i wrote about that story and i interviewed the head of houston votes. his name was sean caddell. he struck me as a rather shifting evasive fellow, but i had no idea because apparently he's been involved in voter fraud schemes all over the country from his home base in new jersey. which of course is a fountain of voter fraud? well yesterday afternoon in new jersey mr. caddell, finally. paid a price.
for his activities over the years which extend back to, texas. he pled guilty to murder for hire. he had murdered a former fellow political consultant. he paid two individuals to go to his apartment a few years ago stabbed him to death and then torched the place in order to try the evidence. he's in home detention right now on one million dollars bail. this is serious stuff. there are people out there who will stop at nothing to subvert our elections and for one side to deny that this is going on is frankly a dereliction of duty senator schumer knows better. he knows better for the following reasons. a few years ago the democratic election commissioner for manhattan. this is an official government position was caught on tape by james o'keefe of project veritas admitting that voter fraud is rampant in new york. that buses go from neighborhood
to neighborhood for repeat voting. and he admitted that and he said, of course we need voter id. what was the response from election officials in new york city mayor de blasio had him fired within 48 hours. because he was committing a political gaff which as you know in washington and new york means you tell the truth inadvertently and politics. secondly one of the last acts of mayor bloomberg before he turned over the mayor's office to mayor de blasio was to authorize a department of investigations probe into the new york board of elections, which is a notorious sinkhole of political patronage and corruption and the department of investigations did something rather unusual. they actually looked to see what the system had integrity. they took 63 investigators had them pose as voters who had either moved out of state. were dead or were serving time and records island? and they would go to polling places on the day that mayor de
blasio was elected and they would try to vote and they would mix and match for example a 25 year old puerto rican investigator was trying to vote in the name of a 93 year old polish widow. completely disparate descriptions in terms of age and everything else 61 of the 63 times in chuck schumer's new york. those people were vowed to vote because there's no voter id law in new york. there were only two occasions in which they were not they were temporarily blocked from voting. one of them was the fellow had moved or the alleged voter had moved from one neighborhood to another nearby. so the polling inspector said, oh well, you can't vote here. so we walked him out to the street pointed down the block gave him directions so he could go to the place. he originally registered and he voted there that was one case the second case was a fellow showed up and appeared before the polling inspector and said i'd like to vote and she looked up. aim, and looked up at him with a rather quizzical expression in her face and said, i'm sorry. i can't let you vote.
and he said well why not he said well, you're trying to vote in the name of my son and he's dead. and you're not my son. so that was the only exception. the only time someone was prevented from voting chuck schumer knows all of this and yet he was trying to voice this bill in all 50 states, including louisiana and texas and other states that have worked so hard to improve the integrity of the election. this is a travesty. and i'm thankfully this hundred million dollar campaign to nationalize our elections into one size fits-all failed. miserably now we have to go on offense and have a renewed effort to preserve and protect protect the integrity of our elections. other comments right? well on local officials and you're right we did have that happen in texas and we had one county a large county in texas that again in response to covid just made up some rules so they invented drive-through voting. we don't have drive-through voting in texas we do have for
social disabilities. of course, we will this curbside voting. so the election workers will bring the equipment out to the car for folks who aren't able to go in and vote, but harris county invented curbed invented drive-through voting and of course, i think we all recognize the importance of the secret ballot and the private ballot. i don't know if you and your spouse discuss how you vote or your boss or your co-worker, but that's obviously important that your vote be your vote. imagine being in the car when they're passing the machine around looking over your shoulder. that's a problem. also in harris county. they got to the end of early voting where they tried drive through voting and of early voting and they had they looked at the number of votes and the number of voters voters and there were 1800 off and so the election administrator and harris county said we better stop this before election day because we're not sure these vot. account and so that was not the election coach we made it clear in texas. no, we don't have drive-through voting. they'll also did 24-hour voting and again, they had a hard time
finding election workers poll watchers and so when it's in a bill one when we said no drive-through voting no. 24 hour voting of course, we were accused of suppression. we scoured the country trying to find anyone else who had done 24-hour voting and we almost gave up but then we found los angeles, california. they implemented 24 hour voting in the primary election, but then they stopped it before the general because it didn't work. i haven't seen them accused of jim crow or anything else. but the point is we did have a county using covid as a reason to make up their own rules, and we did block that going forward. what do we do though? instead to help folks who need access now in texas when you show up to vote if you're in line when the polls closed you will be allowed to vote no matter how long it takes we've had that law in place for in-person voting since the 1980s, but that was not the law for early voting and most folks now vote early and what about getting off work a lot of our friends on the other side talk about working folks. we remind them that hey. those are my people those who
worked for a living work, but they are those are my voters we care about all voters. but for those but what about them the law in texas for a long time it said for election day if your work schedule doesn't allow you to be able to get off work your employer must let you get off work to vote. but that was for relation day only now understandable one we have that for early voting as well. so we put aside those made up ways and put in real ways. that'll help working people help everyone vote. but yes, we did have them try to abuse cover. we had that same county on the cusp of mailing out millions of applications to vote by mail to voters who were not eligible to vote by mail our attorney general stopped that before it happened. so, yes, we did have that and we we think we put a stop to texas. thanks brian. let's go to questions. do we have any we have people with microphones for here in the room? so if you have a question, please raise your hand. i want to first see whether we have any virtual any questions from virtual attendee. so let's take one of those and then we have the one hand up here in the room. yeah. go ahead. you need a microphone over here?
thank you, ashley. all right. so here's the first question louisiana is the remaining state with the paperless voting system. it uses machines as opposed to paper ballots to vote the washington post reports that although the state legislature committed to switching back to paper ballots. this switch won't be made in time for the 2022 election and i might not be ready for the 2024 election. what obstacles are preventing this from being a timely transition. this was specifically for louisiana. yes. okay kyle overview. thank you very much. we obviously because of java we moved from a paper-based system to electronic system now. we're in the process of trying to move back to a paper-based the senator. spoke about a paper trail. we've been trying to implement a auditable paper trail system since 20 18, and we've been
blocked in those efforts because of the um the bidding process and the complications in that process and the competition between the voting system companies the legislature chose to start be able to provide us the opportunity to expand our efforts created a voting system commission. we'll be wrapping up our work with the voting system commission at the end of about around the middle of february and from that we will begin the process once again of developing a request for proposals. so the problem is is that when when you have 2.1 million people voting in person, you have to make sure that you have all the right processes and procedures in place. plus we have to implement training for not just our
commissioners, but also our local registrars who over early voting system and our clerks and their employees for our election day voting and we want to make sure that we educate the public so that they understand how the system is going to work once it's ready for implementation. so we saw the problems in georgia with an overnight implementation if you will ordered by the courts, we don't want to have to be able we don't want to have to go through those issues and those problems but will louisiana will have a paper-based system hopefully by 2024, but maybe not be a hundred percent implemented. we just have see how that goes. thank you pal over here in the room. what's being done to determine the validity of citizenship on a voter registration card 35 million illegal aliens and two million more just this year.
what are we doing to make sure that those people don't register to vote or if they do that we check on the validity of their citizenship. wants it by that that's a real problem. yes. it is a real problem. and one of the problems is we've gotten for example bad decisions from liberal federal judges in florida and elsewhere when states have tried to put in provisions that would require election officials to check the citizenship. a bit of vegetables registering to vote. we've had some federal judges say you can't do that. i think those decisions are wrong, but that's a real problem. and actually senator hughes. i think one of the things that you all did in your election reform bill was to put it a provision requiring the secretary of state of texas to regularly check with dm the dmv. because look in every state across the country as you all know if you're a alien and
you're here legally. you can get a driver's license a dozen doesn't have states now, but i think provide illegal aliens also with the driver's license, but texas, for example, i think a past provision saying you got to check the dmv records to see that if if individuals who got a driver's license and they did it as an alien here legally. do they also get registered to vote. that's just one of the things states ought to be doing one of the other things they ought to be doing and this is part of our election scorecard. is state should require and use jury. jury lists and jury summonses, you know if you're called for a jury duty in a state court. it is highly likely that the jury commissioner that county got that information. where'd they get their list from election officials, they use voter registration list to call people for jury duty and in many states when someone is excused from jury duty because they are not a us citizen that information isn't being sent back to election officials.
not only that but the federal courts where to folks think the federal courts get their lists people to call for jury duty. they go to state election officials for and every state should say to federal courts. look you can have our voter registration list, but a condition of you using our state voter registration list, is that when someone is excused for a jury duty in a federal court, you have to tell us that they have been excused because either they're not a us citizen or perhaps they have moved out of state and those are all things that states ought to be doing and many states are not doing on this issue responding to your question equally briefly. i want to get a couple of look. i live in new york city. our system is broken. just look at our last primary election for mayor which was a disaster. what is new york city doing it's
expanding the right of non-citizens to vote in all municipal elections. this is a big problem because they wanted to take it further. there is no enforcement if you're a non-citizen on an illegal status if you register to vote and vote, there's no enforcement of that secondly. the majority of the democratic caucus in the house of representatives last year. voted to allow 16 year olds to have the right to vote in federal elections. they're trying to expand the franchise to 16 year olds when we have lots of problems. we need to fix first at the risk of running long. i've had two very patient people here in the room. so i'm going to take those two questions. we've got one that's fine and go back here and then come up here with two questions to try to keep the answers brief if we could. and thank you. organized effort is there to recruit election officials particularly in cities where republicans tend to lose elections? i could take that go ahead or do you want to get both questions
at once? yeah, well, that's okay, too. let's take the second question as well the sound here actually up here. sorry. thank you. my question is for hans. i believe i'm representative of people that go out weeks and sometimes months in advance of an election to secure the right to vote and to prevent integrity problems. one of the challenges a lot of people like me have is that the local folks are simply not willing to intervene when problems are identified. to what degree does the scorecard take into account? maybe the statutory or regulatory environment that allows or perhaps a requires local election or other officials to intervene and assist when these types of problems are identified and i guess a subsidiary requesting would be are you thinking about maybe amending the scorecard at some point in the future evaluating the effectiveness and
the bear willingness of local folks to enforce the law? actually, those are great question. i'm going to take very quickly your second question, which is you know, we're open-minded to doing all of this. i mean one problem with that is for instance. there are some states that have 40 50 counties 254 fine. okay. and so what do you do? what do you do if let's let's pick 50. 46 of them follow the law and four of them don't so one getting the information to prove that is difficult. and then how do you evaluate that state's compliance when the overwhelming majority of counties are following the law, but the four that aren't or five that aren't are causing a real problem so that there are practical difficulties with your second suggestion, and now we'll go back to the other questions. just you go first and then but but we realize that's a problem and that's why the scorecard a rating of states. on whether or not they give the
state legislature. and residents of the state the ability. to sue in court election officials and others who are not complying with the election laws that the state legislature has put in place. they should have standing. to go after election officials and others who are saying you have a law on this. we're just not going to comply with it because that is that is a very important part of our classification. so we are actually looking at that issue and that is in the scorecard so it doesn't have to be amended right jessica just briefly yesterday was national poll worker recruitment day. and this was a nonpartisan push across the country to recruit and identify pull workers to basically get vetted and trained now so they can be ready for november and certainly when early voting begins so one i would just encourage anyone that is looking to volunteer to check
out the resources online. lot of them are available at save our elections.com where you can get plugged in and then there's a really deep and pretty cool coalition. that's working outside of washington to recruit and place pull workers in areas where you know, we just haven't been in years previously to build as the gentleman behind you would say the capacity on the ground. and so if you're interested in getting involved in that, please see me afterwards, and i'm happy to plug you in but it's a real effort and i think the model that was done in virginia for the gubernatorial race and up and down that ballot prove that this can be done in other states. so i knew that this time would fly by my apologies if we did not get to your question. this is an important effort and obviously something that will be ongoing and please take a moment to thank our panelists.