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tv   Campaign 2020 Discussion on Voting Rights Mail-in Ballots  CSPAN  October 5, 2020 11:49am-1:23pm EDT

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they have abused the privacy rights of their users. but frankly going after section 230 is not the right approach to the very real problems that we're seeing with online platforms. >> berin szoka and jessica gonzalez tonight on cspan-2. watch live coverage of the senate confirmation hearings starting on monday, october 12th, with opening statements by committee members and judge barrett. listen live on the radio app, and make sure to view a play list of amy coney barrett's llo. views. next a look at voting righta and the security of mail in uess
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ballots. this is an hourhe and a we're thrilled to be presenting a atimely panel t entitled "access to the vote, the ballot, and the mailbox." this panel is one of many in a series of rapid response webinars. we are planning additional tiona programs on a variety of issues, so please visit ese p for updates on these programs. to our progr how today will work, it's my pleasure t these programs. before we go to how our day will work, it's my pleasure to hand it to angela j. scott, head of civil rights justice, for a fewj remarks. welcome,,ma angela. >> thank you to everyone, thank you for the civil rights
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committee for planning this very timely panel. it's my pleasure to welcome s everyone who is watching. before i begin, and i say this before i say anything, i just wantnt to make sure that you all know that i'm speaking in my l a personal capacity and notci on behalf of my employer.yer. nothing that i or any of the tsy panelists say today represents any views of any component of ee the federal government, so ide t just want to make that clear. t in this day and age of a global pandemic, who would have thoughh that we would be living through something like this? but obviously over 210,000 21 americans have passed away from covid, so it is imperative that voters are awarereaw of all of r options so that they can cast s their ballot safely during thisa upcoming pandemic. we know that certain voters had obstacles and barriers to votinv even before the pandemic., for so, for example, disabled and elderly individuals who are ine
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long-term care facilities face i challenges that you and i may not, and those barriers are obviously increased because of thisse pandemic. there are also homeless d individuals and folks who, for whatever reason, list a p.o. box as their resident address, and t so they aren't easily able to cast a vote. and we all know in various states and jurisdictions that there are new laws requiring purging from voter rolls or ros requiring identification that may not be or easily available some people, and so all of thes. constitute obstacles that can suppress the vote in many cases. and so to this end, the civil ng rights and social justice rts section are trying to emeliorate these obstructions.
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we want to highlight some things we ever planned. for example, we're engaging in multiple efforts to provide oure members the opportunity to to volunteer and serve the community in ways that can helpt ensure that people can vote thin upcoming election.up our cosection, along with other aba entities are helping people, attorneys, to become poll workers through our aba poll worker esquire and those who can't do that, foe those who can't be official polo workers or who can't commit to a long day of service like that, there are election protection t opportunities. so the civililopp rightsor and justice section is helping to facilitate connecting our members andf connecting attorneh with nonpartisan organizations, some of whom we've partnered with in the past, lawyers ts und committee for civil rights under the law, national bar association. we are helping to connect individuals who want to serve in shifts to help engage in
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nonpartisan election protection efforts. our members are also memb workir hard tod create a toolkit that' designed for assisting commu individuals and community organizations in helping othersi we all know o that there are ma, many, many organizations that are well intentioned. we just want toentione make sur they have all of the facts and information and tools that will bebe helpful for them to be abl to help other people. and, finally, in addition to is this one, we have wonderful upcoming programming designed to take a deep dive into overcoming some of these obstacles.. soso obviously we have this wonderful program, and coming up soon, we have another program called "obstacles at every turn: native vote in a world of coronavirus." we have our program of dignity,r
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rights, and democracy, a in conversation. we invite you to join in all of this, join in all of these efforts.jamie, i have to jump off, but i want to thank you, jamie, and all the members of the staff for puttino this together. elections are quintessential toy our democracy through our nonpartisan programming and through our community service voting initiatives this year. our members of the civil rights and social justice section are committed to being part of the solutions and part of the nonpartisan effort in ensuring s that all votes are counted.coune so we look forward to you joining us. i think that's it. i'm going to turn it back over to jamie. >> wonderful. thank you so very much for those comments, angela. it's wonderful to see you today. >> you, too. >> in today's program, we encourage you to ask questions
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of our panelists through the q and a, not through the chat section. we will address questions at the end of the panel. day o we will be recording -- sharingr recording of this program to everyone who hasev registered s that you can share it widely with your networks. there will be captions availabli on thelable recording. t and with that, we're thrilled to bring you today's program cess entitled "access to the vote, the ballot and the mailbox."e ae there are four members of the panel. hearill from them for several minutes each about thein prospectives and expertise on us the b issues being discussed today. up for will open discussion and questions from ss theio audience. i will provide a more full bio of each panelist before they speak. purposess of initial introductions, i'm pleased to welcome our esteemed panel of d
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elected officials, scholars and. practitioners. the honorable kim wyman, secretary of state of wayman washington, the honorable ellen rosenblum, attorney general of e oregon, and attorney jennifer holmes, assistant counsel at naacp, legal defense and education fund. welcome and thank you all. more americans are expected to i vote by mail inl the upcoming pd presidential electione than in any previous election in our country due to changes made by states and sporesponses to the pandemic. more voters are likely to cast their ballots by mail than go t. the polls in person. but most voters have also not ay voted by mail before, and that may lead to some uncertainty about what's ahead in the next few weeks. first, we will hear from h secretary wyman.
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kim wyman is washington's 15th secretary of state, first elected in she is serving her second term and is only the second female secretary of state in washington's history. prior to being elected to this office, kim served as thurston county elections director for a nearly a decade and was elected thurston county auditor from 2001 to 2013. secretary wyman, as washingtonians, we have had vote by mail for a number of years p now. can you please tell us about on washington state's experience with vote by mail and how you ou address issues of safety and sec security? >> i would be> happy to. thank you so much for allowing meme to be on this panel, and thank you for the workrk that tn committee and the bar has done. this is a really important topic and a very important year to do this work. work. i'm going to take a minute to bring up, hopefully, if the tech
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agrees, a powerpoint presentation and just walk just through what i would term the speed version of washington state elections, e andlect are l seeing that? okay. i'm thatnot,'s ki that's kind of fun. i love technology. all right. there we go.l, let well, let me talk a little bit g while i'm trying to get the tech to work. there there we go. here in washington state, and i think this is true of election t officials across the country, 'e we're election geeks by nature y like many of you are law geeks,e and we are kind of like the offensive line in you guys don't pay attention to us until something usually goes wrong or we have a pandemic ands now everyone needs to vote by mail. so let letme, real quick in th next five too ten minutes, shar with you washington's kind of path to this and what we do here
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to ensure that every eligible washingtonian has the right to register to vote and also have their ballot cast. let me begin by kind of giving you scope and scale perspective of washington elections. we have right now about 4.7 million registered voters, and p anticipate by election day, we will be knocking on the door ofm 5 million. num we've had a number of laws over the last 20 years that have really catapulted washington forward to be in a position sitn that, quite frankly, are very good for a pandemic, it turns out. it begins with voter id in 2006 following the closest governor's race in history in 2004, washington did adopt voter i.d.e laws that really served our wel votersl. well. wit we have not had issues with suppression and even withstood d brenner center's challenge. i'm proud of the way we rolled
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it out because it doesn't oter interfere too much.gistrati we've had online voter registration since 2008 and we l have been voting by mail completely since 2011. in the last ten years, advanc activities andem advancements we've made really have expanded access, starting, of course, with prepaid postage that we ini started doing inn 2018, and in 2019 was really the huge expa expansion of access in washington state. same day registration, automatic voter registration and pre-registration of 16 and great 17-year-olds.e the security really balances ite out, and one of the big things we did in 2019 was roll out a 9
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near realtime statewide voter registration system that we called vote hop. here in washington our ballots will be available 20 days before election to any voter who wantse to come in and get one.nd they have to be in the mail by our county auditors -- in king county it's theto elections andw director --e 18 days prior to election day.we're we have over 100 voter boxes that peoplece can drop their ballot in if they don't want top use the usps, and we're thankfut for that because there's been interesting reporting about the usps.oregon in washington, and i'm sure oregon is different than as lon washington, my oregon colleague will talk about that in a minute. as long as we receive a ballot d
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with a aypostmark on or before a election day, within 20 days ai before election day, that ballot can be counted as long as it rei meets allre the other eligibili requirements. let meinute stop a here for a m and talk a little bit about what we do to, again, inspire that, because the attorney general have made some pretty disparaging remarks about the ve security and safety of vote by mail, and i've been running votb by mail elections for almost 20t years now, ande i can tell you the security controls we have id place like checking and ying verifying every signature of every returned ballot against the signature on the voter registration record is really our security.gnature we make sure that signature dot matches, and we don't want to disenfranchise a valid vote, so we contact a voter if their signature doesn't match orso is missing. sometimes voters to forget to s their envelopes. we give that voter an opportunity for a second chance.
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and that, i think, is a really empowering move that we started probably 15 years ago. also but it's also another security check, because i guarantee you, if you receive a letter from your county election official that says your ballot has been returned and your signature ou doesn't match and you haven't voted, you're going to be on thl phone right away to make sure d that ballot has been set aside and is going to be prosecuted ic it is a crime.crime. another thing that we're seeingg a lot of here in washington that is a little bit newer in the bay last probably five to ten years is what wewe call the ballot ch. chase. that and that is where campaigns wilt get that list of voters after ar election day whose signatures do not match, they'll go through and find their supporters and they'll go in and follow up on i that as well. this really dramatically helps us reduce the rejection rate. ur it's a good thing, and i think n that's another reasonot why it's good that our counties reach out to voters because it equalizes o it forne everyone. it's not just the really
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well-financed campaigns or the t organized campaigns that have hw that eadvantage. another thing we have with our t new vote law system is the ed voters have the ability -- i ned totally missed this -- to e register to vote online, and they can do that have up to eigs days before election day,am ande still do have voter registration until 8:00 election night.put once they put it into the mail stream or put it into the ballot drop box and the county receives it, they can follow that path of signature checking to it being o ready to account, and they can have the assurance their ballot was received and was ready to be counted, and more importantly, if there was a problem they can contact election officials to rectify that. as i said earlier, we have a ci 21-day certification period in washington, so those allots late-arriving ballots that havee valid postmarks can still be counted. one of the things i think is important to get on all of your
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radar if it's not already is s e that i think we're going to see a real shift in november that s most of the country has not seen before, and i think oregon and washington voters are used to i. this. our i think our counterparts across the country are going to be cket shocked to findo out that they'w not going to know who won the election on election night. and i think that most voters inm think thatos that is a final ns answer, and i think all of the y lawyers on this call know that t that is not the case because we're working after election day to certify those results. but as you see in this bar graph, this is a typical return pattern that we see, and this is from our 2020 august primary election. what i can tell you,u,el though this is off theth chart in a wa i've never seen before, because typicallyly we do see about 50%r 60% of our ballots come in of election week because of that postmark but you notice thatat we see a a spike not only on wednesday tere after election day but thursdayh and what we saw in august is is that the volume was so crushing
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for our counties who are very s good at processing ballots thati it tookng them an entire day tol get through a lot of their late-arriving ballots that came through the ballot drop boxes le that, by the way, close at 8:00 election night. i mention this because i think this is a trend we're going to see across the country.he those late-arriving ballots are going to happen, and i worry about states like oregon, i will be honest, because you e goi potentially are going to be hundreds of thousands of ballots that get to their election with offices with valid postmarks arriving the day after the not election and will not be eligible to be counted in those states. i think we already are seeing litigation on that front across the country, and i think we wile see more of it following election day. but this is definitely going to delay the results in states sta across the country. this was a "new york times" graphic that igr just thought w great. the dark blue states are states that have a history of vote by mail elections, the orange -by-a states or gold states are states
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that have -- how shall we say -- very restrictive absentee laws, and we'll see probably the lowest turnout of mail-in voteri in those states, and all the remaining states are ramping upe their operations and we are wie going to have a wide array of absentee ballot processing and election activity that is vote y mail.ivity i can assure you that my colleagues have been reaching out to our office and to our county partners, and we're all g sharing a lot of information, probably the best thing that bec comes out of preparations for cybersecurity, so we have really been working, trying to get the ready for 2020. the last thing i'll leave you with is we have a national hash tag called get out the vote -- excuse me, my brain is full -- is trusted info 2020, and that'd really trying to drive people t trusted sources of information like your county election officers, your state election officers or the bar association, aclu, organizations that you can
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trust for information, so that people know what they need to do. with that, ith that hope i hit a right and thank you fornd letti me present. thank you very much, atto secretary wyman. we will next hear from ellen rosenblum. ellen rosenblum was first elected at attorney general in a 2012 and was elected for a second term november 8, 2016. s she is the first woman to serve as oregon attorney she has served as secretary of the american bar association as well as chair of the aba section of state and local government law.five attorney general rosenblum, you
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represent one of the five states that exclusively votes by mail.r i know you've done exclusive litigation related to vote by d mail. can you tell us about this and any other relevant legal issues. >> sure. go li thank you so much, jamie. i just want to go like this when you say we're one of those vote by mail states with secretary lo wyman. yay for us. but, look, we understand that it's a lot more difficult for o states that haven't been to get up to speed, and i'm so proud oo those in so many states who are really making this effort, because it is so important. any state that allows for absen absentee voting, which we used toto call it that, can easily - fairly easily -- make this transition in a year where it is so important to do that. so let me start by saying thank you to yyou, jamie, for invitit me to the section of civil rights and social i love working with you.r our sections do a lot together.
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and thank you to secretary wyman and my fellow panelists. and for everyone who has shown up virtually this morning to talk about election protection.s i see that we have about 250 e people on this panel webinar. so thank you so much for joining obviously, elections are at the heart off our democracy, and thr year states are facing unprecedented challenges from the global coronavirus pandemicc and, frankly, concerns about diminished faith in the election process. i think secretary wyman would agree with me that our two states, washington and oregon, have had a bit less scrambling to do than many other states.thr that's because our existing vote by mail, what i call vote at home, systems inherently solve the problem of potentially cr crowded voting polling places. and the infrastructure for getting ballots to people is already in place in our states, and i think she mentioned 20
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years. same peop it's actually been 40 years in oregon unofficially, and officially 20 years since we voted it in statewide for both state and federal, for all of our elections. so oregon's system of mail voting is very similar to what we just heard about's washingto o'procewashington's allay processes,al there a aa aal alt some differences.he people regularly receive a ballot in the mail with a use postage-paid envelope and a secrecy sleeve.ce thi it's not required to use it but it's a nice thing to have. they typically arrive before election day, about two weeks, and they can be returned by dropping them in the mail or bya returning them to our official drop box locations. i think you mentioned you have about 500 in washington, and i
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think we have a comparable number here. this is an important statistic.t historically about 40%, only 40a of people have used the mail in oregon, and 60% have used the drop boxes. so that's why i can allay your concerns a little bit, kim, yor because we really emphasize in oregon getting your ballot in early. we don't worry about the earl ps postmark as much as you might as think we should, and that's tht because we're really good at etg getting our ballots in early, in and if we don't, we put them ine the drop boxes. 60% of oregonians do not use the mail, they use the drop boxes te which are all over the place. ut they're athe all the election e offices, the county election a offices, but they're also at tht square, they're over at the lumber yard, they're in places that's convenient for people to drive up. you don't even have to get out of your car. so that's really important.y you can also have the option of going to a county election
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office and voting there with assistance during thatas two-we period. so there are not longng lines. it's not like waiting in line and having to be six feet apart in the rain, potentially, and the potential exposure to the virus. instead you have the opportunity to get that help at any time if the office is open during that two-week dif one difference is that oregon requires our ballot to be returned by 8:00 p.m. on election day.on day. so a postmark on election day is not good noenough, and that meae if you're going to use the maili you do need to allow time for delivery. and the post office this year ir recommending one full week, l right?k. so we are telling people, we need even more than a week if you do intend to use the mail. given the extent that oregon hal successfully relied on the mail system for elections, i was vere concerned, and i know that you were as well inwe washington, wn news broke out about the changeh
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that the postmaster general wasa unilaterally making, so i want k to talk about that a little bit. the postal service was dismantling mail sorting machines, was disallowing , overtime and requiring trucks te leave at scheduled times even ie that meant that mail got left f behind in the post offices. they were alsoo suggesting that they would no longer treat o treat outgoing election mailt a first class mail unless the pos office paid the higher rate. a oregon got a letter, for example, indicating that the -- service in our state would stile be slower than it has ever beenn in fact, the suggestion was that if our election officials used t the timehe allotted to design ballots and got everything in place, voters actually might need to send their ballots back on thehe same day they got them. which is obviously unrealistic. so we were very concerned.d.
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here we were thinking, aha, we've got it made, we're a vote by mail state. a vo and then suddenly we realized our vote byy mail could be endangered. and if this was the worst-case u possibility inld oregon where w pove the infrastructure in place to conduct elections by mail, the consequences in other in ot states, of course, might have bn been very dire, indeed. fortunately, the postal service is designeded so that changes tt affect nationwide mail delivery are supposed to go through a tg regulatory process thato allowss for public t input.nput. these are not the kinds of things that a postmaster general can just decide to do and then a immediatelyte implement. so i was very pleased to join with my neighbor to the north, attorney general ferguson, the washington a.g., and colleagues from a dozen other states in a n lawsuit to enjoin these changes. and there have actually now been three or four similar lawsuits around the country, and we're al all -- guess what?
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we're all winning our lawsuits as recently as yesterday. the pennsylvania case, which is pretty much, similar to ours, ca the federal judge ruled in theie favor as well. not quite two weeks ago, we obtained the preliminary injunction we had asked for. so specifically the judge has ordered the u.s. postal service to do all the following things, andas it's four main things. one, abandon the leave mail behind policy under which postal trucks were required to leave as specified times even if the mail was nearly ready for them.for two, continue its longstanding i practice of treating all election mail as first class mail, regardless of the paid postage. three, fix or othe otherwiser rs machines needed to timely process and deliver election mail. and four, suspend recent policy changes until after the the election. so with thiswith t injunction i place, i am reasonably confident that our mail election will once
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again be very successful. but, as other panelists will describe in more detail, there remains significant legal issuei nationwide surrounding the pcomn upcoming election.gadvo advocates are seeking a number of accommodations to enable a n meaningful vote duringin this re unprecedented time.ngly, and, interestingly, a lot of as what they're asking for is consistent with oregon practice after 20 years of successful experimentation and experience, like not requiring mailed ballots to have witnesss ss signatures or a notary. when i say oregon's experience has been successful, i mean thae we have consistently had good, if not great, most of the time, voter turnout both in primariesl and general elections and almost zero voter fraud. voter there are also several lawsuitse challenging the kinds of accommodations that state and local election officials are ing making in light of the pandemicl and i imagine we will be talking about some of those, too, during our discussion. but for now i would just say
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having an existing vote by mail system means that there is y-mal essentially no basis for those types of challenges in oregon on in washington or the other vote by mail states. and if anything good can come yg out of this circumstance, maybem it will be that other states will follow our lead and adopt votevo at home or what's also oh known as vote by mail which now has a long track record of avoiding fraud while making it g easy for every eligible voter to vote and have their vote vot counted. thank you.ote >> thank you so much, attorney general rosenblum. next we will hear from professor levitt. justin levitttt is a professor of law and gerald t. mclaughlin yo. fellow at loyola law school. he was a deputy attorney generac in the u.s. rights division of c the division ofiv justice wherew
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primarily looked over the work of voters' rights and protection.rat he holdsion a law degree in pub administration from harvard t university. mr. helevitt, iss can you tell about your experience on some oi thesess issues and what the isss may be going forward? >> sure. i can try to do that by giving a little bit of context of some of the states not in as good a in position as oregon and washington are.of i first want to thank you, ashio jamie, for having the rights of aviation and justice. i've been a civil rights lawyer for a long time. all i'm delighted to join you all, and i'm delighted to join my fellowow panelists. an this is really an all-star group you've managed to put together,i including people who are very much on the front lines of all of these sites in very differen. ways. you've gotyo secretary wyman an attorney general rosenblum as state officials on the front lie lines, you've got jennifer as a
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litigator on the front lines, ts and it's really been a privilege to watch them work on behalf of the voters all in different ways.fere washingtonnt w and oregon, i the have been doing a b wonderful j with their own elections so far. no surprise there.the they've got a lot of experience at running elections this way, and as you heard from both of h them, that experience helps a pn lot ince adjusting to pandemic h circumstances. because they haven't had to make a lot of adjustments. when you do it right, misconduct in elections is mill ma minimal minimal. if you plan for it, other mistakes are also minimal.ition but as you heard from both of r. them, not everyone is in a position like washington and
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oregon are.perspec to put that into perspective, a moment of sharing a few slides about where various groups stan this year. so this is 2016. this is from a survey they run o every two years just to track a the mechanics. you can see there is a wide disparity to the extent that before this year, individuals i states cast ballots by mail.n se you can see washington and ght- oregon very much overh onan the right-hand side of that graph r with close to 100% of voters castingma ballots by mail. where i'm sitting in californi. we're hovering around 60%. four states in this category ats encouraging, even for states ike like california, encouraging even moreicant li voting by maia a significant list, but comparatively, there are a lot of statesry in d a very differes
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category. and states that have historically had 4%, 5%, 6% arer ine a very different place. it's not trivial to scale up from 4%, 5%, 6% voting by mail b toe 60%. i know because i've talked to folks on the receiving end of d, this, i know folks in oregon have been casting ballots wond becauseer a lot of people are suddenly in need of that experti expertise. you also need machinery to suddenly scale up fro from 10,0l ballots to a million ballots pes that you're counting by mail.s e this happens to be a sorting bi machine. i showed it to you just so you a get a sense of that's not a pie small desktop piece of machinery. amou that takes a fair amount of
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budget and a fair amount of timo to really get your voting e. processed with massive amounts h ofin mail times. some it's not about machinery, either. adju you've heard some of the adjustments over processes and r procedures to helpingo people castca ballots by mail when they're suddenly a very different scale on a very erent different volume. things like ensuring that when i you've got ang postmark rule th the post office knows to stamp, to cancel a prepaid envelope is muscle memory for states with long histories of vote by mail. they're all in very close contact with local postal officials. it's part of the reason why the attorney general mentioned the t suit against the post office. they know what's going on in thi post office. new york, historically a state r with much less votingk, by mail it's not muscle memory there yet. it's now become muscle memory but they learned the hard way in the primaries that the post maticall esn't automatically
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cancel a stamp, and that means k they're not automatically like counted until you ask for it. and automatic voter registration, which you heard both washingtonn and oregon hav have a hard time making sure ths registration rules are up to date and current, and that's even more important than usual after a summer in which registration rates dropped becausese people weren't doing registration rights in large volumes outside county fairs and the like. and when you're transitioning to much more voting by mail where small areas can lead to much bigger problems than you would have while voting at the polls.u it's also true, i think you heard this from the attorney general, that voters whohohe aren't used to voting by mail, you maka mistakes when you do something for the first time. that's always true. and that's no less true in the election process than it is elsewhere. so making surere. that states h rules to accommodate those
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mistakes and making sure that states arere proactive in contacting voters to minimize the number of mistakes. i don't know whether you've seen, i hope you've seen, some m of the really,e of t really, re creative design work and imagern around informing pennsylvania voters in the last week or so at about the need to use their er inner secrecy envelope. it's a ballot that goes in on envelope that goes in another bl envelope. you've heard a in a lot more abo nakedu ballots than i think you ever expected to hear in the recent past.hing. that's a good thing because that's actively attempting to educate voters who don't have na the experience already in how they can cast ballots that willn beo counted. another thing people are o contending with is litigation, a yes, all over the place, to help accommodate the changes with th, pandemic when the world changed and election rules didn't.
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that actually sent elections backward. so all of us have had to adjust an awful lot in terms of what we do and how we do it, including having this webinar in a studio that people didn't really have in their home before now, that election rules had to change, too, in an awful lot of states that weren't really encouragingb voting by mail. where election officials eithert couldn't or wouldn't change the rules in time, and some of them werewe locked in by state constitutions. i don't mean to suggestn opti ts always an option everywhere. for voters and those looking out for voters naturally turned to the courts. i've been tracking alle the to election litigation related to covid-19 this year.p i'm up to 262 cases in 45 states as of yesterday. i imagine that in the few hours this morning or afternoon that s we've already had, there have been more cases, so it's a
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constantly running. that can also present a challenge for voters in knowingl exactly what the rules are, and then the conscientious ifer litigants, you'll hear from jennifer in a second, are both working in the courts and makino sure the voters on behalf of wha they're litigating know, win or lose, that there is the best possible chance of ballots to of count. the thing that will keep this election from going awry in states that aren't oregon or washington isn't the structure of voting by mail. the system works when it's given the opportunity to work. the u.s. volume postal service candle the volume when they want to, and steps like the a.g.s are helping them want to. the process helps keep things s safe and secure. as you heard from secretary los wyman, there are lots of ways t make sure you are who you say ie you are when they count your th ballot and that ballot is counted. the thing that will keep this hs election out of the hands of thn
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lawyers in a system that i increasingly relies on voting bs mail is encouraging voters to make a t it's really simple. it takes five minutes. it's not much more detailed tham knowing what you want to order t for dinner before you step to o the front of the line or before a waiter is standing there ng on tapping on a pad.eck yo check your voter registration, e find out the rules in your state to know whether you can vote by mail or whether you can vote whe early andr how you do that, because the rules are different everywhere, and then do it as early ast you possibly can, one way or another. and that's going to keep thin things -- just three simple steps will keep things smooth even as voting is a little bit different in a pandemic it doesn't have to be an disruptive. one last point i want to bemak and this may be a little bit ofb aou transition. we've been talking about voting by mail and all of the things that states are doing, and we're
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going to make sure they can vote by mail effectively or increasel voting by mail. to all that effective voting by mail is designed to relieve pressure on polling locations and poll workers and on on in-person options. angie rosenblum mentioned in in oregon you can go to your countf elections office and vote in ad person if you want or need to, e and that is really important as a that just like there are u communications that are hard to count in thent i census, there communities that are hard to mail.l. communities that,com for cultura reasons or for sociological reasons wantnt to be able to count their ballots in person, to vote in person. minority communities, language minority communities, and in particular disability communities, there are plenty of reasons why people may want to be able to vote in person as l. well. voting by mail has -- this year has really been to ensure that there is space for those people who want to vote in person to vote in
12:31 pm given limitations on locations,o given limitations on poll workers. so it's creating a space for s n people to show up in person when they want rather than exclusively using the mail and shutting down allll in-person that's really important to remember.reme it also make the aba's program really important to participate, and i'm overjoid thyed that the has done that. law schools are following suit,w and the law school where i here teach, i think, was second in the country to cancel classes on election day in order to push students out to work in the polls.e law law students are volunteering t serve as poll workers, and an awful lot of other schools have joined us this year across the country, and so it's really important to remember, even as we makeev shifts so that more people canan vote by mail, and think both the secretaryry and g attorney general are right, a l
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lot of people are going to wants to continue doing that after il this l myear, we still make surt that there areio options for the who have to or maybe want to ble vote in person to be able to do so safelyly and smoothly and confidently. and i hope there is a lot more time to discuss that in the q&a. >> excellent. thank you, justin. now we willer hear from attorn jennifer holmes. jennifer serves as assistant fu counsel with the naacp legal tt defense fund where she works on cases that will advance social justice in areas of social votig equity, economic justice and j voting rights. jennifer received her j.d. fromw stanford law s school and herb. from yale university with a distinction in science. ms. holmes, can you tell us what civil rights and other legal issues you are currently addressing or that may be ne developing in the near future? >> yes, but first let me thank
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the aba section and you, jamie,i for inviting me and hosting this wonderful panel. i'm so proud to be part of thisf esteemed panel.ul i feel a a little bit out of my in thi leagues to be with such great academics as well as elected officials. vote before i dive into some of the n actions thatg my section is doig due to the pandemic, i would like to make a historical note r of what voting looked like re pre-pandemic and what we are still trying to do.unfo many of you might be aware of the voting rights act which the supreme court gutted section 5,i which we see as the crown jewel of voting rights act in a case called shelby county versus th holder in the reason why section 5 was so wonderful is because for jurisdictions in states that were covered, meaning they had a
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history of discrimination in voting, they had to get any voting changes, any election changes pre-cleared and approvee by the department of justice ty before they could c actually implement them,m, and they had demonstrate that these changes v would not have a disparate impact on minority voters. this was a prophylactic.tic. it meant that voting rights and civil rights lawyers no longer had to play a game of whack-a-mole where they had to n implement a polling test or every single permutation and ot lawyers had to try to get those struck down and voters were subject to thosedi disenfranchising practices.chans this ensured that the changes to election laws were not discriminatory before they were implemented. but, unfortunately, that is not
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the litigation. we don't have that in our toolbox anymore as litigators because of the shelby county e y case.. so we are back in part to this whack-a-mole approach where lawyers are trying to sue every discriminatory practice that is put into place after it's alreadydy in effect. so that is the circumstance we . werere laboring even pre-pandem. we are still doing this type oft litigation. now enter the pandemic, where ie a slight reversal, we are o actually pushing some jurisdictions to implement ause changes because we we realize e voters need a morers expanded s of options in order to safely tf exercise the right to vote. we think that washington and go oregonha have done a wonderful b even before the pandemic givingv their voters the opportunity to use vote by mail. by
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and as you saw by the graphs rs, that have been put up by others, there are many, many states that still do not have that option.p. so those are some of the jurisdictions where we've been operating. if you give mee a brief moment, i'm going too share my screen a, just show you a couple slides on that.t i hope you can all see my screen here. i'm going toating talk about t cases that ldf has been sentee litigating recently to expand ballot access. first to a case in louisiana.oun louisiana had very limited excuses for reasons that peopleo could use to request an absenteh ballot before the pandemic. it was incredibly limited and
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they also did not have a lot ofn opportunities for people to vote early. and so we sued, because we feelt that no one should have to n thi choose between exercising their right to vote and also their health. we wanted to make sure that lous louisianans could all -- we actually pushed for no excuse absentee voters so that all louisianans could, if they so choose, vote absentee and o go t wouldn't have to go to the pollo in person. this would also relieve pressurt on the polls because it meant that people who preferred to ere vote in person and perhaps were healthy and felt safe doing so,l would not be at crowded polling places. we also saw an increase in the number of early voting days to also act as a release valve on o the pressure on the polls on election day. thankfully, we secured a good court ruling in this case. the judge ruled that the reasons to request annto absentee ballo had to be expanded. that
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we didn't get everything that w want.o you still havehave to have a sts reason, but the list is much longer than it was before. you'll see on the slide that the reasons now include anyone who is higher risk from covid-19 due to underlying medical medical conditions, anyone under a under quarantine order, anyone with symptoms of covid-19 who is d-1w getting --ho who is seeking medical confirmation of whethert they have it, and anyone who is taking care of a person who is isolating. are now additional reasons you can request an abset absenteeee ballot in louisiana because of our lawsuit. now, i should also note that isi this is still nowhere near universal vote by mail that other states have. we're still a far cry from washington and oregon, but this is a huge expansion from what w had before.huge in addition, the court ruled adt thatio louisiana had to expand y number of early vote days to tee days before the election. so we think this is really important, because again, our goal was to give voters options.
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we're not saying that everyone . must vote by mail or everyone ir must go to person but that opti people haveo options so they ca decide given their health, given their schedule and given if thee need assistance with voting how, they choose h to exercise their right to vote.milarl similarly, in south carolina, e ldf sued and was pushing the state to allow no excuse vot absentee voting and also to si eliminate the witness signatures requirement that it has on absentee ballots. i believe attorney general rosenblum mentioned that in oregon there is no witness requirement, but in south carolina, if you are using an absentee ballot before this lawsuit, you had to find a witness to watch you sign it, pt and then they hadhe to sign it d put their address on it.ot of course, this is not ideal unr under our current social distancece lifestyle to find another person to come to your home and do this. your
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many people live alone, not even people who live with others, some people may not feel comfortable witnessing a balloto and some people didn't want to provide their address as aso vit witness. soress as we said this witnessi signature requirement wass alsoa burden on people who were trying to exercise their right to vote remotely. because ofre our case -- well, think it's because oft is bec o the california legislature moved before they got a ruling in thi. case and decided they would notk rule out absentee voting, and anyone who wanted to could request an absentee se ballot. e sometimes you don't need a court order, sometimes it's in applying pressure so the elected officials or secretary of state or whoever will take action that
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you're requesting even if you don't get a court ruling. that source of pressure, we think, can be a very valuable w tool. however, the legislature didn't budge on the witness cont requirement, so we continued litigating. at the same time that our case was going,ca there was aseere w case brought by the democratic c party that also was requesting similar relief to t in that case they got a ruling n striking downg the witness signature requirement, and so o that ruling also applies in our case, and right now the witness signature requirement is not required for absentee ballots in south carolina. this case is under aappeal and
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since then, they lifted the stay. now there is no witness signature needed. i think as professor levitt f mentioned, there is a lot of lau lawsuits going on, there is ai lot of changes because of theset lawsuits, and so we see our rol as twofold. it's very important to us to be in the court, expanding access e to theve ballot, but we also ha an education rule. people following this lawsuit closely may not know that they're in south carolina now and they don't have to have a an witness for the ballots, so ldff also hasor a number of people a work with a number of groups on the ground whose sole job is one this voter geducation, which ia complementary piece to our ng i litigation. finally, i want to mention a case still ongoing in alabama, the people versus maryland. here we challenged a couple restrictions maalabama had on
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absentee voting as well as curbside voting. k curbside voting, for those who p may not know, in many places if you are elderly or if you have n any o ambulatory problem or any disability that may make it ce, difficult to walk into your polling place, poll workers cang set up a curbside voting statior where a poll worker will bring out a ballot to you and car facilitate you voting from youre car window or right up at the er curbside. and that makes it easier for older people or people with dis disabilities to vote. although this is technically allowed under alabama law, the secretary of state was not ng it allowing it to t actually be implemented, so we sued to on challenge that ban on curbside voting. we also wanted to strike down
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certain requirements that were put on voting in alabama. alabama has a photo i.d. law, if you go into the polling place td vote, you have to show an i.d. from a specific list of i.d.s that are acceptable..a but alsols if you're voting absentee, you have to copy -- you have to provide a xerox copx of your i.d. along with your ur absentee ballot. i don't know how many of you pi have printers at home -- probably, actually, many of youe because you're lawyers and we're nerds, but the average person does not have a printer at home. much less a scanner, and it's pretty difficult for them to adhere to this rule without to going out in public and breaking social distancing norms. so that's why we challenged the practice in that the current status of this
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litigation is there was a trialt that ended about a week and a ha halflf ago and we filed a trial briefing, and we're eagerly awaiting a ruling. we are somewhat optimistic mistc because when this case b was or initially filed over the summer, we actually won a preliminary ch injunction which enjoined these bearish rules that we have was challenged. however, that was overturned by the supreme court -- or that wau stayed by the supreme court while the case was pending. t now we've gone through the wholi litigation at trial, but we are optimistic that we will get a a similar ruling since the judge s was on our side at the preliminaryp injunction stage.a. that is just to give you a flavor of some of the litigatio that's happening. i think it's difficult because there is many -- there are manyn changesge happening with voting rules and voting requirements,
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but it'ss worth it in our view r because voters need more options to exercise their rights during a pandemic. and many of these restrictions,c even in non-pandemic times, had a disparate impact on black voters. maybe that's because theyoporti disproportionately do not have an i.d. or they do not fall into the categories that can requestb absentee ballots.i but certainly during theng a hen pandemic, when black americans s have contracted covid and died from covid at disproportionate rates, these voting restrictions that make it more difficult fort any voter to cast a ballot during the pandemic, the impact on black voters is magnified even more greatly.greatl and soy. we saw it as our duty fight t them. i should also mention that we my were one of those many groups that also sued the u.s. postal
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service. we're very grateful to the state's attorney general who ecd secured an injunction in that e. case, so it kind of mooted out , our case, but we've also been in that fight as well. and the last thing i wanted to t mention, professor levitt spoofed me on this, but here's how you can get involved if yout are trying to figure inv out ho navigate the election landscapei this election. first, i would say start with the personal. make it your plan to vote. the first item i listed was voting microsite, li it has links to rules in various states, it has links to how you can get involved in election
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protection and poll monitoring.a so that's a one-stop shop, but there are many other websites and resources you can go to. if you would like to use a government website instead to check your registration, you can go to registration, and there are hyphens between those last three words. voter registration starts earlierer in various states, so unless you are in a same-day-register state, you are running out of time to register. check your state to see if you're registered and then choose your voting method. if you're a state lucky enough h to havea universal vote by mailu ores maybe you have early votin options or can you cast a i p
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curbside ballot. in washington, d.c. i plan to 2h vote early and in person.down voting starts october 27th in v. d.c., and i'm going down the street to the rec center and that's my plan. also everyone here should also have t plan where you can just say it like that in five seconds.second once you have your plan, figurea out exactly what rules you need by..bide uire a does your state require an i.d.i does your state require specific rules about how to figure out your absentee ballot?pe or do you have to use the securityn envelope or not?ly get all these things where you can a get tripped up, especially if you're using a method that you haven't done before. -- i would also recommend -- i know there's been some discussion of drop boxes -- but given the u uncertainty about the postal if service, if you feel that you u don't want to trust your ballot to the mail, your absentee ballot to the mail, and you hav, drop boxes available to you, use that as your means of deliverinr
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youring ballot. but whatever you do, make a plau ahead of time so you know exactly how to execute it. and then after you turn in yourw ballot, you want to follow up. ' if you sent in a mail ballot, ah absentee ballot, you can check the status of it. all many states allow you to track whether the ballot has arrived on the status of your provisional ballot to see if it was ultimately counted, and to see what you can do to cure the problems with your provisional ballot. so your task is not over once the ballot leaves yo you want to make sure that it's actually counted. once you figure out your own situation, make sure all your family and friends also have a on, plan and are also doing these things.ave a finally, i'd like to encourage
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everyone here to volunteer on e election day. we've already mentioned the importance of becoming a poll n worker. i'm so excited the ava has an initiative on how people can become poll peo another option is which is one that ldf has been partnering with. but whichever initiative you yoe use, if you're healthy and able to volunteer to be a poll many worker, many states will pay you for the day. i greatly encourage you to do ol that because our poll worker force, generally speaking, is somewhat older. many of them have -- many are r high risk for covid and are unable or unwilling to work on d election day. so, we need to fill the gap. but also volunteer to do election protection run by the lawyers committee. you can also join ldf's preparea to vote team.te
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i've got my prepared to vote t-shirt on today. o if you go to our micro site i mentioned,,w you can figure out how to do remote poll monitoring. helping us keep track of the issues that are going on in mon various states. i'll mention that this effort mostly covers about nine statese in the south that have historically had kind of the hs worst voter discrimination n problems. that's what we're focused on at prepared to vote.vo you can help us connect with elp staon the ground, or if te. you're in one of those states, you caney be our eyes and ears the ground on election day to u. connect with us. to and we want you to report any issues you're seeing. finally, even after election day, please stay engaged. in this post-shelby county world, we need everyone, but especially attorneys, to be theo front line against voter suppression in your communities. as attorneys, you are uniquely equipped with the tools and thet
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sophistication to report issuesg that are going on, to garner media attention, to petition local governments, to provide o testimony, all sorts of things s that shine a light on where her there are issues in our elections. as many of you know, voter suppression can take many forms. it can deal with rule changes that may seen archaic but have great impacts on minority communities. it can be the fact that nobody knows about the rule changes. it can be forms of mismanagement that have no nefarious intent behind them at all, but simply the fact that at a polling t al place, the machines break down,e or at a certain precinct, they don't get the funding that th provides for enough machines. all sorts of things. yes n so we need lawyers to be attunen to these issues and report them
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and engage in the places where decisions are being made about the issues. finally, i'd encourage you to be a poll worker every election, not just this election. the more you do it, the more yoe will become experienced and knowledgeable about it. then we will have a future army have poll workers to -- and we , can finally have our poll our workers to retire from the job. so, that's -- i'm going to end there with those calls to action. but, thanks again. and i look forward to any q&a. >> if i can add one tiny thing to jennifer's last point. point. se. >> the only way that we increase the possibility for systemic change in some of the jurisdictions that not quite asc advanced is if we're all just a interested in reforming the wayn we conduct elections a month after the election as we are right now. so, precisely what jennifer said. the election officials know, ffi thisal is an ongoing -- we don' have elections once every four years and once every two years. we have elections all the time.a we need to stay engaged and
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interested in the election process to make sure they're as fair as canan be all the time. so don't just wait until november 3rd or thereafter whene we have a result in the presidential election and tune t out. we're going toiond t need everye here to be he just as engaged a month after the election as the month before. >> excellent. thank you, justin. thank you so much, jennifer, for those comments and that call ton action.ommen also, especially for the res resources that you shared. now that we've had a chance to get a good overview of the issues from our excellent panel, we'd like to open it up for anye questions from the audience. a as a reminder, please take your questions into the q&a. and not the chat function. thank you. and thank you soestion much to panelists who have already been hard at work responding to many of the questions that have been popping up.respond so, i will do my best here to pull up some of the questions ts for our f panelists.
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to get started, attorney general rosenblum mentioned the recent e injunctive victories in could you comment on any concerns of whether usps may comply or not with these -- with the injunctions? also, has the equipment removed or destroyed been replaced in those affected states? do you have status on states other than oregon? >> thank you for those questions. thanks for putting them all together like that, jamie.hat, of course, if you get an et injunction, you get the relief,u you want to make sure they comply, right? i want to be able to come back and hold them in contempt if they don't. toder t how do we do that? how do we know under these circumstances, right?stance well, here's one way, and i can't make any guarantees, but l we are watching them closely., the judge, i'm sure, will be,
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you know, welcome us back, if you will, if need be. but here's one thing we've done, and that is, as you know, in lawsuits you have to get declarants to tell you and affidavits that are then attached to thea pleadings what their experience is. and a number of our declarants are postal union workers. so, postal worker union workers. are on the inside. they're watching. guess what. the postal service knows there are declarants. they know we essentially have, o if you will, moles there to keen a watch on what they're doing and whether they are in compliance.c we feel that we will be apprised if we learn that they are not in compliance. now, as to the question about mi the machines, unfortunately, if you followed some of the yo testimony of the postmaster general, i think one of the things he has made clear is that some of those machines, maybe so most of the sorting machines, m have been essentially dismantled
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and, you know, the equivalent of sold for parts. we so, no, we don't have any at th assurance that we actually -- that the postal service can literally put things back the un way they were before to ensure that the -- all the mail will bl handled as quickly and as deftl as it has been previously. i wish i could give you that i coulance.usly. i think there was a third part a to the question? hopefully i came close to answering it. but i guarantee you, we will goo back to court, and we will do everything in our power to d wel ensure that the provisions of the injunction are complied with. compli >> thank you so much, a.g. another question, what can be done about states that purge voters and don't let the votersr know? checking registration is chec important, but it's not kingnt,u necessarily the case that people will be able to reregister in time to vote.
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anyone like to tackle that?like >> i'll jump in, i suppose. i think this is why it is so os. critical, as you heard from oura speakers, to have a plan. check right now. really encourage those people who you influence and that you're connected to to just p ' verify with election officials right now. because some of those voter registration cut-offs t are approaching in some states e quickly. once they pass, the voter will be out of luck. you know, i'm happy to say here in washington we don't purge pg voters. we haven't since 1993 when i first started here, and we don't intend to in the future either.o we want to comply with federal . law. call me crazy. call ml add to that. just because you think you're registered doesn't mean you're d actually registered at the right place. what the secretary said is right, check your registration. even if you think you've got ity check it again. it can't possibly hurt.
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and it's really quick.reso there are a lot of resources nationwide to go check your registration. it doesn't take long at all.urc most states make that availablel online, and it is super quick so you can the second thing is, and this is stay engaged after the election. that's absolutely the right e answer for anybody voting november 3rd, right? go get the word out.ans check longer term, putting procedures in place like oregon and washington have, automatic votet registration, same-day voter day registration as a fail safe, that helps make the polls as accurate as they can be, and you don't have to purge people off the rolls, as the secretary just said. it's the state's responsibility to check up and make sure you' e registered in the right place.i and both automatic registration and same-day registration make that happen continuously so you don't get a flood of changing at the last minute. turns out to be more accurate.. turns out to bet moreur secure.e turns out to be a lot cheaper. a so, fewer of your tax dollars go
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to paying temps to process votes registration cards in the floods prior to election day. it should be something everyone can support. turns out red states, blue states, and purple states have done it.tu sta the only way it spreads to more states in all of those e reads categories is if you care about it. >> th >> thank you. >> the only thing i would add to this is what everyone is saying is completely correct. especially for the upcoming election. remov the way to figure out if you've been removed from the list is check your registration now, before the registration deadline passes in your state.mention in the future, as professor ar levitt was mentioning, you know, if you are involved in seeing what your secretary of state iso doing, what your state legislature is doing, if you attend hearings or follow the dr issues on this, you can know he what practices they are putting in place that might cover futurn potential purges. whether they're creating an
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inactive voter list or sending out postcard they claim will ng confirm whether or not you are still living in the state. you can get in on the front end and have some input on whether that practice is going to a actually take effect.ed, y so staying engaged, you'll know ahead of time before the issues sneak up on us with election day looming. >> great. thank you. have you noticed any foreign tig interference with voter registration or voting so far? >> we have not seen any foreign interference, and we have not had -- in 2020, i just don't 02i want to say things out loud because you jinx them, but we've not seen any evidence of any kind of compromises of our system here in washington state. make no mistake, what you hear and what you read the last four years, there has been a heard concentrated, ongoing, nonstop effort by foreign actors, including russia, china, and rui iran, to try to get into state
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and local election offices, voter registration systems, or anything they can.system we have been really focused for the last four years with a laser focus on securing our system, e and i know that it's happening in all 50 states. our happeni when i talk about washington, hi the same things are happening in their states, much more firewalls, monitoring equipment, cybersecurity, conversations cyc that are happening with our onvt federal partners and local artns partners and our state partners, training, putting simple things like multi-factor authentication to doing tabletop exercises. so the effort has been incredibly ongoing, and now we are ready for whatever is comine our way. comi yes, we've been under attack, and we continue to be, but we're fighting it off. we're going to protect yone' everyone's vote. that's really the bottom line. >> vote by mail helps because te
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it's paper, right? we have paper ballots to back up any system that gets hacked. >> good point. cked >> i'm just add to it -- sorry, jennifer, go ahead. >> i was going to say, let me take the broader perspective of foreign interference.. to sae. hacks. it is also about spreading misinformation, which is why ith is so important to get, as the secretary wyman mentioned, to r get your information from a trusted source. to make sure that you are thinking critically about what your media diet is.t if everything you're getting isy from postings on facebook, do you know that those are trusted sources?s sting because some of those are cominm from foreign actors that are ing trying to spread misinformation or influence people and influence their vote. >> thanks, jennifer. that's exactly what i was going to say, and she said it better thanan i did.b in 2016 we have to remember, wea
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got hacked but it wasn't the s. ballots, the machines, the ck tallies.ed us,e in it was us. they hacked us, the people, and the information we believed and what we got really excited about. in that sense, we were and ion w continue to be the weak link.e d that also means we are the t source of strength because all l of us have individual agency to do exactly what jennifer mentioned.hat to be careful about our media diet, be careful about m information before you pass it on, to take a deep breath before we respond to things. be turns out that if what they're hacking is us, we can each respond to that.e bit with a little bit of patience and a little bit of thought.secr and that's actually the most security you could ask for. >> excellent, thank you. next question, how is the next confusion about voting twice going to be handled?he i've heard folks say they're sy confused because they're receiving mixed messages about voting, submitting an absentee ballot and then in-person.ed how will these discrepancies be resolved?g an abs >> through tweets.
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through tweets, responding that you should not, that it is illegal to vote twice, that youe should not vote twice, and that this attempt to confuse voters and to somehow enlist them to test the system is absolutely wrong, improper, actually illegal.ry >> and gets so every state, every single one has a system for not only deterring people who vote twice through prosecution, but also for making sure that the rolls u aret checked off whenever the r first ballot is cast so that tht second ballot doesn't count. in some places, the ballot that, counts is the ballot you cast in person. in other places it's the absentee that changes state by state, bue every state's got a system to make sure you can't actually vote twice and have it be effective. as the a.g. said, every state makes it illegal. as eral law makes it illegal. hi
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>> yeah. i would just dove tail on that e with this many lawyers in one place at one time, you know, you combat this garbage with the facts. when -- you know,facts. i under that the president isis very fu frustrated withst states like my and is not happy with my answer. and that's okay. i'm okay with that. weust just keep combating it wi the facts.have one of the facts we have to share with people, it is a felony, i believe in every stat single state,e, to attempt to ve more than once.not a it's not a felony to vote more than once, but you all know, re you're lawyers. but making people aware of that. the justice idea to go and chec the system is asking people to commit a felony. we've tried to share that information on every platform we can, and we'll continue to beate that drum.that it goes back to what jennifer t was saying, is that we have to continue to provide trusted information through the sources and channels we have available, and we have -- now we have to ur
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ramp up our activity.. we were all planning to do it. now is the time we have to start ramping it up and get the lannig information out to people. >> yes, thank you, all. that's very helpful. jennifer, this one may be for je you.e questi the question is, are any of you working on litigation to address the poll tax being imposed on people convicted of felonies who have been given the right to vot vote but states are now requiring restitution, court fines, fees, et cetera, be paid before they can vote. pa i'll add quickly that in our state, in washington, we changed the law over ten years ago, so that we call them legal that financial obligations, but fines and fees do not need to be paid for someone's right to vote to d be restored. would you like to take that? >> love to address that. because i am working on that litigation, actually, in g on florida, specifically. unfortunately, we got -- we recently received today a bad d
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ruling from the 11th circuit, that did not see things our way. linking the payment of people'se financial obligations to their ability to vote, they say, was s not a poll tax and did not burden the fundamental right to vote. but the silver lining, i guess, is there are still ways to help because there are many campaignh in place to fund raise and help people pay off their legal financial obligations so that ly they can register and vote. it's not just about this election, which is certainly important, but moving forward, we want to bring -- there are studies that show that when a ae person has committed a felony, is more likely to become a constructive member of the community and really re-enter their community if they have te their civil rights and c their e voting rights restored. if they don't carry additional collateral consequences with ifd them from the time they were sec
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incarcerated that make it more difficult to obtain work, to vote, to obtain housing. so we would, you know, encourage you to look into these efforts, to help pay off people's legal financial obligations. although the litigation right now is not -- will likely not be resolved before this election, e it's not totally over, necessarily. so stay tuned on >> and i know there was a on related question in the q&a a about where to contribute to the efforts to pay off the debts. the florida rights restoration coalition has been one of the primary engines in helping hel individuals pay off those debts so i'll drop the link in the chat.t. you can find more information. >> excellent.t. add thank you so much, justin.litig in addition to the litigation, o we need to work with our state legislatures to change these laws and repeal these practices.
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it's 2020, we need to eliminate these sort of poll taxes, arguably, as they are. another question here, is there one clearinghouse nationally re that holds all voting rights litigation? what is the best way to compile data on voting rights claims d since there are now many state c causes of action? instead of just using pacer to l find federal causes of action. any thoughts on that?ve go >> i've got a couple quick thoughts, then i'll leave it to others who may know other c qu resources.m tryi i dropped the link in the chat. i'm trying to track all of the covid-19 related election litigation this year.n, that's a mammoth set. that's, by no means, all litigation, including, for udine example, jennifer's case about disenfranchisement. re-enfranchising people after convictions. afte not related to the pandemic but
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incredibly important, isn't on my list.. michigan has a great civil rights clearinghouse that tries to track voting litigation when it exists.ho the ohio school of law, the moritz school of law at ohio olt state, has another litigation tracker that tries to track itig prominent but the question reflects how difficult it is, actually, to track state law cases in particular.actual law c we still, in the 21st century, don't have, in many states, particularly accessible ways to get hold of court documents or even litigation generally in t. dockets, so it's difficult. >> i would add that the brennana center has a very good website with lots of great information.o and if you would like, through , the democratic attorney generaln association, we're trying to keep track of state and local ad cases, and i might be able to put that together for you and p
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provide it as a link. i can't do it right this moment, but i will look into it. because i check it every day. it's very helpful.l. every >> on the topic of tracking, est this actually doesn't have to do with litigation, voting rights litigation, but ldf has been tracking -- and i won't say thil is fully comprehensive -- but r election and voting changes. rule changes, practice changes, in states that were formerly covered by section 5 of the voting rights wer we have a report called "democracy diminished," and we update it after every large upd election, about problems we're seeing that probably would havee been prevented, had we still hae section 5 operating as it did before. so if anyone is interested in that, i will try to find the link and drop it in the >> excellent. i am so sorry we're not able tot get to everyone's questions.ion. we'll do our best. we have these obviously in the e
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chat, and we'll try to respond t as we can. the panelists, i know how busy they are, but they may be willing to share a few thoughts on a couple of your questions.t we have time for one more, so i wanted to see if our -- if therf was a question in particular that any of our panelists r -- e panelists would like to addresso >> i saw one that i think is a great way -- i don't want to make it the one to end on, so i others have favorites, please note -- but one was asking about somebody had a voter orites registration rally today for people, potential voters, ages 18 to 25, and what we should tell them to help them engage id register. i'll just take a stab at that, and then maybe others can contribute. if there are other questions people want to answer, please, please. i don't mean to monopolize.ase, ean this just seemed important because voting is a habit. and voting is habit-forming. so, the more you can get young r voters to step up and take parte the more likely it is that they
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become lifelong voters. it's really not hard toy not register to vote, but it can seem like a barrier if you don'f have somebody bringing you through the initial step.mall help them take that initial step. it takes a small holding hand. help them take the initial step. there are lots of resources. nd. step there are plenty of government sites that you saw in the chat. every state has individual vidul resources. if you google "how do i register," there is a good, comprehensive list for the e person in their state, about hor they can best register to vote. give them a little nudge. tak i think they'll take that opportunity and turn it into lifelong voters, which we really ters, putof. >> and i'd just like to put in final plug for the vote at home system. stop thinking about it as vote by mail. there's so many different ways to cast the ballot after you te have the time with your family h to go over the ballot. over
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you can bring your kids into ths kitchen. have them sit around and actually have a civics lesson. people are feeling a little nostalgic for the polls. forget about it.ople ar the it's way more fun, you have time, and it's relaxing, and yoe you'll do a better job. you'll make a more informed decision about your then you take it to the dropbox or put it in the mail or you m take it to the election office. you have so many different ways. of voting. the important thing is vote. as jennifer said, make your pla. now. make sure if you need to changeo your registration or address. here in oregon, we've had herefires.s.yo we have people who have been evacuated. they have to change their i, wo address. we're helping them to do that. we have people who live under r bridges who are homeless.s.haveo we're helping them to vote. we have people on indian reservations. we're bringing shuttles in to town for them, to make sure they're comfortable casting their vote. there's so many different ways s to vote. in to them,
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but, please, vote. thank you.plea >> i would just -- thank >> i -- oh, i'm sorry. >> go ahead. i'm >> on the make a vote plan, feem free -- i believe my slides are part of the materials for this webinar, so feel free to save the slide i have on making a plan to vote. use it as a >> absolutely. and i echo all of my colleagues' comments. i would just add, because one of the questions in the q&a was those of you in washington and oregon, we don't have places fos people to work on election day. actually, we have a big need for election workers. on it varies by here in washington, we have a project called the boat squad, as in -- i'm dating myself, but i think of the mod squad. but whatever.e old e anyway, those of you old enough to remember will get that reference.r will but it is really designed to try to connect people with counties and fill in the needs. we do have 500 dropboxs that 500 need to be closed at 8:00 election night.oxs
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there are needs out there, even though we don't have traditional polling places.e org and i'm sure oregon is the samea way. >> somebody asked a question about postmarking if you use a dropbox.mebodyf you u you don't have to worry about postmarks if you use a dropbox. it's not mailed in ballots. just to be clear, you don't need to worry. no postmarks necessary. >> excellent.rks >> one more thing, jamie, so in, sorry. which is, in the chat and in the q&a, there will be a ton of t an really great questions, especially about specific statep and jurisdictions that i certainly don't know off the top of my head.might but i would encourage everyone to just read through those. you might think, oh, i want this in my state. i want curbside voting or i want universal mail-in voting, oh, in whatever it is. my or maybe i have it already and i just don't know.lready a use that as -- to just make you. think of initiatives you shouldu push for, like automatic voter registration, other things. even the chat and q&a are fertile ground for people to use
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as -- for things they'd like toe advocate in the future.cellent. >> excellent. thank you, all, so much. to the audience, we know we're o almost at time, but if you can stick with us just a few more o minutes, we have a short video e that we want to share with you. and if you need to leave now, wn certainly understand that, too. there are 35 days until election day. as we know, early voting is under way in some as lawyers, we have a heightene duty to protect our democracy uo and the rule of law. i hope everyone will do what they can to ensure every ensur eligible citizen has a safe and fair opportunity to cast their vote. as you've heard throughout the d panel today, it is crucial that we have enough poll workers on november 3rd, and some states need volunteers to help count votes after that day. for details in your state, check your local election officials.
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>> congress is expected to be out of session for much of october. the senate meets today for legislative business but no votes on planned for the next couple of weeks. majority leader mcconnell says they could meet later in october for a possible vote on supreme court nominee amy coney barrett. until then, work continues off the floor on her nomination, including committee meetings and confirmation hearings. the house has no plans to meet for legislative business, but if there's an agreement on a new covid relief bill, members will get 24 hours notice for a vote if it's scheduled. watch live coverage of the senate today at 4:30 p.m. eastern on c-span2. weeknights this month on american history tv, we're featuring the contenders, our series that looks at 14 presidential candidates who lost the election but had a lasting effect on u.s. politics. tonight author h.w. brands on 19th century political figures henry clay, john c. calhoun and
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daniel webster. he explains why the three statesmen were critical to american politics between the war of 1812 and the compromise of 1850. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern. enjoy american history tv. this week and every weekend on c-span3. tonight on the communicators, tech freedom founder berin szoka and jessica gonzalez on tech issues that may play a role in campaign 2020. >> what the administration is trying to do here is narrow the protection for content moderation so that websites would no longer be protected if they tried to remove content that they thought was a false or, perhaps, racist. >> i'm no fan of big tech platforms and how they've abused their workers and how they have abused the privacy rights of
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their users. but, frankly, going after section 230 is not the right approach to the very real problems that we're seeing with online platforms. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. watch live coverage of the senate confirmation hearings for judge amy coney barrett starting monday, october 12th, with opening statements by judiciary committee members and judge barrett. live coverage on c-span and listen life on the c-span radio app. and visit to see a list of amy coney barrett's legal views. now a hearing with law enforcement officers, legal experts and a former neo-nazi discussing their experiences with racist police officers and the danger of w


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