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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  August 14, 2021 9:50pm-11:30pm EDT

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nsusburaue to stay up-to-date on our latest news. thank announcer: c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by these television companies and more areas including -- ♪ announcer: they support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. announcer: sunday night on q&a, journalist elizabeth becker, author of you don't belong here, tells a story of female vietnam war correspondence any time when
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covering war was a male dominated profession. >> there is no embedding. there is no military censorship so was probably the first and last uncensored american war. it was for women a gift. because it was only because of this last codification, the openness, that women could get through what had been the biggest barrier, that you are not allowed on the field. announcer: journalist elizabeth becker, sunday night at eight eastern on c-span's q&a. you can find all q&a interviews where you get podcasts. announcer: next, it discussion on voting rights from the american bar association. this event began with key note
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remarks from senator alex padilla this is an hour and a half.
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>> after graduating from m.i.t. was elected daily city council where he served as the youngest council president nla history. and provided citywide leadership at critical times, including serving as acting mayor during the tragedies of september 11. he was elected to the state senate in 2006 to represent the more than 1.1 million people in the central valley. as a state center -- senator he passed 70 bills. he was named as one of sacramento's most respected legislators. padilla served as california's first latina secretary of state and was reelected in 2018, receiving the most votes of any latino elected official in the u.s. as secretary of state, he worked to make our elections more accessible and inclusive while
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fighting to protect the integrity of our voting system. as california's junior u.s. senator, he serves as the chairman of the judiciary subcommittee on immigration, citizenship, and border safety. he also serves as a member of the senate committee on budget, environment, and public works. homeland security and governmental affairs. judiciary. thank you senator padilla for your service, leadership, and for joining us today. >> hello, i'm senator alex padilla and i have the honor of representing california in the u.s. senate. thank you for inviting me to open this critical discussion on the fight for voting rights. and thank you to today's panel for sharing your expertise. america's free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. but today there -- today they
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are under attack. republican state legislatures have proposed or passed more than 400 voter suppression measures this year alone. as we've seen too many times before, this attack on voting rights is rooted in white supremacy. saw rights leaders have fought for more than 200 years to expand access to the ballot box. it is our nation's tradition. but since the earliest days of reconstruction, we have seen how white supremacy rears its head one communities of color make their voices heard in our elections. today cynical politicians are spreading false claims of voter fraud for their own political advantage. the country's rejection of a white supremacist president, a president who embraced hate, disdains to -- disdains to democracy and cited deadly insurrection at all were very capital has given rise to a voter suppression drive by republican state legislators
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across the country. it is time to reject these attempts once again. we need to set a strong national standard for voting rights. we need to end partisan gerrymandering. and we need to reform our campaign-finance system so that a few large corporations and wealthy families cannot drown out the voices of millions of voters. the issue of voting rights is personal to me. before i entered the senate, i served as california secretary of state. the chief elections officer. for our nation's most populous and diverse democracy. in california we have already implement in many of the reforms boat -- in the before -- in the for the people act. like automatic voter registration, expanded early voting, and vote by mail. we know the reforms work. in 2020, california set modern records for voter registration
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and voter turnout, despite the covid-19 pandemic. i am proud to support the for the people act and the john lewis voting rights advancement act to bring innovation to be used to every voter and prevent discrimination at the ballot box. protecting our democracy and expanding putting rights enjoyed by support among the american people. but unfortunately, republicans in the nation's capital have shown repeatedly their value their party more than our democracy. we cannot let's republicans use the filibuster we must put every ounce of our being into assuring our democracy is as free and fair and accessible to all americans as we can possibly make it.
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the legal profession has a critical role to play. so i: you, listening to the discussion to ask what will you do in the fight for our democracy. we need your talents and training to defend access to the ballot in court. we need your work to make the rule of law a reality for all americans. as lawyers, you serve as counselors of the courts. working to advance justice. it is critical that each of you stands against the big lie and those who would abuse the law for their own ends. i want to thank you for your partnership and strengthening our democracy because the stakes are too high to give up the flight -- the fight. the future of our democracy is online. good luck. >> thank you senator padilla.
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i'm the president and general counsel of the mexican american legal defense and education fund. we are 53-year-old national legal organization we have a tremendous panel of experts ready to discuss a watershed year for the issue of voting rights. this year, perhaps more than any in our history, we have seen from even the casual observer a juxtaposition on the issue of voting rights and encouraging access to vote. while this is in some ways a just good position -- juxtaposition, it's come to a particular point in 2021. that follows an equally important 2020 election, what we
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saw a presidential election with the greatest number of voters in our history, and the highest turnout of eligible voters since 1900. we also saw at the beginning of this year contention about the outcome, including an unprecedented insurrection on january 6. all of these issues continue 2021 as we see two patterns emerge. one, an unprecedented number of proposals to change the way elections are running our states. some of these changes are proposed to facilitate greater participation and many are designed to make it more difficult, in some cases a lot more difficult to participate.
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at the same time, congress is considering two important legislations, using constitutional powers. these pieces would potentially change election procedures. there is no question this has been a contentious year already. all of this comes with the redistricting year. [indiscernible] we are going to see a redrawing
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of the districts, not just for congress but state and local bodies all around the country. those new lines will dictate what our voters will face, not just as they access the ballot but what they actually see on the ballot. as senator padilla has suggested, power panel has a lot to discuss today. i welcome all of you and thank you for joining us. we will first hear from our panelists. you will hear first from john yang, followed by bill. we have longer biographies for each of them in the material for this panel. john yang is the president and executive director of asian americans advancing justice, one of the leading organizations and
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a consortium of legal groups across the country that work to promote civil rights for asian americans in our democracy. we will then hear from bill. he is both a member of the three-person chicago board of election commissioners and an associate professor at the college of business in illinois. finally, you will hear from the president and director counsel from one of our nation's oldest legal organizations focusing on racial justice. an incredible component has been access to the ballot. we will first hear from each of them, and then we will have a broader discussion led by me as your moderator about some of the issues we face in 2021.
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i first turn to john yang. john: thank you very much for organizing this, and bringing up this important discussion. certainly in this moment, our democracy is under attack in many ways. it's critical that we have a fresh conversation. let me first ground it's in what we are seeing in the asian-american community, we are seeing on the ground, the attacks that are happening, and how all of us should be talking about these issues. for the asian-american community, i think it's important to recognize how our community has grown over the last 20 years, even if you go back to 1965, the asian-american
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community was only one half of 1% of the entire population of the united states. although the final numbers are not out, we expected that number is going to be over 7% of the population. over 22 million nation -- asian americans. the voting population that is eligible has just about doubled in the last 20 years. back in 2000, asian americans only represented about 5 million of eligible voters in the united states. now, we are talking about over 11 million eligible voters. one thing to recognize is when we talk about asian-american community, it includes a rich diversity of different communities. we have over 50 different nationalities, over 100 languages. if people want to understand the
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community, there are predominant numbers in the chinese, indian, vietnamese, filipina populations, that there are other many populations, burmese, cambodian. it's also important to recognize that for the asian-american community is a new community. , over two thirds of our community are foreign-born. over 90% of our population were either born in the different country or there are children of people born in different country. what does that mean? when you're talking about our community, one of the frequent issues we have is what is called limited english proficiency. about one third don't speak english as our first language, and we are not particularly fluent or comfortable navigating this language. indeed, about three out of four asian americans speak a
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different language at home which emphasizes this point. certainly, i think we will all agree that because you don't speaking this at home, because english is not your language, does not make you less of a citizen. what we are talking about with voting rights is one bedrock principle for the community. the second principle is asian americans span a wide variety of different social and economic classes. indeed, one of the mets of the asian-american unity is we are all well-to-do, from -- that we are doing well. that is simply not the case. it straddles both sides. there are many that are doing well but there are many that are not. similar to many other communities, we struggle to make it to the ballot box. if you have polls that are only
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open between 9:00 and 5:00, we would not be able to make it. when we did a survey, approximately 25% of our voters did not participate in voting because they had a schedule conflict or something else in terms of -- prevented them from getting to the ballot box. the second thing we know is asian americans prefer mail-in ballots. approximately 64% of our population prefers that. indeed, that manifest itself in the 2020 election when we saw asian americans choose that option of mail-in ballots where available, above the norm for other race and ethnicities. for example, in georgia, proximally 40% of asian americans voted by mail. which is significantly higher than other populations, and that was true for the runoffs as well. mail-in ballots are widely
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available but asian americans chose the action is the phenomena often. i think it's important to understand how we access the polls. the issues that we have. number one, language. we have restrictions with respect to our ability to bring what are called a sisters of our choice. if you are denied language access, where populations are not bilingual, then we will see a reduction in the number of asian-american voters. number two, if we have a place where the ability to access mail-in ballots, larger number of polling places, not available, we will not see asian americans participate because those forms are not available. that is a starting point as we
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talk about voting. certainly, we will talk more about the challenges we face in specific jurisdictions. the last thing i would say and remind people is that oftentimes the image of the asian-american community is of that of los angeles, san francisco, near city. the reality is that asian americans are growing faster in more rural places, whether it is in georgia, north carolina, nevada. as we think about voting and where asian americans will be voting, we have to think beyond the normal norms of urban centers and recognize we are trying to access the ballot box in all of these different places, and to ensure our democracy lives up to its ideals. i look forward to engaging in this discussion with my esteemed colleagues. >> hello, i am built. i'm on this panel, unlike some
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of the other panelists who represent civil rights organizations, i'm on the panel for two reasons. i'm one of the three commissioners on the chicago board of election commissioners. it's not part of the city of chicago government, we are an independent government and the created by the state legislature. let by three commissioners, each one of us chooses judges of the circuit county of illinois, there are almost 300 of those judges. it's a bipartisan commission. i'm here as the person to represent those with knowledge
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about boots on the ground, and the work done by election workers. in the city of chicago we have over 2000 precincts on election day. we need 13,000 workers to work election day. it's in addition to the hundreds of workers that work for the chicago board. i've gotten to meet many election administrators from around the state, around the country, around the world. we have not met one that does not want to have fair and free elections in the united states. unfortunately we are sometimes tagged with the problems that occur.
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the administrators and election workers -- in regards to threats against election officials which is disturbing and unfair. the other reason i'm on this panel is i could speak to the effect of the various new laws and proposals out there is that my second job is as a professor. i'm an attorney but i'm not a professor of law. my specialty is fraud examination along with business law and forensic accounting and
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accounting. i am a cpa who is certified in financial forensics, i am a certified fraud examiner. i know a little bit about fraud. you hear this discussed so often with regards to election matters , about election fraud. i include voter suppression in with election fraud. not only am i known as professor fraud, that is the title that some members of the media have given me. i registered it as a trademark. i grew up in chicago, i am from chicago. if you want to talk about election fraud i can talk about
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it. i have seen it, i know about it. i'm happy to report that in recent years, the incidences of election fraud are nothing like stories of the past. i do note, though, that one of my favorite books on elections, five dollars and a porkchops in which has an entire chapter on election fraud. i was a local to a federal judge in chicago. i am someone who could talk about election fraud and talk about forensic audits.
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it may be drawing on my background. i have articles and materials about risk limiting audits, and the idea of information asymmetry. i think one of the big problems we see in the country is the problem of information asymmetry, where we have the government with a small g controlling power election systems, controlling how they are designed, controlling the reports. the users, the voters, not knowing and not trusting the information, the reports that they get. i also included some surveys just before the november 2020 election, over 40% of voters in both parties felt that if their candidate lost, there was some sort of election fraud. that is unfortunate, that is in
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addition to the one third to one half of voters who don't show up to vote because in big part they don't trust the system. we have a big problem with the distrust of the election system. there are ways of fixing that. as i put in there as well, information about risk limiting audits, and i would suggest bringing in outside independent experts, bringing in cpas to audit systems of internal control and financial reports of corporations, we could do something to increase the trust in our election system. today we want to concentrate on justice. civil rights. making sure that all of our
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elections are fair, free and open, and all of our voters have a chance to vote fairly and make sure their vote is cast property. thank you. >> i'm thrilled to be a part of this important conversation today, and especially want to shout out my dear friend who was a heavyweight and intellect in this phase, particularly around voting litigation. we rely on his domain. i'm thrilled to join my friend john dang. -- john yang. i can't imagine a more important moment to be talking about the issues of voting, so i'm so glad
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and so hopeful that many people -- when thurgood marshall was asked from his retirement what was his most important case, it was kind of a rhetorical question. everyone expected marshall to answer brown v. board of education, the case that began the end of jim crow, that really changed the direction of american democracy in the 20th century. that is responsible for the lives that many of us have been able to lead by turning america away from an apartheid state. but marshall did not say brown v. board of education. he said smith versus all right, a case he successfully litigated
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in the united states supreme art in 1944. it was a case out of texas, challenging the all-white primary election. why did marshall guard this as his most significant case? it is because he believed that providing the opportunity for black people who were at that time held at second-class citizens, particularly in the south and largely disenfranchised in the south, that opening up political power and opportunity and participation was a critical ticket to full citizenship. full citizenship was a focus of thurgood marshall and is the focus of the legal defense fund, because that is the guarantee in that first line of the 14th amendment. birthright citizenship began with overturning the dred scott decision, and making sure like people who have been slaves
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would be full citizens of this country. there are many rights and privileges that are associated with citizenship, but most of us regard the ability to vote and participate in the political process as near the top of those indicators of citizenship. therefore, when the right to vote is threatened against citizens who are eligible to vote, we have not just a civil rights problem. we have a democracy problem. over the last year, americans have -- is actually an indication of a deep, corrosive flaw in cancer.
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and what has been workshop on the black and latino and asian american population in terms of cash now has metastasized and threatens the integrity of the system and democracy. it is important for me to say this, because for many people this appears to be something that arose out of nowhere. it did not. i hate to date myself, but at this point, there is no point in pretending. i joined the legal defense fund as a young lawyer after a one year fellowship at the aclu. i graduated, had a one-year fellowship and then joined lds in 1988. i started as a voting rights attorney. the people to train me are two of the most billion minds in the litigation space. they taught me to understand the significance and power of the
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voting rights act, using both section five of the act which was the provision that requires certain jurisdictions to get permission from federal authorities before enacting voting changes, and section two, which created a right of action that allowed us to litigate and sue on behalf of minority voters. i brought many section two cases. passed over to today, and section five was essentially gutted by the supreme court in the shelby county versus holder decision in 2013. just two weeks ago, the supreme court powerfully weakened section two in another case. this particular statute, the one that i believe was president reagan called the crown jewel of civil rights statutes, the statute that we recognize as having been enacted that the cost of activism and death.
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the beating of john lewis, so many others. this bill that is recognized as having freedom enfranchised the black population of the south, prior to the voting rights act, only 60% were registered to vote. after that jumped to 59%. interestingly, before the act, only 70% of white voters in mississippi were registered. after the act, 90%. when we expand the opportunity and access to vote for black voters, for latino voters, for asian american voters, actually expanded for all voters and that
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is good for democracy. likewise, when we suppress the vote, when we restrict access to voting for black voters, for latino voters, for elderly voters. we restrict it for everyone. this is the moment we are at in this country. why are we at this moment? we're are at this moment because after the decision in 2013 in shelby county, the country failed to understand that we were in a moment of democratic crisis. why do i say that? because within hours of the decision, officials in texas were tweeting out plans to pass a voter id bill that they had not been able to preclear because it clearly had a negative effect on black and latino voters. other states followed suit with voting laws that never would have passed muster under section five. there was a race to enact voter
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suppression laws. but because those laws were being enacted in the south and in states that were not regarded by the political pundits as swing states, because they were targeted at black and brown and asian american voters, it was not a national story. so, it happened. the district court found that texas had not only violated the voting rights act but engaged in intentional discrimination. when north carolina passed its bill, many of you know the fourth circuit court of appeals. this should have been a sign that our democracy was in peril, because any effort is a threat to democracy. here we are in 2021.
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in 2021, with a we can voting rights act, and with a metastasized process emanating from the former president and the big lie in the effort after the 2020 election to discredit votes that were cast in places like detroit and philadelphia. we now have georgia. we are suing and challenging that bill. a bill that was passed with incredible haste with some of the most onerous provisions that weaken early voting, that we can absentee voting. the ability to determine whose votes will be disqualified from local officials it -- that truly
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criminalizes handing out food and water people standing in line, knowing that black voters stood up to nine hours in line. florida followed suit, also adding the provision that restricts refreshments to people standing in line. texas is teed up to do the same. here we are, what something that is unraveling across the country, and moreover, we have the phenomenon that was just described about voter fraud. it's a myth that has been perpetuated to support voter suppression for decades. but now, in the hands and mouth of the former president, it has become an article of faith and it is now being used to undergird restrictions on the right to vote. this is a moment where we need to be grappling with this issue, and we need to be seeing it framed as a democracy issue, and
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therefore as an issue that challenges and undermines the integrity of our electoral system, and therefore, our legitimacy as a democratic country. it's an emergency that i hope people will not recognize. >> thank you all of you for your incredible presentation. this is an opportune moment for our discussion. our discussion is hosted by the american bar association. i want to focus for a minute on the proper role of the courts in the voting arena. as she has reminded us, we, last year saw a sitting president who refused and to date, continues to refuse to acknowledge the outcome as legitimate as the
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number 20 election. part of it was running to courts. state court, federal court, seeking to overturn the outcome of the ballot count presented by election officials. many, including myself consider those attempts to be legitimate. yet, here we are, six months later and certainly, we know the state legislation has been enacted or will be enacted in our court system. the establishment of constitutional rights in the area. we could potentially intervene there. the legislation i mentioned in my opening is enacted. you can see as we saw with the shelton county. the attempts to challenge those federal exercises and
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legislative authorities in those areas. with in i on this, it decision coming at the end of june and one of those late decisions by the supreme court, a could change potentially how challenges under the voting rights act to vote denial could go forward. in the light of these counties but these other uses of the court. i will ask each of you to talk about what is the appropriate role of the court system when it comes to voting? i just want to remind you all. they're not particularly democratic. we don't elect judges at the federal level. even at the state level, or we have elected judges in many cases, we don't have the usual kind of elections that we don't have candidates out there with ads on television, arguing they
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should be made court judges. we are talking about a space that is not to regret. let's start with you john. >> let's look at the evidence. the courts did their job. they look at the evidence and overwhelmingly, they concluded there was no evidence for that. this evolving with respect to suppressive legislations is that they are not looking at the evidence or not giving weight to it. i find it interesting that in shelby county, the court suggested the evidence was not there for the need of preclearance anymore.
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even though there is no threat to election integrity or massive threat with respect to election fraud. i think the courts have a will to look at the evidence. you go one step further. there is no evidence of massive fraud that this will actually provide for greater election integrity what is the harm that happens to our community echo what is the effect? the court talks about totality of circuits. what are the real circumstances that happened? she has resented, presented numerous times, the effect on our community is clear that this results in a reduction of the number of voters. a reduction of the ability of people to cast votes. that is where i would start with respect to the role of what the
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courts should be they are not there to provide legislative fixes they are there to evaluate evidence. that is where they really need to think through and think this is how affecting communities. >> the courts rule and look at evidence but also rule on interpretation of the law. this case again brings up the idea of looking at the totality of circumstances. that compels it now at lower courts to look at the evidence. it also states that voter fraud and trying to vent it, they have a compelling interest in the. fine. let us look at the totality of it let us look at the burden of
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whatever the restrictions are as well. there are some chases -- changes that been proposed. due to the pandemic, he states, illinois included, made a change is our election laws in order to address the pandemic paired now, there are changes going back and forth or whatever. speaking for election administers, look at the burdens on us. don't have unlimited resources, but we want to have fair and open elections that everyone can participate in good the courts need to know that and see as they pointed out, the idea of what is the impact on communities out there? if we make these changes. if we reduce the number of: places, drop boxes, etc. maybe there is good reason to reduce number of drop boxes for mail-in
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ballots. maybe there were too many and it can be costly to maintain. on the other hand, if it causes a substantive reduction in voters, the courts have to look at that evidence as well. i think we will be seeing the courts taking on a lot more ruling on the evidence of cases on this latest supreme court decision. >> the role courts fill in in democracy echo >> as you know, there are courts and there are courts. what i have seen is the district courts actually have been looking and weighing the evidence. if we look at the district court opinion last year in our first pandemic remote tryout which was the case involving the florida referendum in which a majority
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of florida voters saw to restore the right to vote for incarcerated people, the governor and republicans set about to undermine that. the courts, after an extensive trial, waived the evidence and determined that the actions to undermine the intention of that referendum actually violated the voting rights of -- the voting rights act and violated various provisions of the constitution and it was carefully weighed. a conservative judge, by the way, our challenge in alabama last year paired to the restrictions on absentee voting. carefully weighed by the district court judge, 192 jet -- page opinion, identifying the ways that black footers and disabled voters were being subjected and unduly burdened by having to comply with the onerous absentee voting
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requirements in alabama that put them at risk of covid infection. if you look at any number of these cases in which trial courts are dealing with these issues, you often find they are doing precisely what has already been described which is weighing the evidence, determining what is the effect of moving drop boxes. moving them inside for example, negatively affect disabled voters. it is doing precisely what section two said you're supposed to do. engage in a searching, practical evaluation of the local dynamics. the totality of circumstances have been the standard. they did not make that up. instead, what they did was they decided it would countermand the senate's identification of the relevant factors and identify its own relative factors.
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also not based on hard evidence that came through the process of having been evaluated by the effects of the district court. justice alito the majority opinion, crediting the-ist -- interest in voter fraud runs counter to every case that's been litigated over the past five years that have failed to demonstrate any evidence of widespread voter fraud. in the alabama case, they found that the states actions actually were not likely to reduce voter fraud. and so, the idea that the supreme court would accept casually and without even making reference to the overwhelming evidence that widespread voter fraud does not exist, this would be the kind of interest that would outweigh the kind of effects that john identified on voters but some of these voter suppression efforts is kind of astounding. what is the role of courts echo
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is to have integrity in the space. the role of court is to understand and execute the intention of the statute. i don't think there's any statute of what the voters rights is or the senate's intentions and amending it in 1982. in fact, when they amended it in 1980, it was reverse an earlier decision in 1980 congress is very clear and when you leave the legislative history, you know that one of the things they hope to get at and were very explicit about was only two address voting dissemination existing at the moment, but to deal with future efforts at voter suppression and. ingenious things they could not think of at the moment. they meant to have an expensive vision they meant for this to be flexible and encompass any effort to try and restrictive
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rights of minority voters super to spit in the political process. what we then see his a supreme court decision that tries to freeze in place what ever voting apparatus was available in 1982 as a standard against which we should measure voting suppression measures in 2021. what is the role of courts? it is to walk with integrity in the space. you may disagree with justice alito and justice roberts with the amendments to the voting rights act. they may disagree with section two or five. you don't get to upend what we know as lawyers and litigators to be the proper order which is that the supreme court is not the factfinder. the factfinder is district court or in the case of the voting rights act amendment, the factfinder was congress. it was their job to accumulate a record, which they did in 2006, in which the supreme court felt they could simply brush aside in
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2013 in shelby county versus holder. i think we have an issue. you're asking in important question and an important question for us in the aba. that is to be honest about what is happening in some of our courts and recognize. i taught law school for 20 years. i know the difference between child court and appellate court. i know what is supposed to happen. we all know. we need to have some of those conversations that are not just about artisan politics but are about courts moving out of their lane and engaging in activities that really undercut the intention of statutes enacted by congress, and have a serious effect on the citizenship rights of millions of americans. >> you called up a couple of the most trouble -- troubling parts of this majority.
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it was troubling to me and many others that the majority seem to put so much weight on voter fraud and preventing voter fraud. there are some that would argue that even if it is not existent, you still have to project you objecting against it so there's confidence going to the polls. the fact is, the two kinds of voter fraud that the geordie -- majority alluded to, those are an eligible going to the polls and voting. second, those putting remotely being coerced by someone else to vote in a way not intend to vote. there is precious little evidence of either of those kinds of voter fraud in very widespread in recent years. the question is and i will turn to you first, what is the nature of that kind of voting fraud and
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should that limited experience put limits on how much is done in the name of presenting that kind of voter fraud. those were not eligible and those being coerced to vote in ways they do not? >> i will tell you. both of those forms of voter fraud occur, do exist. i can go into some stories. i am going to date myself i started voting in 1976. i worked polls, i seen shenanigans going on. it does happen. is it widespread? no. but, as i teach in fraud examination, fraud controls don't just detect fraud but they are there to prevent and deter
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fraud. have people change their mind to think they can get away with it. those things do occur in small numbers. i can recite a few instances of that. the key is, are the controls you put in place, are they effective to stop that sort of fraud? i like to say for example, you don't wait until somebody has ransacked your house before you a lock on the door. on the other hand, you don't put locks on doors that don't lead nowhere. they have to be some logic behind it. if you put in a control, is it effective at preventing or deterring the type of fraud you are trying to vent daca -- trying to prevent? i think some of the proposals
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bubbling through state legislators right now, the case to say this somehow prevents or deters fraud is tenuous at best there are often even those systems where you can have an alternative that does not prevent the legitimate voter from voting. it does allow that confidentiality, privacy of the ballot that we want. we can do these things. sometimes, we gotta be creative. here in cook county in the past elections, the county clerk clerk's office that runs the voting in suburban cook county and the suburban group that doesn't in the city. we place for the first time,
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early voting polling places inside of the jail. the pretrial detainees there can actually come down and not be in their cells, filling out an absentee ballot without who knows influencing that vote or in the day room, with the guards looking over their shoulders. it was a wonderful thing to see. they can vote in privacy and get the privacy that you really go for in voting. what i loved was you got a look of the faces of the detainees that we -- they were being treated like human beings with human dignity. that is important. we can work these things out. just saying there is no evidence of massive fraud, does that mean we take away all of the anti-fraud controls?
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those controls have to show that they are in fact effective. i like looking at these things on a case-by-case basis. maybe if -- it is the professor in me. i think we can't look at these things and going forward, the courts will look at that standard that just because there's is no evidence of massive fraud doesn't mean the control cannot prevent and deter fraud from occurring. >> i think that is common ground for all of us. we want to make sure we haven't played a step towards fraud and there is a belief integrity of our election. it is a balance as you said. many of us think they should.
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let me turn to you. there challenging elements of the georgia law. i wonder if you can talk specifically about the nature of your challenges and how you consider this issue of ensuring police -- placing where fraud might occur. >> our affiliate in atlanta has led a lawsuit in this statute. as i said on the outset, asian americans have expressed a preference by voting by mail. that happened in georgia. what we've seen with this is that it is restricting that access of vote by mail. we've also seen asian americans express the need to have extended voting periods. when they have the time to get the resources they need to vote
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in an intelligent way. all the restrictions that happen throughout sp 20 to prevent that from happening one of the things we haven't talked about his we talked about the compelling interest by the government and ensuring that there is no voting fraud. that aspect is this. the compelling interest that the government has in ensuring that every eligible voter is able to cast a ballot. that is fundamental to our moxie. the notion that we are trying to expand franchises of democracy. if there is anything that places an undue burden or anything that lace is a burden on that franchise of voting without any sort of benefit, we have to look at that skeptically that is a become back to the evidence. even if we assume that officials are trying to prevent voter fraud, number one, we gotta look for evidence on the type of
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voter fraud they're trying to address and i would say we don't see that it as bill suggested, there are these in this evidence, an argument that you want to present it, the new have to present evidence that what you're doing will prevent that. this is where we come back to, what we are all talking about is we don't see evidence of how going to be in the system but what is part of our lawsuit is that we will demonstrate the arms of our democracy and harms the ability of citizens. i emphasize citizens and the right to vote. >> talk about that lawsuit and how you balance the four election integrity? >> it begins with our anticipation and effort to try
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and intervene and engage around the passage of s d 202. we are part of every hearing. we testified multiple times in the run-up to the passage of the bill. often, new bill provisions will be introduced late at night and the hearing will be held at 7 a.m. there are instances in which it was not clear that they could testified by zoom. the week before, it was several days before the final bill was passed. the two provisions were introduced. the one that presents unlimited challenges and the one that removes power from local election boards to decide whose votes are disqualified or not and essentially changes the practice by disempowering the secretary of state and turn it to appointing people to make those decisions over the legislature. this was not done in a way that
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was deliberative or in which there was time for the community to be able to rally and address these provisions. we look at the issue of the challenges, there were challenges. over 300 of them after the 2020 election. none of them were substantiated or very few of them were substantiated. despite the fact there were these multiple challenges. the response to that then is the law did not say how many challenges they could make. the response that now is unlimited challenges? that is obviously counter to the evidence. women think about the people sending in line and getting coke or water from a volunteer? we represent the deltas which is a black woman sorority. they will bring mutual aid to the line.
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in the primary, in the heat, where was the evidence? the onus is on the state to put on the evidence that demonstrates that this is necessary. we know it is burdensome. we know what it means to stand in line in the heat for nine hours. the burden is not on us. the did not attempt to meet the burden. just like justice alito does without identifying the type of fraud, or prevalence or identifying whether this is the least intrusive means of deterring fraud. it is just coming a kind of catch all as a way to ram through these voter suppression methods. in florida, we are also challenging the florida law. this provision that essentially allows for this kind of voter
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intimidation by allowing partisan poll watchers to have free reins, moving about freely within the polling place. in creating a criminal penalty for election officials who do not allow partisan poll watchers within the polling place to see the kinds of things that they want to see. william was talking about the importance of secrecy. we have a bill that goes quite counter to that. they are partisan poll watchers looking over the shoulders and listening in on conversations between voters and election waters. we know what voter intimidation is. this is voter intimidation. where's the evidence that would support that fraud was happening inside the polling place that required this level of free reign of partisan poll watchers? this means we don't enter the polling place. where is the evidence of that? where is the evidence that people giving water to people standing on a line that is 10 blocks long are somehow
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influencing them to vote? i will go a step further. note there is a boundary for electioneering. the georgia law prevents this provision of refreshments within 250 feet of a voter. not the polling place. the voter. that means if they are 10 blocks away online, -- in-line, you cannot give them refreshments because he could be influencing them. i would say you are allowed to. it is not electioneering it is not within the barrier, the 250 foot barrier outside the polling place. you are now just trying to control this communication that may happen. more importantly, or is the evidence that that is happening? where's the evidence of people are treating water for influence? it is insulting black people are the ones subject to the long lines. the answer is to not have the long line. it would be excited if they came together around some sort of provision that would prevent
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people from standing in line for nine hours that would assure that every voter would be able have to vote within 30 minutes or an hour or that adding polling places did not have to stand in line there is expanded early voting to cut down on people sending in line. all of those things make perfect sense. how come there is not provisions to prevent people having to stand in line for nine hours or people being exposed to covid in lines but provisions for something that has not been proven? this nonexistent fraud, even if you want to deter, you have to provide evidence that is necessary and you should have to be held to a standard of demonstrating you have found a least intrusive method of naming that this fraud exists or you're trying to deter it -- deter. >> he talked what evidence and you're perking up all of our lawyers. i tell them we will start taking your questions for the panel. a lightning round before return the questions.
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this is the ada, we have lawyers in the evidence. all of you are involved in voting on a daily basis. others in the legal field are not involved, professionally in these voting issues. my question to you lightning round is that they are not involved but want to be involved, if expertise in a different area of law, would you direct them to find ways to identify to be involved in voting? >> there are some tactical things. serving as a poll worker. being in election official. most of these are volunteer positions or maybe you get paid a small stipend at most. we need people to have the integrity to serve in these roles and represent the public. number two is to be educated. you talked to your neighbors or friends. again, whether we like it or
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not, we hold a privilege in our society. we have all the jokes we talk about but many people still look to us for these types of issues. one thing out focus on is your hearing that we don't see this as a partisan issue. it should not be a partisan issue. it should be about getting more people to vote. if you can do that, you have that idea and you strengthen our democracy because then our government is being voted on by the people. whenever we talk about these voter suppression laws, the greatest threat is that it minimizes democracy it's not about one party against the other getting control, yes, there is an impact in particular communities that is concerning but more fundamentally, it's about making sure every eligible citizen has that right. >> how do we get lawyers involved?
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>> i love this question. thank you. first of all, the american bar association itself in 2020, started a lawyers in the polls programs to get lawyers in their on election day. in chicago, we went further. i would say contact your local bar association as well. chicago bar association was great. we had over 100 lawyers with cars and phones that we can dispatch out to as i say, over 2000 presents in our 50 awards, we have like 500 off duty officers, police offers who are investigators and if a problem does occur in a polling place as we know, need somebody to de-escalate the problem. having a lawyer there was wonderful. some problems, you don't need an investigator. you just need somebody in there who will ease tensions, recite
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law, what the rules are in regards to this or that. it works great. so please, come next election, go to the aba that works on this or your local bar associations and work on election day and in the days before with early voting as well. as she said, talk to your neighbors and friends and explain these issues to them. i went to said anyhow. there is a whole lot of this information going on out there with regards to voting. i think lawyers have to step up and say, no, that is not really a problem. that is not really fraud and let us as a community of lawyers who are sworn and dedicated to uphold this wonderful system of justice under the law and let us all participate in making this system free, fair, and open to
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everyone. >> one minute before we go. how do we get lawyers more involved? >> voting is an issue that everyone should be involved in because it really undergirds our democracy. i agree with john and william about lawyers rejecting disinformation and getting educated. it begins with stop talking about this as a partisan issue. i started talking about the case that there partial successfully litigated, challenging the all white primary. it was the all-white priory -- primary of the democratic party in 1944. i am all the enough to have sued democrats around voting issues. i was on the team that sued bill clinton twice in the 1980's who are the voters they are targeting?
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who are the voters they are targeting? that is how we can't determine what is really happening here it at -- this actually minimizes the threat because people feel like it is both parties. they are kind of fighting against each other. it feels like a fair fight. when we call it what it is, let me call it racial voter suppression. only call it racial discrimination. when the call it what it is and recall the reasons why we needed the voting rights act at all and why it needed to be amended, when we look at what is happening with these cases that we have been describing earlier on the targeting of black voters. we look at who was standing in line, who wrist their lives in milwaukee last year with masks on during the height of the pandemic. you know who it is. stop talking about it in partisan terms and talk about it in terms of democracy. talk about it in terms of racial
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justice and civil rights. whatever are the positive things you can say about america as a place of opportunity and while the, come see courtesy of the sacrifice of civil rights activists and lawyers who challenged the barriers that existed that would shame us today. they are the ones who actually allowed us to live in a place where we feel comfortable calling a democracy. we could not call it a democracy prior to 1955 when all seven of the population was kept from participating in the political process or when we had apartheid in most of the country. these are things that were done that actually makes us all proud and as lawyers, we should feel a responsibility to hold up. i would like to see lawyers not regard this as a partisan issue or something they are separated from. if it means working from the
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polls are doing it pro bono or talking to your clients about their responsible as corporate citizens to address issues of voting and democracy. if it means talking with your firm about which candidate, elected officials and they support. they support candidates who support the big lie and who are themselves engaged in promoting disenfranchisement. wherever you can use your voice and influence, lawyers have a special obligation to speak out on this core issue of democracy. >> thank you. we will hear from those words and the questions. >> hello and thank you for joining us today. it is my pleasure to begin this q&a session for however many minutes a lot of this program. i want to start with an important piece of you. the unique code for this program is on the screen.
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please write this code down and enter it into the code box located under the media player on the session detail page and click submit. once again, the code is on the screen. you must enter this code in order to receive credit for attending this program to an out ticket to the q&a portion of the program. i should note that john, one of our panelists is unable to join us today he is going to regret it, but he is got some important travel to make it to an important meeting. i suspect i know at that meeting is and i feel his demands since i myself missed a connecting flight and missed a meeting with latino leaders with the president yesterday. we will continue with our
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illustrious panel. there are number of good questions from those in attendance. let me start with this one and i will turn to you bill, i know you have an example of how an important contribution has been made. thanks to the commission of crf j and other sponsoring the analysts, in addition to its programming and projects, how do you think the ada can -- aba can address voting rights? >> thank you and as you point out. i just want to point out the passing of a very important attorney, ab eight member on sunday. that was charles, charlie brown. he was a member of the standing committee on election law for many years. he was a special advisor to the committee and most recently, was appointed by the senior lawyers
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division to be the liaison to the standing committee he spent over a decade practicing disability rights law with an emphasis on voting rights. primarily, representing the national federation of the blind and also administrating the federation's help american vote act programs. it began -- he began his legal career in the department of labors and -- labor and solicitor's office. he became a special counsel and the designated ethics official for the national science foundation. he was a zealous advocate for voting rights. he will be dearly missed by many , especially here in the aba. that said, the aba has a number of committees and commissions that work on these important issues one is the standing committee on election law.
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and the advisory committee to this committee. bipartisan committees that work on things such as a resolution going before the house of delegates. that has some guidelines for election at this ration going forward. the aba can be a great clearinghouse of information on elections and in making them again fair, free, and open, we can discuss things here and we can put out ideas on this. i think the aba is a great advocate for positive reform and changes in the way we administer elections in this country. >> you have been involved with the aba for many years. like me, i know you're both a fan and a credit sometimes. what do you think? what is the best thing they can
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do beyond programs like this to support voting rights? >> i think of the aba as the gold standard organization of the finest lawyers in the country. i think of lawyers as playing a clinical -- critical role in upholding while what a is essential to upholding democracy. that means apart from any individual case, in my view, lawyers have an obligation to stand at the front of the line and explain to the american public, the importance of free and fair election to our democracy. i think what i have been missing is an understanding of the power and voice of the aba to claim this space as a critical democratic and important issue. instead, a kind of acquiescent to the idea that there are two
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sides to voter suppression. there are two sides to keeping eligible citizens from being able to participate in the political process. all of this can be explained by bipartisanship and you have to stay out of it. i run a nonpartisan organization myself. i started my career, as i've said as a voting rights attorney in 1988. i have done this for quite some time. i can say that partisanship is not what drives the kind of voter suppression that we work on. it is a stain on our democracy when laws are passed and practices are adopted the full knowledge that these practices will inhibit the abilities of people of color, native americans, and black voters to dissipate in the ploeger process. the aba should have something to say about that. separate in part from any
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committee or particular action. allowing this rhetoric to unfold that has put so much of this voting conversation into a partisan basket, i think has been a great the service to our democracy. i would like the aba and the lawyers in it to commit themselves to having clarity about the rule of a and the relationship between free and fair elections in our democracy. >> if i can make a pitch for something else while we are out it -- at it, is huge organization of lawyers, the aba last year at a program called poll worker esquire. we had other programs to get lawyers working on elections in the polling places here in chicago. our bar association worked with us to get lawyers out in the field on election day. i tell you, there is nothing as
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viable as the experience of seeing how the elections work on election day or during early voting and getting them in there. it is a great experience. i think it is a duty for every lawyer in this democracy to get out there and see how this process works so they can voice and advocate from a place of knowledge. >> to amplify that message, i think it is critically important that all aba members recognize that the rule of law in the u.s. is the rule of democratically adopted law. that law is undermining its legitimate -- legitimacy and that they believe that elections are not free and fair for all eligible voters. we centralize the rule of in this country that means centralizing the rule of voting rights and what the ada and all
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they choose to engage on. the next question is from my good friend and longtime aba leader. his question is about activism for voting rights the impact today and in the past. just some background, i think what you were alluding to of course is we have these federal proposals that started. he talked about in the panel but obviously, they currently don't seem to be going anywhere. that is because of the filibuster and the danger of filibustering in the senate. i guess the question is we know the history of activism but feel free to talk about that. what can move this legislation forward at this point in time? i will start with you.
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>> the role of activism cannot be overstated. it is powerful and important. we represented the selmont marchers in 1965 it was our then director council sitting in that hotel room with john lewis and hosea williams plan out the details of the march and the march plant that would be presented to the judge in the hopes that the march could be successfully concluded, which it was. we take this very seriously. we think the mobilization that we have been seeing and we certainly saw it last year of voters is powerful and important. we knew paul watching on the ground every year, not just in high-profile election years to make sure to make sure they are free and fair what we saw last year was incredibly alarming in terms of voter intimidation and
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the other activities we saw with our own eyes. we think mobilization and active -- activism is important. the problem is the voting suppression laws currently being enacted. the provisions of those laws are designed to undercut and they are in response precisely to the mobilization that happens last year if you look for example at the georgia suppression laws, we made the creation of the lot from the very beginning. testified several times and in less than a week before it was enacted, to provisions were added. one that would allow for unlimited challenges for the legitimacy of voters. this is to empower individuals or any individuals who wish to challenge their were no
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substantial outcomes demonstrate that people ineligible were voting the response of that was not to say that's good news. the response to that was now we are going to let any individual have an unlimited right to challenge as many votes as they want. the other provision was under the wire of the bill and it mirrors the power from local election boards and from the secretary of state to be able to decide which votes will be described -- disqualified and which will not. this power is now in the hands of the legislature who will be appointing the folks making those determinations. that means no matter how much activism, no matter how much people mobilize our what the vote count is, there is a failsafe and that law that is designed to give the power to be able to overturn the election results if they are not the
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results that the legislature likes. this hyperbole, this is what we saw. we had to be honest about what we saw last november. we saw an effort to overthrow the results of elections. we saw this at the highest level of governance. i think mobilization activism is important but we need legislation that will protect against the kinds of pernicious voters suppression laws passed. unit people ready to vote, stand in line for nine hours, but now they can't get water or food . we have got to have the legislation. we also have to have the mobilization and activism to dramatize the importance and centrality of voting to the faux citizenship of people who have been fighting forkful citizenship for hundreds of years in this country -- for
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full citizenship. >> as for particular pieces of legislation, i as an elected official, i have been advised not to comment on it and not pending pieces of legislation. i want to point out a couple of things. the senate bills, or those bill -- no, i don't know. here in chicago, there is an organization called the uniform law commission. they gave us such things as the uniform commercial code that every law student comes familiar with. they write now have a study committee to study the idea to study a uniform election code. i think there are, as i said earlier, there are creative ways to look at these things. i guess being in official, i try
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to shy away from direct confrontation and work things out to other measures. there is the proposal before the house of delegates meeting next week with some suggested guidelines for election administration. these are things we can use, tools to make sure, and sure that the election process is fair, free and open. i am just saying. regardless of what might happen to any particular piece of legislation, let not your heart be bothered. there are many other approaches we can take to make sure our democracy is maintained. >> i think that is critically important for us all. the last question and i apologize that time has run out to get your question, folks. it's one of the great ironies
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the georgia law and the provision you described. about taking power away from officials. legislation designed ostensibly to target fraud and therefore, increase confidence in election integrity and it's actually undermining by playing into this agenda. coming out of last year's agenda -- election and changing the agenda, newly cast votes will, you talked about the uniform election code. the other thing is undermining some of the confidence in election integrity. we have vastly different experiences from state to state. he relocated a few miles and your experience as a voter may change dramatically. in the last two minutes, very quickly, what is the one thing you would have us do to increase
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public confidence in election integrity coming out of the experience of last year? >> i mentioned this earlier. there are studies right before the election. 40% did not trust election system to some extent. that is a dangerous number. if they get higher, we have a problem. one of the greater things that academics have worked on from m.i.t. and southern cal and caltech, etc. is this idea of the risk limiting audits. one of the things i like is the idea that -- recent studies show that there is good or confidence in the system if they feel that the elections have been audited. i go to this idea of information
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symmetry. if voters feel confident in the numbers given to them, the ultimate result reports. if they feel confident that the controls that have been working efficiently, that would enhance it more and take away the argument that there is massive vote fraud out there if the elections are audited by independent, outside experts that have been certified for election auditing. i think that would be a great key to bringing down this fear of election fraud that may not exist. >> your final words about -- the one thing we can do the aftermath of last year to improve public confidence in election integrity? >> i love that idea. even as we speak, the word audit is being discredited by save
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audits that are popping up around the country. it leads to my concern. i really believe that the leadership in this country must become united around the idea that voting is not to be thrown into the cauldron of cauldron -- politics. between a national, uniform system of managing our elections. it is not states rights to decide that you want to advocate for system that is proven and has raggedy and provides confidence. to me, that will happen when the business leaders of this country, legal leadership of this country, when the political ship of this country, however many are willing to join our prepared to decide that they want to link on and work
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together to provide the legislation and codes to support the development and expertise as a science that it is necessary for us to have a world-class education system as well. until we get there, i don't think there will be change. it will be thrown into the same flesh tearing debate that we are having about almost everything in this country. i think the narrative and collective and very public support of the narrative of voting and the willingness to put our muscle behind it. this needs to stop being a niche issue. need to stop being our issues. if you are a leader of this country, you benefit from democracy and we need everybody to stand up for it.
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>> i will say that i would like us to start with a bipartisan and unified way, celebrating the unprecedented turnout in the election. it is a shame in an action that should be celebrated and it instead becomes harder for this ongoing battle. of whether there was no credible evidence in that election with high participation. i want to think our panels. thank you for staying with us through q&a and everyone else. thank you for your responsibilities and these organizations. i want to think our viewers are being tenants and i want to and once more of the unique code for this program.
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with that, we look forward to engaging in a continuing discussion on these critical issues of democracy and the rule of law. >> testimony of the voting rights act before a subcommittee. kristin clark along with civil rights leaders and law professors will testify. monday at 10 a.m. eastern. online on or you can listen on the free c-span radio app. ♪ >> your opinion matters. let your voices be heard what the competition. be part of the national conversation by making a documented that answers the question of how.
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democracy. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> senator tammy duckworth, a member of the foreign relations committee spoke about her recent trip to the indo pacific and the role they play in national security this was hosted by the strategic house of national studies. >> good morning and thank you for joining us. and beverly kirk, -- i am beverly kirk. we are very pleased this morning to welcome illinois senator, tammy duckworth 48 conversation on national security policy in the indo pacific she recently visited earlier this summer and we are excited to hear what she has to say about what she found in the region. she is an iraq war veteran, purple heart recipient and former secretary assistant of the veterans affairs.


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