tv House Members Testify on Voting Rights and Election Laws CSPAN December 17, 2021 6:20pm-7:25pm EST
when everybody is there, it feels crowded and intense, like an important moment, and there are people standing. maybe the fire marshal would not allow that, but i don't think congress should let the size of the existing room determine how it should represent the public. if there is a need to expand, they know where to find an architect. >> ok. with that in the callous disregard for fire safety, we will conclude this. i want to thank everybody for doing this. ladies first, with ruth from the university of chicago, and the others. thank you also much for tuning in and i hope you'll come back for the next exciting aei adventure. >> the reagan national defense form jose discussion on u.s. military alliances.
>> good morning. the subcommittee on elections administration will come to order. let me thank everyone of you and thank you for joining. as we begin, i want to make a few notes. we are holding this hearing as an in person hearing and doing it remotely. we are doing it in compliance with the regulations for remote committee proceedings pursuant to house resolution number eight. remove her to keep your microphones muted when not speaking. if you are joining us virtually, keep your camera on at all times.
for those of you joining us in the hearing room we are holding this in accordance with the guidance by the attending physician and everybody should continue to wear a mask except when speaking. i ask unanimous consent at the chair be authorized to declare a recess of the subcommittee at any point at all members have five days in which to revise or subsidize the remarks. i hear no objection. it is therefore ordered. the house rules package requires -- to hold a hearing during the congress in which they accept testimony from members and delegates on proposed legislation within their jurisdiction. the subcommittee on elections is holding today's member day hearing. they encompass a wide array of
matters and voting in federal elections generally. we take this charge seriously. the subcommittee had five hearings focusing on voting in america and ensuring that every american has free and fair access to the ballot box. the subcommittee heard testimony from 35 witnesses. we examined a range of topics such as voter list purchase, voter identification, proof of citizenship laws, the lack of multilingual support, the quality of polling places, and restrictions on voting. we talked about that all-important subject of redistricting. all of which when wielded with discriminatory intent can hinder access to the ballot box. the hearing spoke on election
matters focusing on strengthening democracy, the elections clause, and the growing threat of election subversion. we look forward to hearing from colleagues not on the committee who wish to share their ideas and proposals with us. i want to recognize my friend from the state of wisconsin, and i wish you and your family a very merry christmas and happy new year, and i'm pleasured to work with you this year. we sit on opposite sides of the aisle but i think we have developed a respectful and reciprocal relationship. rep. steil: i have enjoyed working with you. house rules state that each standing committee or each subcommittee shall hold a hearing in which they receive testimony from members, delegates, and commissioners.
today, 348 days into the session, chair lofgren is just now filling this requirement but chose to do so without a full committee. this requirement is being filled by our subcommittee on elections. oversight of federal elections is important and a key piece of the committee's jurisdiction. elections are a fraction of what members are able to speak to during a true members hearing day. we should be able to speak that the people's house is not open to tours. we should be able to talk about mask requirements on the house floor. we should be able to talk about metal detectors for members of congress. today we are having a hearing on the friday before christmas. almost like the democrats are trying to hide something from the public of the bad policies of their legislation. kind of like they did in rushing
through hr1, a mandate to states and localities on every minute detail of how elections should be operated. hr1 would have gutted voter id laws, would have nationalized elections, would have restricted state abilities to maintain accurate rolls, and would have legalized handouts funded with taxpayer money. this process is repeating itself in the senate where they are trying to pass a compromise voting bill now before the end of the year when nobody is watching. the bill and debate in the senate is just a shorter version of hr-1 and would mandate that mail-in ballots be accepted if received seven days after the election. it would weaken voter id requirements, mandate voter
registration, and would centralize the administration in washington, d.c. let's take a couple seconds to reflect on what this democratic majority has done when it comes to our role overseeing federal elections. every day we hear how our democracy is under threat. we hear how critical it is that we have passed partisan agendas and elections to save democracy. what they have done and continue to do through rhetoric, actions, policies, is a threat to democracy. it was the democrats on this committee who attempted to steal an election in iowa's second congressional district despite of race being certified and contemplated trying to steal a seat in new york 32nd congressional district. they only backed down after facing a backlash from the public. do you want to know how to protect democracy? start by not nationalizing
elections to rig the outcomes in your favor. start by not using sensational lang which that undermines faith in elections. start by not trying to steal elections for congressional seats that were duly certified under the law. i support making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. i appreciate our colleagues going around the outgoing majorities attempt to make it as inconvenient as possible. it is 5:00 a.m. in alaska. they want to be held not accountable for the way the house is being run. i look forward to today's discussion. i think it will be lively and i appreciate holding today's hearing. i yield back. rep. butterfield: we are joined by several members.
peter meyer represents -- third district. the committee on foreign affairs and the science and technology committee. you are recognized for approximately five minutes. rep. meijer: ensuring the integrity remains a priority of mine. in recent years, politicians have sought to undermine that confidence. this erosion led to a crisis of confidence where fraud and voter suppression echo one another.
the people in this chamber should seek to restore faith in the voting public and the integrity of our elections. hr-1 trips faith of local governments of their ability to determine how best to administer . it goes on to make those agencies responsible for administering those rules explicitly partisan by changing the structure of the sec from six to five. it goes further by removing the requirements for bipartisan agreement, an important check against partisan impulses. it enables the irs to discriminate in its issuance of fundraising on the basis of partisanship and to issue focus. i cannot think of a system better designed to undermine
public confidence. then you make those enforcement mechanisms explicitly partisan. in the event that he partisan majority acted aboveboard, it would be impossible for the sec to defend itself against charges of partisanship because it would be partisan by definition. the conspiracy theories right themselves. the temptation to abuse a partisan structure to partisan ends are more than -- the overall bill is flawed but even in detail it is a fiasco. i have limited time so i am unable to address the many provisions in this bill, but is it even necessary to discuss the obvious consequences of
replacing voter id with signed affidavits? of -- the voter id scams. i don't have the time to delve into the incredible burden that these mandates would impose on state and local election administrators, or the wave of frivolous election lawsuits that those mandates would produce, achieving the polar opposite of the stated gain of hr-1. the pandemic created an experiment in election ministration procedures. in some cases, these changes created unintended consequences that undermine voter confidence. in others they enhance -- our congress, the 1/17, has the
unique opportunity and the imperative to work together to sort through these changes. that word -- workmate yet the done but it will not be accomplished. with the partisan bill before us. i yield back. rep. butterfield: i am informed that the ranking member of our full committee has joined us. i'm delighted to recognize him. congressman rodney davis from illinois. he is my neighbor and we see each other quite frequently. i appreciate your friendship and i will yield to you such time as you may consume. rep. davis: it has been a great time working with you. i enjoy our time together on the committee and as neighbors in the office building. thank you for your hard work on the subcommittee and welcoming me to share a few remarks.
the people's house is beyond mismanaged. over the course of three years, speaker pelosi and house democrats have manipulated the rules at every turn. they weaponized the institution to consolidate power and to politicize the day-to-day operations of the house. the house rules are created by the democratic majority and now they are attempting to avoid them. in typical fashion, the democrat majority has pulled out all the stops to suppress opportunities to have an audience with the committee. by doing this before christmas, and -- our good chairman representative
butterfield, and housing it within the subcommittee on elections. here are a few of the things that happened this year. the democratic jury failed to properly oversee the security of the capital complex, leaving members and staff completely exposed, took no responsibility and have made no changes since two and sure it does not happen again. they let a democratic member to be on the house floor so that they can vote for the speaker days after testing positive for covid. related to covid-19. to justify mask mandates and to keep the people's house closed to the american people on the others of the same building. tours can resume. they manufactured a false narrative of republican members being a threat and requiring members to -- or to face fines.
in practice only republican numbers have been fine despite video evidence of the speaker and other kratz failing to follow the same requirement -- other democrats failing to follow the same requirement. here are a few examples. a republican member submitted to the committee [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, on august 18 the standard request -- it took the committee 10 weeks to approve the request. the committee produced draft joint guidance on local issues august 2020. the majority staff did not even respond until september 2021. a republican staffer in this committee was out over $500 in their own money for 14 weeks while the majority many failed to process the reimbursement request. these are horrible precedents to
set. the house administration is a unique committee because so much of what we do is inward facing. we are a member service committee. the vision i have set for my team is to make the housework. stronger, healthier and more efficient institutions can serve all of america better. it's time for the majority members to understand all the frustration in the negative impact on the member ability to do their jobs and to represent our constituent's and the american people. i'm grateful for the members who put forward their experience with us today to share their experiences and feedback. rep. butterfield: i think the ranking member. the chair recognizes congressman mike johnson. he represent louisiana's fourth congressional district. serves on the armed services
committee and the committee on the judiciary. congressman johnson, you are recognized for five minutes. rep. johnson: thank you, mr. chairman, and all of my distinguished colleagues who serve on the subcommittee. we wish you all a merry christmas. every member of congress would agree that the processes put in place for 2020 sowed doubt into the minds of many americans about the integrity. many governors and secretaries of state, judges and other actors went around the constitutional authority of state legislatures to set new parameters for how the election would be administered. the problem with all of that is it was contrary to the express lang which of the constitution itself. article ii, section 1,
clause 2, it's the state legislators only who are given authority. as the supreme court itself affirmed, almost 130 years ago, that power is placed absolutely and wholly with the legislatures and can never be taken away. all of those unconstitutional changes led to widespread irregularities that undermined american faith in our institutions. how did democrats respond? they doubled down by reintroducing hr-1 and hr-4. hr-1 would nationalize elections and centralize election administration in washington, d.c., which is a direct violation of the plane lang which of the constitution. article 1 -- plain language of the constitution.
article one section 4 -- article one would provide no absentee voting with no verification of identity. it would no longer make it a felony and would require increased requirements for only certain political donors which would violate the first amendment and chill free speech. it would -- motivate investigations against conservative groups and other things. it would make pandemic-specific election reforms, all of the chaos last year, permanent. all of these policies are misguided but the most egregious permissions that will alarm the american people are those that would provide taxpayer funding for political campaigns. the bill creates a 6:1 match of any dollars.
every $200 contribution, the federal government will provide up to $1200. our democrat colleagues want to take your tax dollars and use that money to fund campaigns across the country regardless of whether you want them or would agree with them. tax dollars of pro-life individuals could be sent to pro-abortion candidates. second abutment advocates would fund -- second amendment advocates would fund the campaigns of their opponents. that's not all. hr-4 is another can of worms. democrats attempt to orchestrate another federal power grab over elections, this time under the guise of updating the voting rights act. in 1975, the vra updated an act
to remove radical -- this, tori barriers. -- discriminatory barriers. the supreme court recognized an obvious fact when it examined the voting rights act and concluded that things have changed dramatically since 1965. that should be celebrated. the court reasoned that requiring states to precleared election laws from half a century ago was a violation of state sovereignty. republicans are thrilled. more americans from minority communities are voting now than ever before. voter registration remains high. this is a great achievement. voter registration disparities between minority and not minority voters in states like texas and florida -- my home state in louisiana are below the national average. they are lower than democrat run states.
democrats would have you think otherwise. they want to bring preclearance back and have states seek approval from merrick garland's justice department before making changes. this is a blatant federal power grab. both hr-1 and hr-4 are contrary to the founders intent of the constitution that if ever fully implement it would further erode american faith in our institutions. i remain hopeful that the people of our country will see these political charades for what they are and rise to make their voices heard. i thank the members for allowing me to testify. i yield back. rep. butterfield: thank you for your testimony. at this time, the chair will recognize congressman larry bushong who represents the
eighth congressional district. he served with me on the -- committee. it is my joy to recognize dr. bushong for five minutes. rep. bucshon:thank you for allowing me to speak at today's member day hearing. i don't think doctors should be put into a position to answer to political pressures. that seems to be what has happened. from my perspective, this has happened time and again throughout the covid-19 pandemic. the safety protocol decision making progress here. i believe an opportunity was
offered to this committee to re-examine the role of the attending physician and to depoliticize the office, regardless of which political party happens to be in the majority. the office of the attending physician was established to be the dr. on campus, not to set protocols to respond to a national pandemic. the office is in need of modernization to reflect the times. earlier this year, i introduced hr-4862 which would remove the ability for political pressure to be put on the office of the attending physician by establishing a bicameral, bipartisan framework, much like that of the architect of the capitol. that has been in place since 1990. they would appoint and oversee the office of the attending physician. the bill would make the office of the attending physician a
ten-year term with the opportunity to be reappointed and to establish proper congressional oversight of the office. since covid-19 is endemic in our society, i call on this committee to move the bill through the committee process so that we can give congress the tools that it needs to respond to a pandemic and to set proper safety protocol so that members and the american public can be assured it is based on science, rather than as the result of political pressure applied by the majority party. with approved vaccines readily available for anyone in our society who wants one, as well as therapeutic treatments and two years of clinical experience, there is no reason why we can't have guidelines in place to safely reopen the
people's house and get back to doing the american people's business. sadly, politics of panic, are winning over reason and science. public-health decisions must be made with sound science and medical expertise. it is time to end the partisan quasi-oversight rule. we must reform and modernize the office of the attending physician so that we can get back to doing the people's work. thank you for allowing me to testify. merry christmas and happy holidays. rep. butterfield: thank you, dr. buschon and to your wife, the other dr. buschon. at this time i will recognize
congressman sarbanes. he serves on the oversight and reform and is the distinguished chairman of the democracy reform task force. rep. sarbanes: thank you and i appreciate it. the stakes for this could not be higher. it demonstrate the need for wholesale democracy reform. americans across the country are forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, just to exercise their voice in our democracy. they faced intimidation and harassment. there is a lot to do. less than a year ago, we
witnessed some of our democracy's most fragile moments. today misinformation and disinformation about the election continues to spread, and in many parts of the country, efforts continue unabated to restrict americans access to free and fair ballots. the american public is calling on congress to take action to protect and expand the right to vote, to increase government transparency to safeguard integrity of our government institutions. this house rose to the occasion in march, passing hr-1 which is now being considered in the senate where it has been reformulated as the freedom to vote act. in august we passed hr-4, the john lewis voting rights advancement act as well, taken together, these transformational bills will promote clean and fair elections, and the dominance of big money in our elections and politics and to ensure that the voice of the
people are fairly represented in congress, as well as strengthening key protections of the 1965 voting rights act. earlier it was said that the senate work was happening while no one was watching. i would argue everyone is watching. the american people are watching with great expectations and hope that we get this democracy reform over the finish line. it was also said that hr-1 is a partisan bill. americans of all political stripes support the reforms that are contained in hr-1. there is nothing really controversial in the bill. would is controversial is that it has taken us this long to get it into this comprehensive package that can lift up our democracy and we have not got it passed yet. that's what we are trying to do.
the authority from any of the changes proposed in the voting arena to promote access to the ballot box lies squarely within congress under the elections clause of the constitution. there are many other things that have been said that i would love to respond to, but i will restrain myself. needless to say, the american public is in support of these changes. if congress is successful in passing these critical pieces of legislation, the committee on health administration, your committee will have a pivotal role to play in guiding effective and efficient implementation. much like you did with the successful slate of field hearings conducted in florida, ohio, georgia, texas, as hr-1 and hr-4 were being crafted, i encourage the committee to respect the wide range of
perspectives of voters, stakeholder groups, and members of both parties. i encourage the committee to conduct robust oversight to e nsure all provisions are evaluated as intended and to evaluate the need for further democracy reforms. attention must be brought to the grassroots democratic infrastructure that our citizens rely upon to ensure their voices are being heard and respected. let me pause for a second. we have to make sure that at the local level and every jurisdiction, those who administer our elections, the professionals, the people who have done this because they are patriots and want to see a good election, that we strengthen lift them up. our democracy is resilient and i'm confident that congress will take meaningful action to restore american faith in it. this committee has been indispensable in catalyzing that
effort and will be an ongoing source of vigilance when it comes to the integrity of politics. i have been honored to stand by your side in the fight to protect democracy, mr. chair, and i look forward to redeeming our efforts to secure the vote and voice of every american. i yield back. rep. butterfield: thank you congressman sarbanes for your testimony, friendship, and leadership. i think it would be appropriate for us to discharge the first panel. i think you all for your thank you all for your testimony. happy holidays to you and your families and your constituents. we will proceed to the second panel. congressman john katko is up first. john represents new york's 24th
congressional district. he serves on the department of homeland security and the infrastructure committee. rep. katko: thank you, chairman butterfield. while i'm disappointed that today's hearing is not before the full administration, are recognize the importance of securing the nation's elections. i will continue to work to make that effort going forward. as we look forward to a new year , i would like to bring attention to an issue. as a husband and a father, i can attest to the fact that threats of violence against members of
congress and to their families are ep personal for many of u -- are deeply personal for many of us. another the deep sense of responsibility that many of us feel when those threats are directed at our staff. this issue cuts across party lines. it has been marginalized by partisan politics and finger-pointing. we all have a responsibility to turn the temperature down but also to take threats seriously. in preparing before the committee today -- just as importantly, to take a clear eyed and practical view to recognize threats against members of congress for what they are, a dire challenge to the security and integrity of this institution. we know these threats are increasing dramatically. in may, the capitol police reported a 107% increase in
threats to members compared to 2020. we have a more complete picture. more than 900 threats have been reported in the past year which means there are probably more. 4782. more than half were directed against memory of the house. more than 400 concerning communications and direct threats were reported to the capitol police. we are confronted with a concerning and dangerous security posture when we consider these numbers to the relatively limited resources of the police at the capitol building. especially compared to the u.s. secret service. given the significant share of responsibility for securing this institution, it is imperative that we give this issue the attention that it deserves.
we have received insights on the challenges facing the capital in the past year, and it is time for us to act. we need serious and substantive conversations on how to expand resources, to enable structural reforms, and to improve coordination between capitol police, the department of justice, and local police. i can tell you from personal experience that this is not where it should be. as a member who has received multiple threats, but as someone who has heard from members on both sides of the aisle regarding real safety concerns. action could be tragic and catastrophic as members know. i commit to work with the committee on this issue and i hope we are given the opportunity to do so.
i thank you for giving me time to speak. i wish you all a safe holiday season. i yield back. rep. butterfield: the gentleman yields back and we thank you congressman kat co.. ko. the chair is pleased to recognize congressman buddy carter. he represents george's first congressional district. not only does he serve on the committee of energy and commerce but is a distinguished member of the house committee on the budget. i'm informed that he serves on the select committee on climate change. congressman carter, you are welcome. it is good to see you again. thank you for joining the delegation when we christened the uss john lewis some months ago. you are recognized for five
rep. butterfield: congressman carter, are you with us? you are recognized for five minutes. the gentleman is having technical difficulties. i suppose we can move to the next witness. >> we are waiting for him to get on. rep. butterfield: the chair will not be in recess subject to the call of the chair.
rep. carter: mr. chairman, i apologize. rep. butterfield: i recognize your voice at anywhere anytime. you are now recognized for approximately five minutes. rep. carter: thank you mr. chairman and ranking member davis for holding this hearing today. it is externally important and i appreciate it. i am disappointed that the hearing is not before the full committee. i am honored to appear before you today to discuss the importance of protecting the integrity of all federal elections and voter faith in election process and outcomes. the next election will likely bring a change in the control of the house it is important voters can trust the results. following the next federal
election we will focus on reopening the capital for the american people in a transparent manner. before i go any further i do want to thank you for your friendship and your service on the energy and commerce committee. it is a variant -- very important committee that does great bipartisan work. i submit that it is the most bipartisan committee in congress. i want to thank you for your service on that committee and your friendship as well. i am a life -- licensed pharmacist. i have practiced pharmacy for over 40 years and as a health-care professional, obviously, health care professional, obviously, health care is extreme important to me. i find the current health care rules related to meetings, tours far too restrictive and
disrespectful to the millions of americans we all serve. members of congress are directly elected by the people and many refer to the house of representatives as the people's house. the people, our constituents are not able to visit our capital to witness their democracy at work. they are limited to watching hearings and legislative business on the screen, the most impersonal form of government. the house under the democratic party lead has shut out the public. members are prohibited from giving tours. constituents cannot visit a rubber hand -- representatives office without going through a ridiculous sign in process and forget about visiting the house chamber. on the other side of the dome senate office can take meetings and give constituents tours of the building that we cannot. it is understandable that certain precautions work
necessary when the pandemic started because we knew very little about the virus. our knowledge has evolved. we now know to mitigate spread and we have vaccines. at what point is limiting constituent involvement in the democratic process no longer about the virus? well, we hit that point a long time ago. the virus is here with us. it is here to stay. we have effective free vaccines for every american. it is time we open our capital backup and let the americans who elected us visit their capital and their representatives out restrictions. the mask mandate is long past necessary. the district of columbia recently removed its mask mandate. why is it i can walk into any grocery store, church, or go out to eat and d.c. without a mask? when we enter the capital in the
house office buildings we are required to wear a mask? these are not safety precautions they are orwellian requirements. it is time we let our constituents participate in their micro see like the founding fathers intended. it is time to make scientific medic -- medically based decisions on covid methods. the methods now are based on feelings and not fact. it is time to return to pre-pandemic normal in our capital. mr. chairman, mr. ranking member, i would like to thank you for allowing us to be before the committee today. it is very important that we get our capital open again. that we allow our constituents, the people to see the people's house firsthand in action. again, mr. chairman, thank you for your friendship, service and i yield back. rep. butterfield: the gym and yields back and congress mccarter we think you as well.
i am told that we have two, possibly three witnesses to go and neither of whom may be on the call this moment. let me call their names. is congresswoman tenney with us or congresswoman taylor or congressman staller? i believe tenney may be there. good morning congresswoman claudia tenney represents new york's 22nd congressional district. she currently serves on the house committee of foreign affairs and the small is this committee. good morning to you congresswoman, you have five and its -- minutes. rep. tenney: thank you, i apologized for the technological difficulties. i think you and all the
distinguished members of the committee. the integrity of our elections is essential to the function of our constitutional republic. over the generations countless americans have fought, marched, died to protect and expand our sacred right. it is essential for the american people to know that there elections are fair and the only legal votes are counted. over the past couple years the trust in this institution has been tarnished. my progressive fence -- friends who question the legitimacy of the 2016 election because he did not like the outcome is the out -- opposite of democracy. there were politically motivated policies that led to numerous errors that my election proved. the 22nd election -- congressional districts all the shortcomings every day for over a hundred days. this past year my congressional
race took almost three months to decide. rule changes and incompetence left 700 thousand americans without congressional representation for almost a month. they undermined the trust needed for a represent of system of government. to prevent this from happening again, i founded and currently cochair the election integrity caucus that educates members on the issues and advocates for commonsense reforms. ensuring that we have secure elections. we have proven examples of pull from as many states enact to shore up the election outcomes. commonsense voter id laws, banning ballot harvesting, updating voter rolls. these critical measures face resistance from across the country including here on this body and this committee.
these partisan seats to centralize elections and undermine the basic security. the first effort was the passage of hr one that aims to completely up and our federalized election system centralizing it here in washington dc. it would undermine the authority of the state to make their own voter registration election laws and their ability to overturn reforms. this misguided legislation would ban voter id, eliminating a essential and common sense safeguard the many states have enacted already to his secure voting integrity. it would eliminate the bipartisan structure of the federal election committee -- selection. bringing it down to five and allowing it to partake in partisan enforcement action. it would ban witness signature, notarization requirements, and
force states to accept absentee ballots up to 10 days after the election. these states would enable bad faith political actors to great the votes they need. paired with a mandate to legalize ballot harvesting that makes you wonder what this legislation process was really about. even if you do not agree with this criticism you must acknowledge that making voters wake weeks after -- wait weeks after an election will only hamper trust. we have had democrats testify in the committee saying that this is the wrong move. now that these legislation has think fully stalled in the senate house democratic leadership is pushing their equally misguided hr for. it would recent -- completely centralized it with the department of justice providing them with the power to change voting places, id, registration requirement and restricting redistricting in every state.
it would create a new practice state, pre-clearance process that would apply to the -- with these changes no state or local government would be free to adjust the elect -- election system. even if they're acting in good faith. instead of these unwise bills congress could focus on reforms owed respect the rights of states while preparing actual shortcomings. during the 2020 elections mark zuckerberg poured over 350 million into the center for civic life a left-leaning nonprofit. it completely bypassed any ability or oversight from state legislators and local government. in addition this money went disproportionately to democratic districts turning up turnout.
my response is the end zucker box act. it would prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from providing direct funding to official election organizations. election should be in the hands of the american citizens, not the highest bidder or wealthy silicon daughters -- donors. i see my time is up. can i continue? rep. butterfield: 50 more seconds. -- 15 more seconds. rep. tenney: end of i want talk about is a temporary election rules. this year november, stated that they did not want no ask absentee mail-in ballots. our current governor is trying to put in legislation to overturn the will of the voters by a overwhelming majority that
said we should not have no ask mail-in ballots. he is trying to turn the entire state into a mail-in ballots state. even though almost 50% almost 6% rejected this. i would hope that the committee would consider these remarks and make sure we do not pass hr1 or hr4 and come up with common sense voting reforms. rep. butterfield: thank you for your testimony and on the behalf of this committee we wish you and your family and constituents and merry merry christmas. i have been informed that congressman taylor has joined us. he represents the third congressional district -- district of texas. good morning to you. you have approximately five minutes. rep. taylor: thank you mr. chairman and thank you ranking member, i want to sure you can hear me. rep. butterfield: yes we can.
rep. taylor: great to be with you this morning. prior to be elected to public office i was an election judge. i have knowledge of administration at the polling level. i want to say that election fraud is deeply upsetting. i have seen it on a personal level. the first time i was a poll watcher, i watch a woman to come in and vote on election day and she was informed she had already voted. she said it was impossible as she had been out of the country. somehow, either someone stole her identity, this was a time when taxes and i have voter id law or a clerk checked the wrong box. the look on her face, that her voice had been taken from her was something that i had always were members. it was deeply upsetting. it is instructive that we need
to be mindful to make sure that the procedures we put in place when it comes to elections are ones that are thoughtful, effective, and are going to reduce the number of times people find themselves disenfranchised -- like i saw with that woman. when the key things i would say is that election laws should be done by the state. it is in the constitution of united states. when i was in the state legislator i worked on election laws and became familiar with a lot of the difficulties of passing those. they are very complicated, extremely difficult to do. my first bill in the state legislator required not only changing the entire election schedule, but i needed a constitutional amendment to make it work. when asked about hr one, did this bill report with state constitutions or what states would have to change their laws
because their requirements in there about establishing and designating different people to do different functions in the election process that some states may not have. they had not looked at that. it was shocking to me. if you're going to have a successful election bill you have to sit down and think about it very carefully. even when you do sit down and think about it, inadvertently, even with the best of intentions there will be errors. those errors require cleanup bills. something they do not have a lot of confidence in the u.s. congress today is a ability to pass cleanup bills. i've seen difficulty in this place and passing the simplest of bills. i would think that if hr1 where to go under law most states would be operating under court orders because they would not have a chance to clean up their state constitutions or state statutes to comply with the requirements of hr one.
as far as i am aware, it has not been run through the different states to ask what they will have to do to clean things up. i will shift a little bit too election fraud, having worked on my first big bill in the state legislator was a election bill. i would get frequent calls on election fraud. the majority of election fraud that i saw on the state of texas had to do with mail-in ballots. mail-in ballots are where you have problems. i watched, basically, given all enterprises falsify request or mail-in ballots. facts those in, and then they would literally steel the ballads out the mailbox. these thieves would literally, they would typically target minority -- elderly minority individuals because they were less likely to participate in elections.
they would actually decide who would say on city council and school boards and commissioners courts here in texas. it is deeply upsetting when you find it. it speaks to the importance of us, as we talk to our state partners, i think that is where election law should be by and large. to make sure that we have procedures in place to make sure we are effective in stopping this kind of fraud because it is real. there is a crisis of confidence in our election in this country today. many americans, i hear about it every day in the third district, people are worried that their vote does not count because they think our elections are not ron wright. -- run right. audits are good. figuring out what went wrong and making a better is something we should all be for. it will give people confidence
in our election and the confidence our election ultimately reflects on elected officials. our legitimacy is based on the elections that elected to us -- us are legitimate. rep. butterfield: the gentleman yields back and we thank you for your testimony and we also wish to you and your family your constituents a very merry merry christmas. as we begin to wind down i've heard several of my friends make reference to the fact that the federal government has no roles in the elections at the state level. i had to pull it up on my iphone to make sure i was correct. article one section four, there is a but in that section. it reads the times, places, mentor for holding elections shall be prescribed in each state by the legislator thereof. my friends are correct about that.
there is the word but. but the congress may at any time, make or alter such regulations except as the places of choosing senators. i want to put that into the record and while we are on the subject i am a student of the 15th amendment. i've used it many times over my legal career and i want to put the language of the 15th amendment into the record. it reads as follows. the right of citizens of the united states to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. thank you to my colleagues for your testimony today. i want to thank especially my good friend who is beaming in from the great state of california, congers and pi gillard. i understand that there is a three hour difference between the time zone and this hearing started at 9:00 eastern meaning it was 6 a.m. pacific time.
as we close out i want to -- i want congressman aguiar who does not want to make statement. i want to say hello to him. rep. aguilar: thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate it. i am here and i am present. i want to make sure that the ranking member understands i want credit for being at this. hearing. . i appreciate it and i expect flowers and chocolate delivered from the ranking member. thank you. under your leadership, house administration election subcommittee has done robust work over the past few years with field hearings done in a bipartisan way taking testimony from our colleagues like our colleague from texas and finding out exactly what americans are going through. finding out the barriers they are facing themselves. we can only do that by hearing testimony.
i appreciate your test -- willingness to take in person and virtually from experts and individuals from around the country in order to make our democracy stronger and that we can continue to have everyone exercise their franchised to vote. rep. butterfield: thank you congressman aguiar and i have to say you look a lot different at 7:00 in the morning as opposed to 12 noon. we welcome you and thank you for your friendship. i recognize the gentleman for a unanimous consent request. >> i seek unanimous consent to submit mr. stolberg from minnesota statement to the record. rep. butterfield: it is received. >> to my good friend mr. agre i wish him a merry christmas and will deliver a christmas present to his office today and i appreciate you for holding this hearing and wish you a merry
merry christmas. rep. butterfield: i look forward to another good year next year and we will continue to be friends even after my departure from congress 12 months from now. let me close by asking for unanimous consent that the written statement from mike from california be entered into the record. no objection it will be received. are there any further remarks? and a good statement from any of our colleagues? without objection to hearing from this subcommittee stands adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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