tv U.S. Election Procedures CSPAN February 15, 2014 10:47pm-11:52pm EST
other. >> the formality of the event as you look at the wait staff and everyone in their finest. can this be stressful for guest? >> it can be. you wear clothes that are not comfortable. and they are walking on marble. but you sit down and have a nice dinner and the foods and wines are wonderful and you get to be entertained with wonderful ene ener -- entertainment -- >> we have our next caller >> how did you become social secretary? >> i was on the president's
first campaign and wanted to serve in the administration so i was chief of staff for our trade representatives ron kirk. when the previous secretary, rogers went back to chicago, the president asked if i would do the job. it was a big ask but i am glad i did it was it was fulfilling. >> during the first state dinner, guest got in that were not supposed and things changed to make sure that didn't happen again. can you explain? >> i think after that happened people stepped back and said this shouldn't have happened and let's make sure every i is dotted and everything t is crossed. we were more diligent and i went to bed with the guest list under my pillow and made sure every guest came through.
>> the invitation is something you cannot miss in the mail because it is thick on heavy bonded paper and there is a lot to it. >> you can feel the print on it, too. it is wonderful. it is as a nice thing. it is the way things should be. >> there is a menu at the table? >> a menu people can take home as a keepsake. it has the menu and wine. >> i think we have the videos and we will show you as we hear from michael in west virginia. >> yes, thank you have taking my call. -- for -- >> i just wondering if michele obama's mother take part in the planning and does she attend the
dinners? >> she is a lovely women and took part in the dinners i did and took part in the tasting. she has great experience with that and can say what needs to be added and what would go better with this dish or side. she is a great asset to the tasting. >> can you put a price tag on what this cost the whitehouse? >> i think it varies. you know, there are -- it takes a lot to put them on. it can be a little pricier than your average dinner party >> the president is going to be travelling to france for the 70th anniversary for the d-day invasion. let's go to georgia. good evening. >> good evening, caller. >> i am impressed by the protocol of you.
i was a lucky person -- i am a united states citizen from pakist pakistan region. and i welcomed president in 1979. if there is a muslim guest, how do you serve them? >> if the head of state has dietary restrictions we know that way ahead of time. we work with their staff and find out if they have dairy sensitiveties or don't like b s brusle sprouts or something. >> is there an exchange of gifts and how is that determined?
>> there is an exchange of gifts. the protocol office at the state department does of the work. they are amazing and spend months on doing their homework. what does steve like? what are his hobbies? what are his favorite foods? they dig around and find out stories that would make a good gift >> what is the proper etiquette for, in this case, the president of france to send a thank you to the first lady and president? do they send a note? >> i don't think if i have seen a note if a note has come. it is hard to get mail into the whitehouse. but i would imagine a note would be good. ...
we use people from the state dining room into the eastern. so there were able to have some coffee and move on into the east room. it varies, you know, a dinner by dinner. >> host: final question to you have to be prepared for everything, including a wardrobe malfunction. >> guest: yes to my wardrobe malfunction. as you launch a saw, the private quarters, that usually takes
three minutes. and while they are lined up waiting, the president is binding his jacket, the button pops off. >> host: the president of china. >> host: to 5 feet you know, president obama. and that took about ten minutes. so the guests were wondering ball was going on. we have of wardrobe malfunction and everything went smoothly after that. >> host: julianna smoot, thank you for being with us speech to take you so much. >> host: we want to share with you more from the winehouse. arriving shortly after 7:00 eastern time to be greeted by the president and first lady. this is what it lovelock.
♪ >> that was about two hours ago as the president and first lady welcome to the french president. now at this hour the french president and the american president toasting each other taking place in a tent that has been described by writers as a monet masterpiece. coming up shortly you will have a chance to see what it looks like inside. we cannot bring it to you live because of -- because of the logistics'. he will be a will to appeal it out and show it to you momentarily. while the president of france was arriving, on the lower level guests were arriving. 350 guests invited for tonight
arrival of the guests that began around 6:30 p.m. this evening in an area known as the bookseller. they then moved upstairs for a reception and then took a trolly a short distance on the south side of the white house for the actual debtor itself. the state dining room and east room not able to handle the 350 guests to honor the french president. so this is what the scene looks like inside the south lawn to and to to replicate a money money-inspired setting in much have that transportation of a spring-like the man and a test by the president of the united states in honor of the president of france. [applause] [applause]
>> a good evening, everybody. please have a seat. [laughter] michele and i are so honored to welcome you to the white house as we host the president and his delegation for this historic state visit between our nation, the first in nearly 20 years. and our press conference today i quoted the son of france in 1831 set out across our young country and a chronicle of our american democracy as those are always
amazed this nation of ours and captured its. as well as anyone ever has. tonight i would like to share some of his lesser-known observations about american dining, the absence of wind in our meals which first struck him as very disagreeable and still cannot understand a multitude of things that americans succeed in introducing into their stomachs. some things did not change. when francois came here years ago to study i suspect he said the same time. about the white house, but the traveling companion wrote the president of the united states occupies a palace that in paris would be called a fine private residence. and he wrote -- and i very much
can relate to this, the power of the king of france would be know if there were modeled after the power of the president. [laughter] and he did not have to do with the filibuster. one young american lawyer went to paris and was deeply moved to see white and black students studying together. and that was charles summer who became one of our greatest abolitionists and helped to end slavery in is one of the reasons that all of us can be here this evening as full citizens free in the cool. it is true that we americans have grown to love all things french, film, food, wine, especially the wind. but most of all we love our french friends because we stood together for freedom for more
than 200 years. tonight i want to pay tribute for the principle of and principal careers that he has shown on the world stage. i thank you, francois. we started this busy yesterday at monticello, and i would like to and where we began. thomas jefferson wrote trope -- so as the troweled inhabitants of any nation on what country on earth would you rather live. certainly in my home when my friends to our relations in the earliest and sweetest affections and recollections of my life. but jefferson added, which would be your second choice. france, of course. and so i propose a toast. to our friend and partner who all of our friends from france or here today. god bless america and long live
the alliance between our great nations. >> here here. >> cheers. [silence] >> i think it is right here. [inaudible question] [applause] [applause] >> mr. president, members of the congress and french parliament, ladies and gentlemen, i hope a translation exists. [laughter] i would like to thank you, mr. president to muffle the warm
welcome they you have extended to me and my delegation. france and the united states of america are tied by history, french citizens such as lafayette who fought alongside the heroes of independence to when your freedom, freedom to preserve. the glorious history of the americans who came to fight during the first world war and then in june, 1944, to lead the european continent from oppression. this have to and it was a great moment in the great honor to applaud your unknown soldier with the french vision of honor and a word veterans of the civil
[speaking in native tongue] [speaking in french] [speaking in french] [speaking in french] >> i raise my glass in honor of america, the president, barack obama, the united states. [speaking in french] [applause] [speaking in french] >> we have feelings for one another. we love the americans, and you
love the french. [laughter] we share the same universal values, freedom, democracy. we have been defending these values together. the french armed forces are able to rely on the support provided by the u.s. soldiers and equipment in the central african republic. your support as accompanied our operations aiming at restoring security in this country torn by a violence between religion. see whether we have removed the unacceptable threat of an iranian nuclear weapon. we have succeeded in reaching an internal agreement in syria. we together removed the threat
of force, the threat of a worsening situation and managers to force the regime of assad with the stockpiles of chemical weapons and together we are looking resolutely for a political outcome so desperately needed. to get a french and americans also want to work for growth and introduce a new rules that will prevented financial crisis and enable us to fight more efficiently against. [inaudible] the strength and robustness of the american economy is a source of hope for all countries provided that we'll -- open our markets. we will succeed. together we will also rise to
the challenge of climate change. hosting their conference in 2015. it is up to us to convince our major partners to take the necessary steps before it is too late, and i know i can count on your commitment. mr. president, the relations between our two countries have reached an exceptional level of closeness. there is one simple reason for that. we share the same vision of the world and share a mutual respect the united states of america and france are two great nations. what is expected of them is to keep the promise, the promise of freedom and the promise of progress and also to keep the dream alive, that same dream that made by jefferson, washington, lafayette commanded french revolutionaries, the
dream to change the world by uniting our forces, united -- uniting our talents, we will be able to keep the flame of hope alive. i raise my glass to the president of the united states of america and to michele obama. long live the united states. along with france. [applause] [applause] perez discusses
attorney general eric holder's call on stage to repeal laws that prohibit felons from voting after they are released from prison. administrationa is considering using drone strikes against american citizens abroad who have ties to al qaeda. we will be joined by christopher anders and former general counsel to the u.s. army charles blanchard. >> we are live every sunday withng -- every morning your facebook comments and tweets. medine.akers, and david he talks about the nsa surveillance programs and the board's report last month at the code records program is illegal. here is a preview. >> we operate in an area where there was a lot of classified information. if wee the classification
think is important for the american people to understand the program. >> you pushed for declassification of the program? >> if we find assets of the program or the entire program where we think it will be public benefit, we would consider going to the intelligence committee and asking them to declassify it. we have recommended greater transparency. there is a secret loss of that american people can determine whether or an operation has been authorized. we want a little more on their information collection agencies and to offer private companies to let their customers nor about private gust -- five at government needs. tell you how the companies will disclose. >> had easy the country's attitude on this question on the balance between national security and privacy changing?
reaction is how we can stop our efforts to protect from future attacks. struck more of a balance between national security and privacy and civil liberties concerns. there was an interesting poll right after the boston bombings where substantial amount of people polled said they would not give out their private and civil liberties for greater security and that was after a horrific event. these are tough questions. we are not an advocacy organization where we say to do the right wing and ignoring national security. we have to say how this -- how do we benefit the country and benefit private and civil liberties. the president has said the same thing. if we give up one, we have lost a lot for the country. >> you can watch the entire interview with david medine sunday at 10 a.m. and again at 6
p.m. eastern here on c-span. after newsmakers, testimony from janet yellen on the u.s. economy and monetary policy. her first hearing as head of the federal reserve. at 10:35unday morning a.m. eastern also here on c-span. c-span.org website gives you access to more political events with more added each day. c-span's daily coverage of official washington or access more than 200,000 hours of archived video. everything c-span is covered since 1987. our video is all searchable and viewable on your desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. just look for the search bar at the top of each page.
makes it easy.org to watch what is happening today in washington and fine people at event from the past 25 years. it is the most comprehensive video library in politics. next cochairs. on it was released last month that it studies problems cited by voters like long lines, proving new technology, and opening more polling stations. this is the first under the commissioners have testified on capitol hill. the hearing is just over an hour. >> the rules committee will call to order. our hearing today is on the presidential commission on election administration. the report and recommendations on best practices in election administration. at the core of our national
identity as americans is a pride that we live in a democracy and of course have the right to vote. the beautiful thing to me that on november nights in new york, cold november nights, citizens, tired, coming home from work, want to get home and put dinner on the table for the kids, just get home because they've had a hard day at work, put their feet up on the table and -- on the coffee table and watch their tv show but in quiet dignity they line up, go into the polling place, do their duty and the next morning we all abide by the decision. it's an amazing thing that doesn't happen in most countries still to this day and hasn't happened in any country for as long as it has happened in ours. it's a beautiful thing. in the 225-year journey since the first presidential election, many things have changed. more people are eligible to vote. as i look around the room here, only half of us would have been able to vote then.
more people are eligible to vote, african-americans, 18 to 20-year-olds, today's expanded electorate is much more reflective of our nation as a whole. as recent examples have shown, there are still problems with our elections, many of which can be addressed by improve thelling way we administer. election administration is a difficult, often thankless task. before i go further, i'd like to thank our election officials for all the election day that was gone right over the years. it's not an easy job because it's so important to our democracy, we have to aspire to perfection. in reality, most americans don't even think about running of an election until something goes wrong. we all remember florida in 2000,
minnesota's 2008, where elections were under a microscope. as recently as 2012, many polling places around the country had unacceptably long lines. this wasn't the first election with that problem but we'd like it to be the last. in his victory speech, president obama referenced the long lines saying, quote, we need to fix that, unquote. that's hard to do because elections are run at the state and local level. with the patchwork system sometimes creating challenges, former supreme court justice louie brandice famously called the states, quote, laboratories of democracy. they sometimes provide us with examples of innovation that can be shared throughout the country. soon after the last election, the president acted and created a bipartisan commission to study election administration and best practices for improving voting in america.
the president insisted this not be a partisan exercise. the commission was supposed to seek out the best ideas for making voting easier and better no matter where they came from. that's what the commission did. the presidential election -- commission on election administration was made up of 10 members, included current and former election officials, executives from successful customer service oriented businesses and two chairs, both well known, one republican, one a democrat, but each with a long, storied history in this area. and so, mr. bauer and mr. ginsburg, you've been on opposing sides in political campaigns, in the courtroom, you both have top-notch credentials as advocates and champions of your respect i parties. you're uniquely qualified to identify caresa -- areas where we should move forward. i'd like to thank you for serving on the commission and finding places where we can move beyond partisanship and focus on the nuts and bolts of making
running elections easier and better for voters and administrators alike. your commission's report in my judgment is an outstanding piece of work, a valuable road map for improving election administration in this country. while the commission's charge did not include recommendations for federal legislation, the report makes it leer there are areas of existing law and its enforcement must be improved and our committee will study your report and testimony today carefully. i hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in using this report to help improve our election system and strengthen our democracy. so we thank you for your work, we look forward to hearing your testimony and with that, let me turn it over to senator roberts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to hearing the presentation of our witnesses. i want to thank you for your service. they are to be commended for giving their time on this
project, lending their experience and expertise which is considerable. i know there are a number of other well-qualified commissioners who are not with us today but i thank hem as -- them as well for their efforts. the committee was charged with making best practice recommendations rather than legislative recommendations and that's what the report has done. it recognizes that elections are carried out at the state and local level and that's where we must focus our attention. for elections to function properly, we need all parties -- the election officials, pollworkers and the voters themselves, to do their part. this requires proper planning and effective administration i hope the work of the commission and its recommendations will help advance the effective administration of our elections and improve the voter experience. i look forward to the testimony of our witnesses. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator roberts. i welcome opening statements by the other members of the panel. >> thank you very much, senator schumer. i want to, again, as a member of
the judiciary committee, i have looked at issues from that perspective, i want to thank our witnesses today for their good work and while you did mention minnesota with the recount, ok, and the fact that as we all remember, someone did vote for someone named lizard person in that particular election when we painfully looked at every single ballot in the state, our state has a proud tradition of high voter turnout. we were the -- we're always consistently in the top few states of voter turnout and a lot of that has to do with having same day registration. of the top six states for voter turnout, they're not necessarily democratic or republican states, iowa is usually one of the top ones, maine is one of the top states, but they tend to have something in common, most of them have same-day registration. i know that isn't necessarily part of what you looked at in terms of legislation but i think that it would go a long way and i have a bill with senator tester to look at rolling that out on a national level.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> minnesota has one of the best election systems and really tries to do it fairly and in a nonpartisan way, as does maine, actually. senator king. >> i don't have a statement, mr. chairman, except to, since minnesota and maine have been brought up, jesse ventura and i always thought it was states with independent governors who had high voter turnout. >> i will point out, senator king did not wear a feather bowa at his inaugural party. >> well, you don't know that. no, i have -- >> i can't imagine. >> i will reserve my comments and look forward to hearing from the witnesses. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> we want to thank our witnesses, first mr. bob bauer. in addition to serving as co-chair of the presidential commission we're here to discuss, he's a partner in the law firm of perkins-couey.
he was general counsel to the democratic national committee in the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. was general counsel to obama for president. his credentials are strong. mr. ben ginsberg serving as co-chairman, he is a partner in a law firm. in 2012 and 2008, he served as national counsel to the romney for president campaigns and i won't get into it, but he has had a profound effect in our electoral system. you changed america, not in a way that i liked but amazing with what you did. we would ask each of our witnesses to limit their statements to five minutes and additional statements. without objection, additional remarks, without objection, will be read into the record.
>> senator schumer, senator roberts, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity testifying today with my co-chair. we discussed in advance how we would organize it so i'm going to open with some general considerations identified in the report that we asked our readers to keep in mind as we laid out our recommendations and the best practices we identified. and then i'm going to illustrate the approach we took by talking about the signature issue, the issue most associated with the commission and that is the problem of long lines at the polls. there are a number of other issues that ben will cover that we addressed in six major recommendations along with as i said, highlighted best practices. but let me say first that the commission was structured and its membership was selected on the theory that election administration is a topic of public administration and needs to be treated as such and that the voters ought to be
considered very much as we would consider any other recipients of services provided, that is to say, elsewhere in their lives, americans think a good bit about customer service and how customer service is rendered to them in their roles as consumers and other walks of life and our view was and the president's intention was the commission consider the voter as entitled to that level of customer service, providing the service in the voting process that we all believe as the drivers of our democracy the voters deserve. so this theme of public administration was essential to our work. one illustration of the importance to the commission and the approach the commission took in this thought-about public administration and this emphasis on public administration is our reliance on data. our view was we ought to look at election administration as thoroughly as possible through the lens as the best possible
information, social science and research that was available. and we were very fortunate that some of the witnesses who came before the commission were able to fashion fresh data for purposes of their testimony that the commission could rely upon and that included an extraordinary survey of several thousand state and local election administrators conducted by the state's political scientists and survey research experts and we gleaned very significant information about some of the issues we addressed from that survey. overall throughout the report, the effort was to look very closely at the evidence, how the electoral system was performing. and in that connection, one of the recommendations that we make is that we need in this country much more collection and analysis of data to enable us to pinpoint the strength and weaknesses in the performance of our electoral process. beyond that, there was a few others and i will go through them, considerations that we
discussed at the outset of our report. does one size fit all? we have many different jurisdictions. some believe that you cannot generalize all reforms across jurisdictional lines and to some extent that is true, there are enough common features across the united states that one size in many respects can fit all in many of these recommendations and the recommendations we have made, we have made on the basis that they truly fit all. issue of resources. election administration costs money. and too often we heard from administrators that budget priorities are such, the fiscal pressures on the states and local jurisdictions are such that too often the needs of election administrators, the fiscal needs, are shuffled to the bottom of the deck. we don't make specific recommendations, that was not our charge, but it was important to note that we cannot have elections without money. thirdly, the technology
challenge, and i will leave it to ben to discuss in greater details but one warning bell that we rang here was the impending crisis in voting technology. enforcement of existing law. it's very important that even though we don't make legislative recommendations, for us to call attention to problems in compliance with existing federal statutes that were enacted to protect certain voters, minority, disabled voters and voters among our overseas and military population. some of these statutes had significant effect, but there are some gaps in compliance, compliance with the americans with disability act, compliance with the voting rights act and the provisions that protect language minorities and performance of public assistance agencies under the national voter registration act in supporting the registration process.
so those are fundamental points that we make. and let me say a point about lines. there are many factors that feed into lines. we tried to analyze what those factors might be. they raise a whole host of issues that each can be individually addressed and the problem with lines can be substantially resolved. and we also, and this is something we call attention to, publicizing online tools on our web site and to be hosted on the voting technology web site that administrators can use immediately and improve upon to allocate resources within the polling place and plan for long lines and address them. this is a report but also a project and our work begins now to work with you, the congress, state legislative leaders, community leaders, election administrators around the country to see their effective implementation.
>> thank you, mr. chairman for having us here today. it's been a pleasure to work with bob on this. it is fair to say we are both proud of the work of our commission. we were charged with making recommendations to the state and local officials who actually put on our elections to remove barriers to dualy qualified citizens being able to cast their votes easily. elections can be conflict between republicans and democrats but a subject where republicans and democrats can agree on the basic principle and on commonsense solutions to make the voting experience better. bob and i were fortunate to work with eight other commissioners and a talented research director from whom we learned a tremendous amount. we were able to reach bipartisan and unanimous agreement on best practices.
we found that the basic principles on which republicans and democrats agree is that every legally registered voter has the right to be able to cast his or her ballot easily and without impediments. as to the details of voting, bob and i had history. we have been on the opposite side of many partisan battles over the years and will be again as we go to the path of the elections. among those battles have been a lot of recounts. all those recounts were instructed to this exercise, because they provide an unparalleled view of how the system works. we'll both tell you there are problems with our system of voting. the commission presented a unique opportunity for us to address some of those topics to both republicans and democrats. and which we need to do something about. that is not a partisan issue. it is trying to get right something that very much needs to be gotten right. in fact, it's so important to
get it right, that it deserves doing even if it doesn't satisfy everything to one party or another, believes need to be fought in this area. as for fixing these problems, the commission recognized elections are administered by approximately 8,000 different jurisdictions largely using volunteers who don't receive much training. achieving uniformity in our elections has proven challenging. let me turn to a few big picture issues that jurisdictions face. the state of our voting equipment and technology is an impending crisis. the machines being used in virtually every jurisdiction purchased 10 years ago with funds after the florida recount will no longer be functional within the next 10 years. voting equipment has not kept up with technological advances in our daily lives. the current equipment is expensive and unsatisfactory to virtually every elections official with whom the
commission spoke. that is due to a federal certification process that is broken and must be reformed. this is a subject to which few are paying attention and will not end well on its current path. one of the issues we heard about consistently was having adequate physical facilities for polling places. in most communities, those facilities were schools. but officials in an increasing number of jurisdictions cite safety concerns as a reason for not making schools available for voting. adequate facilities to vote and safety for our children cannot be competing interests. the commission called attention to the problem and to recommend security concerns be addressed by making election day an in-service day for students and teachers. bob already talked about long lines. let me touch on some of the other subjects that the commission specific recommendations and best practices to the state and local
officials. early voting was one. our commission charge was to make it easier for eligible voters to vote. a majority of states with both democratic and republican state officials leading the way now have early voting and told us that early voting is here to stay and increasingly demanded by voters. the details of the number of days and hours will vary by state, county and locality and the decisions are best made there. whether to help ensure that only dually qualified voters vote were to facilitate more people to vote easily, the commission found agreement and support across the political spectrum for more accurate voter lists. we make two recommendations in that regard. one is the adoption and use of more online registration to support the voter web site and secondly, we recommend that all
states join two existing two programs, the interstate voter cross check or kansas project and election registration and information center. both allow states to share data in ways that will make their lists more accurate on their own initiative. the report touches on a number of subjects that are summarized in my testimony. military and overseas voting, disabled policies and law that require accessible polling, a group that is growing larger with the baby boom generation, recommendations that entail state and local voting officials meeting with members of the disabled community and those with language proficiency issues to work out solutions for local polling areas. and data and testing. there should be testing of our machines after each election to see how well they performed and share information among jurisdictions. and there should be more uniform
collection of data, because as our political scientist friends led by our research director at stanford university told us, more data leads to better solutions. with that, thank you again for having us and i know bob and i would be happy to answer questions. >> thank you both for your report and excellent testimony. i'll start off. the report recommends that states adopt online voting registration, reform that improves accuracy and saves money. 19 states have done it, so that means 31 have not. why -- what is the barrier to the other states doing it and is there anything we can do to overcome those barriers?
>> we are not seeing barrier so much. sometimes it takes a while for the discussion to take place within the state and ultimately decisions to be reached in favor of online registration. we are optimistic that is one of the developments. a key introduction of the technology into the electoral process that is going to move across the country. and one of our goals in keeping with the project is to go out and as we have been invited to do and make the case wherever we can and whenever that case can be made, whether by federal legislative leaders, state legislative leaders, voting rights groups, community leaders, that case does need to be made. >> is there an upfront cost? >> there is an upfront cost. >> how much is it? significant? >> it is not significant and over time, states that have
adopted online registration, it is a net savings. >> we have a lot of instances in our government where an upfront cost is recouped but because of budgets, people don't want to make the expenditures in year one and year two. that is not a barrier in your eyes? >> no. >> second, the report states that electronic poll books have the potential to solve election-day issues that election officials want this technology. can you discuss how electronic poll books make a difference and what is delaying the adoption of that one? >> much easier how to describe how it makes a difference than to describe why it's been a problem. the information that can be put on an electronic poll book takes care of a lot of the old paper that's in a polling place. you can call up much more information, including signature