tv Senate Hearing on Election Security CSPAN May 24, 2022 8:10am-10:01am EDT
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election security and infrastructure. the witnesses talk about technical issues such as paper shortages for ballots, procedures for mail-in voting, and needing funds to upgrade equipment. this is an hour and 45 minutes. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good morning. i call the order of the setting of the rules committee on the administration of upcoming elections. i would like to thank ranking member blunt and our colleagues who are here with more to come
for being here. eyewitnesses who i will introduce shortly are acting secretary of the commonwealth of pennsylvania, chapman. i want to thank you. you have a few things going on i believe. damon hewitt who is the president and executive director of the lawyers' committee for civil rights under law, and tammynw patrick, the senior advisor for elections at democracy fund. we are also going to hear from two witnesses who will be introduced by senator blunt. i thank you for being here, louisiana secretary of state ardoin and wesley wilcox, supervisor of elections for marion county florida. in 2020 we saw election officials across the country rise to the challenge of holding elections in a global pandemic. and we think everyone of you for that. thanks in large part to the work of the local election officials
and volunteers and everyone who took part. we had more options for americans to cast a ballot. and because of that more americans voted than ever before, in the middle of a a global pandemic. it's kind of a an extraordinary fact for our democracy and certainly a tribute to the work of local election officials. at the time the department of homeland t security declared the 2020 the 2020 election the most secure election in our country. now, election officials are working to prepare for and administer this year midterm elections. ten states have already held primary elections, and dozens more would do so through the summer. as we know one of our witnesses secretary chapman just help pennsylvania's primary on tuesday. with voting already underway we've heard a number of challenges facing election administrators including the spread of misinformation, disinformation that continues to take a toll on both election
officials andnd voters. election after election millions of americans see inaccurate or misleading information about elections and the voting process on social media, and it is hurting our democracy. at the same time investing in election security including cybersecurity continues to be a priority for many election officials as intelligence officials warn that our elections remain a target for foreign adversaries. we also continue to hear about the need for reliable stream of federal funding for elections, so officials canke make improvements and keep pace with new technologies. newer challenges are emerging as well, like the paper challenge, the shortages that we have heard are impacting secretary ardoin and other officials trying to secure needed election supplies. this committee has also discussed the rising threats and harassment targeting election officials from both parties, and i appreciate senator blunt
holding that hearing with me. as the increase in 2020. at our last hearing october former republican philadelphia city commissioner al schmitt testified about threatsts that e and his family had received including a message that said tell the truth or your three kids will be fatally shot, with the names of a seven-year-old son and his 11-year-old and 14-year-old daughters and-year-old daughters and a photo of theirph home. now in some call about a county election officials facing attacks that they helped steal the last election have done active shooter training and have gotten bulletproof vests. it's no surprise the study from the brennan center found one owe five election officials are unlikely to serve through 2024. 2024. ipe hope that's not -- in lightf these challenges we must support election officials working on the frontlines of our democracy. this committee has taken steps to work toward solutions. i've introduceio legislation wih senatorha padilla, snore all sought and merkley to put in place to production for the
election administrators who get and certify ballots and based on a recent legal opinion senator blunt and i called on the election assistance commission to ensure that help america vote act funds can be used for physical security and social media threat monitoring which we expect they will do shortly, and it is crucial given the dramatic rise in threats. in addition, yesterday with senator warren and several other members of this committee, feinstein, king, merkley, we introduce a new vote to providet significant federal funding to support election administration and election security. more must be done. i look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how we can best the shirt election administrators have the support that they need. finally i want to note in many states when voters cast a ballot this year they will be confronted withfr new laws makig it harder too vote. that's why continue to believe we need basic federal standards for all americans can vote in a way that works best for them.
thank you again to our witnesses. witnesses. i would also like to acknowledge senator blunt that our chief clerk cindy who is with us for her last hearing today, and we want to thank cindy for her service.rv [applause] senator blunt. sen. blunt: senator padilla and i are the two former secretaries of state on this panel. we want to recognize our colleagues who are here today. secretary chapman and artoi -- ardoin for being here on the panel. both as a secretary of state, mr. wilcox is a local election authority. i know what it takes to run elections and for more than 200 years, states have been responsible for elections, state local elections, have worked
tirelessly managing multiple elections in a year, working through the difficult logistical challenges that elections bring. as all of our election officials , some of those challenges are greater in the small turnout elections when you're dealing with the school board had local election, the water district may be other things in addition to that. so, thanks for all of our election officials and largely volunteer of people that come forward and make these elections work. our role in congress is to support states and their administrations of elections and give them assistance they need to innovate and serve the needs of their citizens. today's hearing builds on a hearing i chaired and the early two hearings i chaired in 2018 and 2022 as we then and now have
an opportunity to hear from election officials that are on the front lines of elections and others who are watching those front lines and giving advice here are the highlights of the work they are doing and learn more about what is happening as election officials prepare for this year's elections while the 2020 elections brought an unprecedented set of new challenges to election officials, especially those that were uniquely based on the pandemic that we were facing. there is an increase of threat to election workers the issues facing election officials have been prevalent for years are still there. cybersecurity remains a top concern for election officials, adversaries have so distrusted our elections by attacking election infrastructure and spreading misinformation online. i often hear from election
officials who like increased and improved information sharing from their federal counterparts or people who know things that the federal level the state and local administrators need to know, our state election administrators have access to more and better information than they ever had before. but i look forward to hearing your concerns about how that continues to improve. states must also continue the important work of recruiting, training, and retaining, poll workers. many of whom, do this as basically a volunteer activity. it is pretty easy to on volunteer -- unvolunteer. i look forward to hear what our witnesses are doing about the steps they have taken to encourage more people to play an active role in elections by serving as poll workers. the supply chains issues are
also affecting elections like they are affecting much of the rest of the economy. with primary election's ongoing and the november general elections rapidly approaching it is vital that states have all of the necessary supplies to ensure every voter as an opportunity to cast a ballot. today this committee has an opportunity to come together in a bipartisan way and hear from officials about lessons learned over the past several years, how they are preparing to administer elections this year and how it is possible congress can help the states that are achieve their goals. i want to think my colleagues, some of whom are with is virtually, and paying attention that way. i want to thank our witnesses for being here today. i look forward to a productive discussion. sen. klobuchar: thank you very much. thank you for being such good colleagues. our first witness is the acting
secretary of the commonwealth of pennsylvania. she served as executive director and senior role at the leadership role she earned her bachelor's degree from the university of virginia and law degree from howard university. our second witnesses damon hewitt president and director of the lawyers civil rights committee. he has experience over a decade at the ncaa fund. he earned his bachelors degree from louis as an estate and law degree from the university of pennsylvania. tammy patrick is with us. she is a senior advisor to the elections program at democracy fund. and election administration's expert who served on the presidential commission on -- under president obama, as well as the county elections department in arizona.
she is a professor at the university of minnesota, where she teaches courses for the certificate administration. we are proud of our election system in minnesota. she earned her bachelor's degree from purdue university. senator blunt will now introduce our other two witnesses. i will swear in our witnesses and we will proceed to testimony. sen. blunt: thank you. if you brag more about the minnesota turnout you will just be repeating yourself. it is a thing to brag about and i'm glad you are able to do that. i'm glad all five of our witnesses are here. let me introduce secretary of state ardoin and mr. wesley wilcox. secretary ardoin has served as
louisiana secretary of state since 2018, previously serving as the first assistant secretary of state eight years prior to that. a long time being near this job and doing this job he also currently serves as the president of the national association of secretaries of state and on the election infrastructure subsector coordinating council esther wilcox has served as a supervisor of elections for marion county, florida since 2012. another decade of service in this job. he processes and possesses more than 30 years of experience in the election industry currently serves as the president of florida supervisor of elections association and is chairman of the election infrastructure sharing and analysis center, executive committee. we look forward to it all five of you have to say today.
sen. klobuchar: if the witnesses could stand and raise the right hand. do you swear that this testimony is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you, you may be pressed -- seated. we will recognize each witness for five minutes. sec. chapman: thank you chairwoman, ranking member, and other esteemed members of the senate rules committee for allowing me to offer remarks regarding the state of election and the commonwealth of pennsylvania. i am lee chapman, acting secretary of state for pennsylvania and i was appointed to this role by governor tom wolf on january 8 of this year. as pennsylvania's chief election officer, my role is to ensure that elections are secure and accessible and that every eligible voter in pennsylvania can register, cast their ballot and have it counted. i was asked today to speak to you regarding the current
elections landscape in my state. first, i will provide a brief update on tuesdays primary election. after that, i will share three concerns that are front of mind, at the department of state in pennsylvania. and those three concerns are one of the time for pre-canvassing mail ballots, misinformation and disinformation surrounding elections and three the need for a robust confronting of elect -- funding of elections. the primary elections were on tuesday and they were successful with minimal issues. this morning, we have 50,000 ballots to be counted. they were just a few counties who experienced unique issues. one, which has been widely reported by the media. on tuesday morning, in lancaster county when election officials began pre-canvassing mail ballots which is a process of reviewing the outer envelopes and removing the inner secrecy envelope, containing the ballot and tabulating but not recording
votes, they discovered an estimated 22,000 ballots cannot be read by the scanner due to an incorrect barcode. teams are now hand marking you ballots, which entails one person reading out the markings from the original ballot, a second person marking the new ballot, while a third observes to ensure that the remark ballot is accurate before it is scanned and counted. this is a transparent process involving both political parties. as of this morning, there are 3800 ballots left to remark. this leads to the first concern. the incident in lancaster county reinforces a request made by the department of state and all of the county election officials in pennsylvania. that the state legislator extend the time for pre-canvassing of mailing and absentee ballots. an earlier start to pre-canvassing may have alerted lancaster county to the barcode issue, sooner than the morning of election day.
even when no problem presents, at least 15 days of pre-canvassing would free election workers to focus on the other obligations they have on election day. it would align pennsylvania with the 37 other states that allow for pre-canvassing of ballots and would permit officials to publicly release unofficial results sooner, similar to states like florida, that was able to count the 2020 elections on election night because of pre-canvassing. that leads to my next point, which is that county and state election officials continue to bear the burden of addressing misinformation and disinformation, regarding the integrity of our election. it is especially disturbing that some disinformation has come from those with the sworn duty to defend our democratic process. the november 2020 election of pennsylvania, like every election since, was free, fair and secure.
allegations of illegal activity in pennsylvania during the 2020 presidential election have been dismissed in more than two dozen federal court cases and debunked by independent fact checkers. repeating the falsehood over and over harms our democracy and voters confidence in our election process. finally, in -- and most significantly, counties express another need. adequate consistent funding from the state and federal government. in pennsylvania counties bear all costs to run elections at every level. the need for more consistent funding was especially apparent in 2020. in addition to the pandemic, counties are required to update voting systems to incorporate a verifiable paper ballot and implement mail-in voting for millions of voters. for some counties, there was virtually no way they could have counted mail ballots without significant financial investment for equipment and additional manpower.
despite some assistance from the federal government, many counties face the discrepancy between available resources and their needs. it was only because of nonprofit grants that many counties were able to purchase automatic envelope openers, scanners, and mail sorters to process ballots. we think -- thank the chairwoman and her cosponsors for introducing legislation that would create a permanent stream of funding for election and support that effort. we also ask members of this committee support any proposal that would shore up election infrastructure and access to the ballot. thank you for the opportunity to participate in this conversation and i welcome any questions you may have. sen. klobuchar: very good, thank you. thank you for your good work. sec. ardoin: chairwoman, ranking member, and distinguish members of this committee. good morning and thank you for having me. i serve as louisiana's 44
secretary of state. i am especially pleased to be speaking before you today, because it lousiana has a unique experience in election preparation. in 2020, we were faced with the running of a presidential election in the aftermath of a tropical storms, and hurricanes, the last of which, made landfall in louisiana a mere six days right or to the election. in 2021 we were faced with another major storm in hurricane ida, which devastated parts of our states works weeks prior to our elections -- six weeks prior to our elections. thankfully we were able to execute our elections thanks to the hard work of the election staff and in cooperation with other state agencies. this year's federal election presents a new challenge, the supply chain a backlog that has and will continue to affect
paper supply across the country. let me be clear, this crisis, -- this is a crisis that demands immediate attention and bipartisan action. it is not an exaggeration to say that if this situation is not handled, could lead to a serious erosion in the confidence of our elections. in louisiana, we had to contact every paper producer in north america, not just the united states, to ensure we would have the supplies we need. lousiana uses a much smaller amount of paper than other states for election. in the 2020 presidential election, 7% of the 2.1 million votes cast in louisiana whereby paper. if we had to piece mail the supplies we needed to execute the election, how will other states -- will other states with greater needs managed? the eac is election administration and voting survey stated that over 42 million mail-in ballots were transmitted over the country, over 85% of
the nation's jurisdiction newspaper or paper component in their voting system. we must consider that states need paper supplies for mail ballots, envelopes, voter instructions, our poll books and may need special types of paper to comply with their state law. in 2017, the department of homeland security declared election infrastructure as critical infrastructure. then, secretary of the department of homeland security, jeh johnson said, the designation makes it clear that domestically and internationally that election infrastructure enjoys all of the benefits and protections of critical infrastructure that the u.s. government has to offer. that is why i've asked the federal government to activate the defense production act, that ensures paper suppliers prioritize election related materials ahead of november's election. i believe there are other innovative ways to ensure ample supply for state and local
jurisdictions including the use of tax incentives to urge paper suppliers to prioritize election based supplies. the persistent supply chain issues are affecting other aspects of our election administration efforts, especially as it relates to the transportation of election supplies and machines. in 2021, the vehicle shortage forced louisiana to seek delivery trucks in states as far away as georgia. with four months remaining until the federal 45 yield ballot deadline and less than six months until election day, there can be no delay for action. additionally, we are continuing to work on shoring up or cybersecurity defenses against bad actors both foreign and domestic, a recent advisory from the cybersecurity authorities, in the united states and our allies have warned we should expect malicious cyber actors including state-sponsored advanced persistent threat groups to step up their targeting. the advisory specifically warned these groups should be targeted, -- would be targeting managed
service providers. i have spoken out about the need for msps to be open and transparent with their government problem -- partners. in louisiana we championship louisiana for more cooperation for msps within our state. without communication, we cannot effectively fight those that wish to do so. -- wish to harm us. in a world that is increasingly interconnected and with our enemies seeking to undermine our elections it is important that we work together public, private entities, local, state and federal governments come across the -- agencies to protect infrastructure. these challenges are in addition to the aging poll workers and threats to officials and staff, however working as partners we can devise solutions to these issues. we have no choice but to succeed. the american people except -- expect and deserve no less. thank you very much.
sen. klobuchar: thank you, next up mr. hewitt. mr. hewitt: good morning. members of the senate committee on rules and administration. i am president and executive director of the lawyers committee for the civil rights under law. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i want to list up the victims of the massacre in buffalo new york who were killed this weekend. they were killed by white supremacist who drove three hours to deliberately hunt down and kill, explicitly black people who were shopping for groceries as we learn more about the killers terroristic attack the deadliest man shooting in america we know that it was fueled by lies, misinformation and disinformation that makes it it in many ways parallel to what we are seeing in the election and voting context. i'm here to warn you of another affect of these lives, the rapid deterioration of our democracy
and threats of violence and intimidation against election officials, black communities in other communities of color around this country. as president of the lawyers committee, i lead an organization that uses legal advocacy to ensure that we fight for racial justice, inside the courts, outside the courts, but we fight to ensure that black people in other people of color among every american has the voice, opportunity and power to make the promises of our democracy real. as part of that work, we convene the election for -- and the our vote hotline voter assistance hotline which is also nonpartisan. hundreds of thousands of voters call for information and assistance and to report problems, including problems with paper ballots, mail-in ballots and even intimidation's at the pole or online or through the airwaves.
our work gives us insight into patterns at the state and local level. too often what we are seeing is the erosion of election infrastructure and the democratic process, all based upon fallacies and lies designed to divide us. my message for this community simple, election laws that perpetuate attacks and harassment and impose criminals and fines -- impose fines on those trying to do their job are wrong. voting practices that -- in order to exercise their fundamental rights are also wrong. this is a vicious cycle. undermining and harassing election workers also harms voters. make it harder for voters to cast a ballot, harms election workers by making their already difficult jobs that much harder, especially in the context of the last few years. what we learned in 2020 is that democracy works when you let it.
we saw incredible energy and participation across party lines. yet, legislatures have introduced and enacted a wave of restrictive voting bills. in response to those record levels of participation. throughout the 2021 year and beginning of this year, we have seen bills that are banding drop boxes, restricting voting hours, shortening the window to request absentee ballots, threatening new criminal and financial penalties against election administrators and privileging partisan poll watchers. now, many of these laws were passed in spite of universal partisan opposition from election administrators around the country who warned legislators that the laws would have a chilling effect on election workers themselves and ultimately make it harder for voters to cast a ballot. in many instances, state lawmakers failed to heed the election administrators warnings and the impacts of these changes will come to light during this
year's primary midterm elections. in some states they already have. these egregious laws are doing a number of things, heightening levels of racial discrimination, their weaponizing the power of criminal law to sweep aside neutral and none partisan election administrators, disenfranchising voters in the process. they are giving those who sow violence and doubt in the election process and given them political camouflage further threats and attacks. these laws undermine our democracy and its promise. this week marks the 65th anniversary of dr. martin luther king jr.'s famous speech, give us the ballot. what he warned us about those who gained prominence and power, by the dissemination of false ideas and deliberately appealing to the deepest hate responses within the human mind. dr. king reminded us that one individual -- the false ideas
they spread the louder when those who disagree with them remain silent, because of fear, of political reprisals. democracy is a promise. democracy is also a choice. we have a choice when it comes to election administration. we can either strengthen democracy and make it easier to vote or we can make it harder. as policymakers, you can make a choice, in favor of democracy. during these unprecedented times, i reach this senate not to speak out lively against the misinformation allies but to stop it in its trackss -- tracks. thank you. sen. klobuchar: thank you so much. next up, we are discussing votes and other things. next up, mr. wilcox. mr. wilcox: good morning. chairwoman. ranking member and members of the committee. i am wesley wilcox, supervisor
of elections for marion county, florida and president of the supervisors of elections association. i have 30 years of experience in the election industry and i am certified. most of us here on the table and on the committee likely recall the 2000 general election. it was not our finest hour. in the 20 years since, florida and many other states have made great improvement, culminating in administrative accurate and successful 2020 election. florida offers no excuse by mail an option that has proven to be popular, especially during the pandemic. as mentioned earlier, one of the things that sets florida part like 2020 is the fact that vote by mail ballots are processed in the weeks prior to the election. this process allows us to publish nearly complete beau biden nail -- vote by mail
totals on election night. if there is an issue with the signature we have time to contact the voter, providing them with an opportunity to cure the ballot. several years ago, we added an in person early voting option to meet the need of our diverse population. elections are best administered at the state and local levels. two early voting period, was 1.5 million voters -- with 1.59 voters is probably not needed for small county, with only 4500 voters. decentralized elections are positive from a national security perspective, making it difficult for bad actors attempting to compromise the system, since there is no central point of attack. florida also has well-developed laws and procedures for recounts, postelection audits, providing guidelines and procedures. there have also been significant efforts in raising the professionalism of election officials. since the year 2000, over 1300
election officials across the country have received their national certification -- certified elections and registration administrator designation. with 119 of those from florida. our fsc association developed a nationally awarded florida certified program. this program consists of core courses and 120 hours of content instructed by industry experts. since its inception in 2009, we have had over 800 participants with 245 of those obtaining their master certification. in recent years, election security has become a top priority. partnerships with local state and federal agencies have been strengthened, as mentioned earlier in 2017, the department of homeland security designated election critical
infrastructure, the center for internet security, of which i'm actually the vice chair of that executive board. election officials have access to resources and tools for implementing cybersecurity best practices. florida has used dollars to fund our security grant programs which have been beneficial across the state. despite these improvements, grave concerns remain for me and my colleagues. florida was touted as the gold standard and model for voting in the 2020 election. lately, the accolades have waned. the high-fives have a ceased. instead, they have been replaced by threats of violence against us or our families. accusations of rampant voter irregularities, allegations of voter fraud, or suppression,
inundation of public records request. my colleagues and i continue to defend the accuracy of our 2020 election and our chairs democracy. which remains under a relentless and unprecedented barrage of falsehoods. misinformation has made our jobs more difficult as we battle on the front lines defending our democracy. several of my tenured colleagues have retired or have announced their impending retirements due to these unceasing false narratives. even the days of wanting to be an election worker for your own civic duty have been replaced with fear at polling place disruptions. we have spent two decades professionalizing our conduct of elections and now in short period of time, our institutions are being undermined by falsehoods that continue -- continually we can voter confidence. the challenges are daunting. election worker recruitment is difficult but today it is nearly impossible.
election offices across the nation will need record amounts of paper this fall for our ballots and other supplies. they have all been affected by the paper shortages. unless will forget, the 2022 election is taking place with its redistricting challenge, a challenging operation even during the best time. many of us are facing new state election laws resulting in demanding court cases and requiring substantial voter education. election law changes are the most successful when they are elaborative efforts between the election administrators and the legislative bodies. we remain dedicated to impartial administration of florida's election laws and conducting fair and honest accurate elections. our goal is to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. thank you again for the opportunity to testify today on this important topic. sen. klobuchar: thank you very much, ms. patrick. ms. patricks -- ms. patrick:
it's a to provide testimony. my name is tammy patrick and i currently serve as the senior advisor to the elections team as a democracy fund and is a professor at the humphrey schools public policy at the university of minnesota i've worked in the election administration field for almost 20 years and spent 11 of those years in arizona, most of them as the federal compliance officer. i am certified as supervisor of wilcox -- as wilcox mentioned. i have the great fortune of knowing many officials as well as many across the country who are working across the aisle and across a myriad of facets of our election system to ensure officials have the tools and resources that they need to serve their voters well. as a representative of the election center to the united states postal services, mailers of technical advisory committee for over a decade i have forge
relationships with the postal system to better deliver democracy to the american voter. i would like to share with you what i am seeing unfold for the primaries and the midterm elections. my written testimony covers seven different topics from my prepared comments, i would like to focus on one topic. paper and supply chain issues. echoing what the secretaries sentiments are. my comments are derived directly from recent communications with election officials and service industry providers, each section provides direct comments from election administrators and professionals and an overview of the issue on the impact it is having in the field of election administration. needs paper. some folks have stockpiled paper but overall ballot paper for november is a major concern. from a local election official.
paper shortage issues have mitigated because we contract with the vendor who responded by purchasing paper early. we had to increase what we pay to our vendor. yet, from a service industry provider, the supply chain issues continue with dates getting further pushed out. additionally, more allocations are in play. recently, our supplier just delivered parts of an order. we place months ago and cannot fulfill the rest. we are searching and having to pay higher prices for paper sizes larger than what is needed and cut them down the size so we have the ability to keep moving out the work. paper supply chain concerns began surfacing in the 2020 election. the origin for election materials for paper supplies domestic coming from north american mills in both the u.s. and canada. when the international supplies became problematic, other markets turn to the domestic
sources to fill the gaps. this reduction in supply occurred at the same time as the increased demand for paper to fulfill the spike in online shopping during the pandemic. we have not had a new paper mill open in the united states since the 1980's. the existing mills could not simultaneously continue their traditional paper production and take on the manufacturing. many of them opted to change production to the more lucrative product. ballot and envelope renters and vendors began seeing issues in late 2021 and started to ask their election official customers to get their orders in early in order to take care of their customers, they place their paper orders well in advance of normal schedule. standard turnaround times have gone from a few weeks to many months in the order to fulfill. it is common for orders to be incomplete, partial shipments, back orders and outright cancellations are becoming typical. this is creating an impact on
jurisdictions. those who use a vendor or service provider may be in better shape but only if that vendor preordered paper stock. the order was fully satisfied in the jurisdiction got their order as early enough. election officials which have printed and created their own materials in the house finding it difficult to obtain items and are turning to the same vendors who are already strapped serving their existing customer base. service providers are now having to turn customers away and those customers are leaving empty-handed. an additional impact is felt in those states that have changed -- changes to their policy and laws that they have gained the ability to use existing inventories materials. new registration requirements, ballot application changes, may necessitate throwing away existing paper products and require reprinting an already strained market. not all states in affection -- and election offices will be impacted. states that offer online or
automatic voter registration and those that use electronic poll books will not be as hard-hit as those relying on paper registration and roster forms. to be clear, the paper shortages pervasive and across all materials required to conduct elections, limiting options for voters to an in-person solution is not viable. states that have all of the vote by mail regime are having issues. it is not just ballot paper but also paper use for postcards, poll worker training material. it's everything. the paper shortage impacts election administration timeline. unless the shortages remedied, statutorily required election mailing and notices may not go out in time. the condensed timeframe leave no room for error. no errors can occur in printing. even the shortage they may not be available stock -- there may not be available stock. they will need to complicate the
-- they will need to address the situation. there is one silver lining. i always try to include something positive. a service provider told me -- it's hard in these times. one thing that came out of it is that a vendor told me they were working with the state, they could not get the normal paper for their voter registration material, they were encouraged to redesign to fit the paper size that they had. it was a decades-old form they were able to revise, using practices and plain language and make the material easier to comprehend. it is the perfect example of how. election administrator professions work they are deprived of resources and services but try to find the best solution available, since election must go on. sen. klobuchar: thank you, thank you so much. i was looking at him i think he was happy that only the mississippi river connects louisiana and minnesota, but also trying to get to this paper
issue. i'm going to start with you. secretary chapman. do you agree that election workers need additional federal protection and resources to ensure safety as well as in ministry -- administer elections? sec. chapman: in pennsylvania we have 67 counties in one consensus we have for most county commissioners is the need for additional robust funding to administer elections. an example, before 2020, a cost around $20 million to run an election statewide in pennsylvania. since then, that cost, at least the department has skyrocketed. we spent around $60 million on the department alone. that does not include county costs. we implemented mail-in voting -- voting in 2019. that increase the cost. they had to buy scanners,
tabulator's, new equipment to fulfill that need. we have had over 6 million voters in pennsylvania who have used mail-in voting since it was passed in 2019. that need for both the federal government and also the state government to partner, to support our election something critical to support county election administrators and their needs. sen. klobuchar: but we know -- how about the threat against election workers? are you continuing to see that? sec. chapman: unfortunately we are. but it is a concern where taking seriously. we had a meeting with dhs and other federal partners a few weeks before the primary election. with all 67 county election directors to talk about how to report threats, mitigate threats. we have had very good partnerships with our law
enforcement partners. it is something we are concerned about. election officials are your neighbors, friends, families. they are trying to do their job to make sure that every vote is counted. that every voter has the opportunity to exercise the fundamental right to vote. they really should not be threatened, it is a shame it is happening. sen. klobuchar: thank you for saying that so well. i know you have had issues in your state and that is one of the reasons senator warren and i and a number of people on this committee have put together this package. mr. hewitt, i have pushed the social media companies to improve their policies for election related disinformation. make sure these policies are enforced. while we saw improvements in 2020 there is still so much progress to be made. what kind of disinformation do think was particularly harmful in 2020? mr. wilcox: what we saw big --mr. hewitt: but we sobbing
harmful was the disinformation that steer people away from trying to -- but what we saw was harmful was the disinformation trying to steer people away. people have set up a series of robo calls to voters. they use the narrator who had a voice appearing to sound as if she were an african-american woman. that was the intent. but the voice on the robo call that if you vote by mail, the information will be used to track you down to execute outstanding ones by the police. it will be used to track you down to give the information to creditors for outstanding debt and will be used by the cdc to require mandatory vaccines. you think about fears in the black community about police misconduct, economic insecurity, the -- try to get all of those pressure points to have a chilling effect on voting by mail. which with some people was a safe and effective means to cast a ballot.
we saw that through the airways. we have put facebook, meta, and other companies on notice but we need more help from congress. sen. klobuchar: very good. i was not aware of that so thank you for sharing that chilling story. ms. patrick, as a member of the postal service working group on election mail, do you anticipate any significant mail processing and delivery issues this year? ms. patrick: very quickly, one of the biggest challenges will be the continued utilization of extraordinary measures that were put in place in 2020. and knowing whether ballots will be kept locally, because ballots kept locally are not postmarked or scanned and can create some issues and challenges for the voters in having their ballots be accepted. sen. klobuchar: we recently passed a bipartisan postal reform to try to help with this. i will end with you secretary
ardoin, you have raised concerns about supply chain issues that would impact election officials abilities to get sufficient paper for material. senator blunt and i have agreed that supplies are needed. i would urge the election system commission to support, we both have state and local officials confronting these issues. as president of the national association of secretaries of state have you discussed these issues with other secretaries? ruf any strategies that can be helpful in getting elect bashar you aware of any strategies that can be helpful in getting supplies to election officials? sec. ardoin: what has been urged is, through the coronary council, which is a private sector -- coordinating council, which is a private sector. they have urged since the beginning
of the year, every jurisdiction to order their paper as soon as possible and to make certain that they order enough in order to be enough to deal with the issues that we have seen just recently in pennsylvania. i will tell you in my state, we do a lot of that checks, quality checks to make sure that they are doing the job they are supposed to do. but when you catch a mistake and supplies are at risk, it may jeopardize the ability for folks to utilize that. what we are going to promote in louisiana is that we had 2.1 million voters vote in person in the presidential election in 93% of those voted in person. we are going to encourage those to vote in person, so that there
is enough supply for those individuals who need to vote by mail or absentee, to be able to utilize that service. sen. klobuchar: thank you very much. senator blunt. sen. blunt: ms. wilcock -- mr. wilcox, let's go to pre-canvassing, which means you can open the absentee or mail in envelope, what else do you do. i do not have much time here, quickly give us a sense of what you do before election day and when you actually count in the pre-canvassing environment? mr. wilcox: thank you. we actually, as vote by males are returned to us we are able to validate the signatures. starting three weeks before the election, we will open the envelope and run the ballots themselves through the tabulation machines, processing them, without releasing any of the results.
we know how many we have ran through so that on election night, when 7:00 p.m. goes through, the only vote by mail we are dealing with are those that literally were dropped at our door the last 15 or 20 minutes. it allows us that huge advantage of reporting results in a timely manner. sen. blunt: do you have a process where there is not a signature? do you try to do something about that or do you reject that ballot? mr. wilcox: we have a cure process. as soon as we receive a vote by mail ballot back from a voter and there is any question concerning the signature, we at that point in time, attempt to notify the voter. if we have an email address we're going to do that. letting them know that the signature on their vote by mail ballot may be in question. sen. blunt: that processing is done in a bipartisan way just like elections are administered in a bipartisan way? mr. wilcox: yes. sen. blunt: is anybody aware of
that count as it occurs, except knowing that the ballot was counted? mr. wilcox: we now turn out at that point. that is all we know. you could ask me two weeks before the election and i can tell you that i've had $37,000 cast. that could either be at a vote by mail or early voting. sen. blunt: two counties have -- do they have the discretion to start when they need to start? mr. wilcox: lafayette county has 4500 voters they may start only one week prior to the election. we has administrators and canvassing board members have the discretion to fit our personal needs. sen. blunt: secretary chapman did you or your predecessor as a legislator to give you more pre-canvassing ability? sec. chapman: we have. all 67 -- we have. all 67 counties are in support of it. election officials are able --
not able to start pre-canvassing until 7:00 on election day. sen. blunt: what do you do on canvassing now? sec. ardoin: as a result of the hurricanes in 2020, we initiated an emergency process in our state that i and the government can act. i have to present a plan to the legislator. we are provided for four days prior to the election to start the ballot processing but not the counting. counting starts on election day. sen. blunt: is the legislator always in session or do you have to present that sometime before the election? sen. blunt: before the election. i have to presented to the two committees with jurisdiction on both sides. then those committees approve it and it goes to a male ballot of the vote -- mail-in ballot. sen. blunt: to wind up changing
polling places? sec. ardoin: we do emergency changing sir. sen. blunt: when you have the same ability of emerging -- emergency changes if there were guidelines? sec. ardoin: no. sen. blunt: what do you think you would lose if there was a federal structure as opposed to a state-by-state structure? mr. wilcox: i am in strong support of local and state control of election because the things that work for the state of florida, work well here. but if we went at a federal
>> if we had ample pre-canvas time, that would have been caught earlier. >> on the paper issue by 7 a.m. the county startedded precanvassing, they discover this error that the scanner was not reading the bar code, and that's why they're hand marking the ballot. if we'd had ample precanvassing time, that definitely would have been caught earlier. >> and on the paper issue, we
don't want this to become our next baby formula issue. when you have elections on election day, you need to be prepared for them, and i think we're both -- this whole committee's very interested in that. thank you, chairman. >> okay. next up, senator warner, then senator cruz, then senator padilla. senator warner. >> thank you, madam chair. and let me just say at the outset, you know, i think we all are a little concerned with some of the folks who have been election deniers who have been nominated around the country as recently as this week. i do think i've been working oning a bipartisan basis, and i know the chair's done some great work on at least making sure or that we get the electoral count act reformed, and i really do hopeti whether it comes down to the chairman and the rules committee's efforts or this bipartisan effort, we get that reform legislation to the president as quickly as
possible. i think certain states have vote by mail ballots that cannot be processed by the post office, is that accurate? >> some of the challenges are that they do not follow standards and best practices and they are not automation compatible. they're so much context and text on those that they do not follow those best practices. the other challenge that really conflicts is that we have 19 states that allow for a vote to request a ballot. they recommend they are back
days, even up to and including the monday before the election. that is not possible for them to deliver in that timeframe. >> i appreciate that. some of these extraordinary measures making sure you do not change dropbox locations, in the weeks leading up you have appropriate sweeps and these ballots are treated as first-class mail. fairly targeted set of reforms and those that choose to go by mail, there should be an
incentive so those ballots -- so that post office workers can make sure those ballots are appropriately processed. i hear comments about some disinformation stories, i would point out that literally today there is a meeting taking place in washington about misinformation, a number of other european countries. it is happening across democracies everywhere. it is supported by foreign adversaries. oftentimes, amplifying this
information. this is a problem that we cannot move away from. the testimony of miss information, disinformation there might be towards elected officials. suddenly election workers are believing misinformation. are you seeing that search take place? >> i think the largest set of misinformation we are seeing is around the elections processes elf.
whether or not voters can drop off their ballot, which they can. more about the process of voting and elections. we worked very quickly with our counties on education campaigns period that way we can be transparent about what the process is in the options voters have to return that bout well. >> i know what they are working on to try and protect election workers. [indiscernible] >> thank you very much. >> much of our discussion is
about elections today. democrats have routinely -- any information is politically inconvenient for democrats. that was illustrated most powerfully by president bidens minister. it has been a bipartisan through life and has amplified things that were disinformation, like the steel dossier that she was happy to amplified. she is also advocated silencing and censoring things that were not true like president biden's laptop which was inconvenient for democrats of the election. just a moment ago, there was a reference about deniers.
i find it interesting that now democrats are denouncing hillary clinton, stacey abrams because they maintain that the election was stolen. the hypocrisy that our democratic friends put into the decision is standing. mr. wilcox, they sent a letter about the barrage of threats seeking to interfere with the certification of the election. no election officials to be subjected to threats but many threats are limited to one side of the aisle. we see democrats across the country making false claims of voter suppression. for example, president biden has
called the election law "jim crow in the 21st century." this rhetoric deliberately racially -- could have real consequences. could you state how this type of rhetoric and misinformation from the left affects our elections? >> i think misinformation, regardless of left or right is bad for our election institution. my concern in my colleagues concern is the accuracy, security and ability to vote. once again, i go back to our earlier statement, make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. how that is accomplished is with
elections. >> last was with the commission. it was with former jimmy carter and state baker. it was real and needed to be combated. it also is similar in terms of fighting voter fraud. like photo id for voting, you need it to get in the airplane, drive a car. needed to get a beer. or if you are a teenager, to get into a movie. our democrat friends team the filibuster and oppose photo ids despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of americans support them. they also talk about one of the most frequent sources of voter fraud is mail-in ballots, that
historically they invited ron. unfortunately, we are seeing democrats across the country pushing for universal male in ballots. it is almost as if they read the recommendations on how to stop fraud and inverted them. let's do the opposite. let's do more of the conduct that produces fraud. we're sitting here in pennsylvania and we still do not know who won the republican vote for senator. democrats keep moving in the direction of election chaos. secretary, some of the witnesses here have criticized laws because it slurs the expansion
of nontraditional voting methods like mail-in voting. can you tell this committee about security and fraud concerns that are posed by mail in voting? >> the concern in louisiana that we have found is that we cannot quickly enough processed the ballots to make certain that they are from certain individuals that are asking for the ballots. it requires additional equipment from us. right now we are doing in person. that slows down the process of getting individuals their ballots. the concern, is that we pass the ball -- past the law --
they could manipulate the process. we did not want to have that happen in a presidential election so we passed that piece of legislation and it was signed into law by a democratic governor. he did not have it. that we have seen around the country in terms of turnout for an election. because of that we feel more confident we are we make certain that we promote in person voting. of that, 93% of those were in person. people did not mind standing in line. we had seven days of 10 hours of voting. on federal election date we had a 14 hour day. we believe we have given our
citizens ample time to vote in person and we believe we should be promoting in person learning as much as civil. >> i will turn this over. i know senator is up next. i want to thank the witnesses. i hope you saw the spirit. we have disagreements on the freedom to vote out and i believe we should pass. 's we have worked together without on the past. election officials should be protected and not the subject of threats and violence. we believe in our democracy of our elections.
we believe in trying to fix the shortage. there are many other things we agree on as well. 's want to thank all of you for raising these very important issues. thank you very much. >> thank you. i will resist the temptation to engage or escalate partisan rhetoric in this hearing. out of respect for the topic at hand, the professionalism of the witnesses before us and respect for the american people and those observing this hearing. the catchphrase i have heard are too often, make it easier to
vote and harder to cheat. sounds great. far too often, this committee is used as a pretext by colleagues. we should make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. if you look at data, americans is exceedingly red. there are practices that are secure and provide more opportunities to register, state registered and have their ballot counted. i agree, we have all touched on it. security and ballot access should not be mutually exclusive.
there is a lot to unpack and the hearing today. i appreciate the concern we raise about home workers. vote by mail, an extension to vote by mail including security steps. i will not get into detail because the dropbox and additional ballots from voters, there are in person voting opportunities that afford
different options for voters to participate. cybersecurity, staff training. systems and guidelines and standards should you continue to elevate. not just paper ballots but a different angle on i chain question. if you are watching from home you say, wait a minute, can we not just go to office depot or home depot and get paper to out? paper specifically as it gets to printing a ballot's, there are technical requirements that people should be aware of.
including certification. >> thank you. one of the things to remember is that the tabulation of equipment sophistication is very high and we need a high quality of paper. they can capture the light and in some way misrepresent a voters mark. you cannot just go down to staples or office depot and use any sort of paper, you have to have a specific type of paper that is high-quality. that has always traditionally been obtained here from these mills. it is a unique paper product, high-quality. when the mills turn their
product over to coordination, it becomes more difficulty to obtain. -- more difficult to obtain. even though they have 26,000 pound roles, that will flow through in about an hour and a half or two hours. >> we invite people to look at the states websites and look at the public information on what the criteria is with the certification process, who those renters are and to make themselves less vulnerable to misinformation. we are looking for bamboo filaments here. i think that is critical. the technology on the back and
is to count the ballots. a question on disinformation has the additional challenge of combating disinformation and the impact it could have on voters who prefer a language other than english. can you speak for a minute on concerns with disinformation for diverse voters? >> thank you for that question. we are following that section in the voters act. they will provide voting materials in chinese. we have been working with the department, county and statewide
to make sure it is translated and we are reaching voters where they are. we also go above and beyond to provide language assistances and try to provide the most common spoken languages in the common law. we are deafly on the right track to make sure we are providing information in every leg which possible. >> -- in every language possible. >> thank you. my experience was that the best way was to try and get ahead of it. this does not just exist on social media but it is predominantly on social media. from other hearings we have had, safety measures are in place are
helpful but are not enough. it leaves a lot more to be desired. thank you. >> thank you. we appreciate your experience. i thought i would turn first to you. one of the challenges i have seen is that there are a number of ways to manipulate election day and that is, if you want an area to vote you can create smaller precincts and if you don't you create larger's. -- you create a larger one. you can change the location, put it where there is no parking. we have seen applications were
people put out misinformation about where it was located. live evincing instances where they change the election day. so sorry you missed it. all of these are challenges on election day. are you familiar with those types of efforts to make it easier for people in some precincts versus others? >> we have seen those throughout the country. 02 distinguish the single precincts, mega precincts. we saw those out of a necessity because so many polling sites were destroyed. 's is much different to constantly shift in change.
its may be an hour of misdirection -- it takes a little bit of an ounce of misdirection to frustrate the entire democratic process for voters to go elsewhere. in a regime of preclearance, those kinds of changes would have been caught if that were reported timely as they should be. thank you. >> one of the statistics that struck me that the way predominantly black precincts, their waiting time verse predominantly white precincts was eight to 10 times as long.
are you familiar with that? >> i am. >> is that correct? >> it is. it is important to take into consideration that these are rural jurisdictions and some constraints that occur. there are barriers across the country that still exists. >> in oregon, we have had voter by mail for a couple decades. our experts said that they are having trouble verifying the authenticity of the mail-in ballots. before we had vote by milton we set about to everyone, we had no such difficulty. we could figure out in oregon,
is it possible for every jurisdiction to issue an absentee ballot with integrity? >> we have over 2 million registered voters in over -- million devoted by mail. there are absolutely policies in place that any jurisdiction can adopt they are widely shared. >> i would invite any election officials to figure out how to compare signatures, we are happy to give a seminar. we have been a leader. when the bell is returned, we have the integrity of comparing the signature on the ballot envelope to the signature on record. if there is a difference in signatures, the voter is contacted and said, hey, come
down and verify your ballot. that has worked pretty well? >> and dies. it is not only a good service, it is a good security measure. we talked about good customer service, it is a security measure. find out why the signature is missing or different. i have never had an instance where i under covered a fraudulent signature i found that voters were wearing a cast, had a stroke, were aging in their signatures had changed. it was good to know what that signature was different. >> after coming to the senate, my signature has changed because i only signed things occasionally in my previous life and now i do think every day. every once in a while i have to come down and verify my signature. >> thank you.
thank you 20 oh guests today. -- thank you to all of our guest today. we are currently early voting in georgia. early voting is up 217% from the last midterm election. i want to ask you, do you still think that the georgia lot limits access to early voting? >> we are still looking at the numbers coming in. we know that anything that requires voters in mass to have to change to find alternative ways to voting, looking at what is did or currently doing is problematic. we still think there are challenges in mail-in voting.
the frame for us, what we claimed as discrimination, we have to ask ourselves, tell a story, why is this happening? >> you asked the same question in 2020 or does this only apply to 2021? >> where they change to make it harder to vote? >> more people are voting early. >> there are voting on time. you are giving sneak stats about more people being able to vote but what we are not looking at is how that is happening, why it is happening? it was designed to make it easier to vote.
the argument proves the case. >> i don't see the logic at all. they expect this record turnout to continue. i am shocked to hear you continue to maintain this position. i will go to you, you speak about misinformation is being unintentionally false information. this information is deliberately misleading information. the georgia voting law extends early voting and gave counties the option to offer sunny voting. would it constitute misinformation or disinformation to say that it reduced voting? >> there misinformation is false
but neil -- not created with the intent of causing harm. disinformation is intended and mall information -- every statement would need to be reviewed. it would have to be reviewed. >> does the georgia voting law, which expanded voting, is it misinformation or disinformation that that law reduced access? >> that is only one aspect of the law. to put into one of these
categories, i do not feel i am qualified to make a statement. >> this is pertaining to the georgia law, it did not change the law to have ballots open from a certain time. [indiscernible] in the outrageous parts, it ends voting early. this lot does not end voting at 5:00. even the "washington post," gave that statement. would you say this is misinformation? >> i would never try to define the motivations by one individual. >> with all those definitions? >> i would say it is not.
i would continue to say it is not accurate. i am not a specialist in georgia's law or the most recent laws. >> but you can say whether you think it is true or not. >> if the statement is incorrect, these categories then take the next step to say why is that information being shared and prescribing motivations. are they saying it because they believe it to be false and they are saying it for a purpose? are they saying something because they are in aware -- unaware that it is incorrect? i am not in a position to qualify what that category is because i do not know what that motivation was. >> the motivation i think it is clear, i think it is to blame and i think is shameful.
i turned back the floor. thank you. >> all ranking members. >> thank you. let me just ask a couple of questions about cybersecurity that was covered while i was gone. it may have been during the current election authorities, what your state has done between 2018 and now to try to secure the system and create a stronger impression of the voter system and registration system -- then people have been led to believe? >> what louisiana has done, we have a centralized management system with access from vendors.
we have a third-party that is monitoring all behavior on our website to see if there is any -- -- suspicious behavior to mitigate those attacks. we monitor transmission lines, even if they are not being used. every day, all hours of the day. we work with our local partners to have the latest information. if we could get more substantive information with regards to activities that are out there, we would be better served. many times, only our called into a higher security level clearance briefings, we are
finding out information that we have already read in news outlets. >> this is something that the federal government could do by designating somebody, your office and other election offices to be cleared to get information that somebody in the federal government thinks could be a problem for your state or jurisdiction? >> we do have individuals that are designated for this information, but the issue is -- >> getting it? >> getting it. it has to go through a process of de-stock -- declassification to a level that we can get. by the time we get it, it is "-- "sanitized" i think is the term and then we have already heard
about it. >> we have done a lot of the same type of security procedures that he mentions. we have done them at a local level as well. the vast majority of these have implemented these different types of security sweeps of federal government which is beneficial. they are allowing us to do some cybersecurity things that we could not have done in the state of florida, so that has been wonderful. the other part of this is education. we have to understand that there is a small amount of registered voters, the database
administrator, the vote by mail coordinator. they do all of these things and having them become a cybersecurity expert is a major challenge. we have been able to educate our membership and now we understand that three years ago we did not have that. >> is there some major turn to in the small counties? >> yes. in the state of florida, they have put together a cyber navigator program where they have 5-7 different individuals, different pieces of the state, two or anyone who lives in that district can contact them to help responses on security type
things. that is to ensure all of our jurisdictions are immobile. >> do you -- are available. >> to have the same concerns about information getting there as quickly about issues? >> we have staff that have security clearances and we are in constant communication. we receive that information on an expedited bas >> are you able to constantly communicate it to other people aroundo the state who need to know? >> yes. we have biweekly meetings with counties. anything relatedav to a particur county, we speak with them right away. so our federal partners and our state partners are very strong when it comes to cybersecurity. >> and i think my last question, ms. patrick, on the urban-rural, you mentioned urban precincts and and rural precincts, and i
wasn't quite sure how that related to the waiting in line, but i'm assuming one of of the ways what you wait -- that it relates to that is usually rural precincts have a lot fewer people that are going to vote there because they have to travel a lot further to get there, so by definition there would almost always be less waiting in those precincts. was that the point you were trying to make? >> that's certainly part of it, senator. the other, as i'm sure you remember from your days as an official, they're often transient, they move more frequently, and given whatever the regime is in that state, you can slow down the line by not having an updated voter registration, so now you a provisional -- you're a provisional voter, provisional ballot depending on whether or not the state has online voter registration. it can slow downio the process particularly in jurisdictions where they either move more frequently, and i would say that
a one caveat is when you talk about voters in indian country or in reservation land. there the challenge is the addressing system itself because it is sorely lacking in this country. >> right. i think there are also election authorities looking for better ways than signature verification to determine how to process a ballot unless someone has reason to question. and are you doing that in either one of,ou any of your three states, mr. wilcox? >> yes, we are in the state of florida. we do have some automated signature very verification, basically the same technology the banking industry uses with validating checks. so we are using that in some of our jurisdictions in the state of florida. >> we're not using automated at this time, senator, because we're in the process of determining what type of new voting system that we will be movingte to. we have mostly touch screen or
touch voting dres, direct recording electronic, voting machines. and our mail absentee voting program has not expanded itself as most states have just because our vote voters are used to voting in person. we had the highest number ever in louisiana during the presidential election, but it didn't, it was only 7% of our voters voted by ab absent dee ballots. >> -- absentee ballots. >> you know a whole lot more about the campaign and the candidate and the issues. i've always thought moving that decision earlier makes it hard for candidates to figure out how they're going to communicate with you what they think the campaign is all about, but there's not a lot of sympathy for candidates in this process, i do get that.
i will say on the voting location, you know, if you do have a significant populated urban location, as i'm sure all of you have figured out, one thing you can do if you've got room at that location, is to divide the precinct on big election days alphabetically or some other way where you have moreiv opportunities and you dot have more locations than you need on all other elections if it's not a travel problem. now, my favorite comment anybody ever madeob to me when i was a local election official about my poorto if judgment -- poor judgment in moving a voting location wasmo one of the committeewomen came in toe me and said -- in to me and said it is too far for me to walk and too close for me to drive. so t i totally failed to meet te standard of having it where it met either of those, of those standards. chairman, thank you for letting me asksk a second round of questions. >> thank you very much, senator,
in bringing your experience to bear, because not everyone has had that personal experience of being engaged in those issues. did want to ask secretary chapman in pennsylvania, you've gone through a primary election, and did you have vote by mail in that election? >> yes. >> and did you have any difficulty in figuring out how to send out absentee ballots or ballots for vote by mail to citizens of pennsylvania? >> no. >> and do you use a signature match verification as a way to make sure that the ballot is being mailed in by the same person whose name is on the ballot?? >> we check for the signature and date, yes. andor have you had a large numbr of cases where individuals essentially voted somebody else's ballot? >> no. >> havedy is you had any? have you prosecuted any people for that? >> weyo don't prosecute, that's
something the attorney general does, but no. >> no, okay. i'm just checking because so far i've had the chance to ask many secretary of states around the country, and it all comes down to you're more likely to be struck by lightning than find a case that somebody deliberately voted somebody else's ballot. we have come up with cases where people moved and had an early primary in one state and a later primary in another state, thought maybe they could vote in two primaries, weren't sure if that was legal. but that is not an intentional voter fraud situation. i remain very concerned about changes that are making it much harder to vote. i was noting that in georgia between 2012 and 2018, 214 voting precincts were eliminated. and when they were eliminated, people had to figure out where to go in order to vote because their old precinct location was eliminated. and then georgia's changed the law so that if you go to the
wrong precinct voting place, which is much more likely after the old voting place was eliminated, you can't vote at that location, and you have to travel to the new location which means quite a lot of difficulty in figuring out where that is and making sure -- it's just in that georgia law there's provision of after provision after provision including doubling -- or cutting in half the time that you have to apply for early voting or for an absentee ballot, and you can just count them off. more than a dozen. i think we should all be working together to make it easier to vote. w i hear advocates who are defending things that make it harder to work saying this makes it easier to vote. well, let's just have an honest discussion about changes in law that are designed to make it moreha difficult, because this s the wrong way to go. and not to use fake issues of fraud as a justification for trying to disenfranchise people.
les no way in any -- there's no way in any state it should be telephone times to wait as -- ten times as long to wait in a predominantly black precinct than it is a white precinct. that is discrimination, and it's our responsibility to make sure there are fair laws around the country. year 1891 that the act came from the house that said we are going to make sure following the end of reconstruction that we're going to have fair opportunity to register, fair opportunity to vote and, and integrity in counting those votes across the entire country. and that bill, unfortunately, was filibustered here in the senate and killed leading to 75 years in which black americans were disenfranchised before the 1965 voting rights act. so it is our responsibility to continue to address this challenge. i thank thent ranking member, blunt, and chair klobuchar for holding this hearing.
we need to keep working on this critical issue central to a democratic republic. i appreciate the election officials bringing their experience to bear here told and their strategy -- today, and their strategies to improve the administration and security of elections, and iov commend mr. hewitt and ms. patrick for being strong advocates for election workers and voters and for their ongoing work including testifying today to insure voters can make their voices heard this our democracy. the testimony makes clear that we must continue to work together to overcome the challenges voters and election work workers are facing this year c including insuring access to federal resources, that election workers are safe and feel safe and that voters across the country can easily cast their ballots. i look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on this committee to provide election officials and voters across the country with the support needed for a successful year of midterm elections. the hearing record will remain opensu for one week. all members when wish to submit questions for the record have one week to do so.
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a front row seat to democracy. ♪ knox. >> after months of close door investigations, the house january 6th committee is set to go public. starting june 9th, tune in as committee members question key witnesses about what transpired and why during the assault on the u.s. capitol. watch our live coverage beginning thursday, june 9th, on c-span, c-span now, our free mobile video app, or anytime online at c-span.org. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. >> u.s. senate about to gavel in for legislative business on this tuesday. today lawmakers are expected to consider a number of president biden's executive and judicial nominationings. coming up at 2:30 eastern, we
expect senators to vote when to confirm stephanie davis to be u.s. court of appeals judge for the 6th circuit. also a member of the federal election commission. live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. te will come to. the chaplain, the reverend dr. barry black, will open the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o lord who serves the mind of all called to serve you and country, guide our lawmakers to fulfill your purposes. when it is difficult to see the path ahead, give them the wisdom to trust the unfolding