tv President Trump Criticizes States for Not Turning Over Voter Data CSPAN July 19, 2017 8:21pm-9:25pm EDT
on capitol hill. and california democratic congressman jimmy panetta talks about the newly created democratic caucus national security task force. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday morning. join the discussion. >> the presidential advisory commission on election integrity held its first meeting with vice president mike pence chairing the meeting. before he gambled income other president spoke briefly. this is just over two hours. >> ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states.
>> good morning. please be seated. on behalf of the first family, welcome to the white house. and welcome to the inaugural meeting of the presidential on electionmission integrity of the area of just over two months ago, may 11, president trump signed an executive order to create a fairssion to help promote and honest federal elections, the foundation of our democracy. toction integrity matters every american. calvin coolidge reminded us that the whole system of american government rests on the ballot box. president reagan declared that the right to vote was the crown jewel of american liberties. by establishing this commission, president trump is taking action to ensure the ballot box remains inviolate and that the crown jewel shines brighter than ever before.
at the president's direction, i will have the honor to service chairman of this commission and it is a privilege to convene this first meeting today. president trump knows that this transitions party lines and this committee has brought together a distinguished up a bipartisan officials at the federal, state and local level. this bipartisan group will perform a truly nonpartisan service to the american people. toould especially like recognize our vice chairman, you you will hear more from after the president' us remarks, a man whose long service has established him -- the president's remarks come a man whose service has established him. president trump knows that the principle of one person, one vote is foundational to the american system of democracy. this commission has been charged
to study the registration and voting process as used in federal elections. the commission will identify the rules, laws, activities and practices that will enhance the american people's confidence and integrity in the electoral system. we will explore the vulnerabilities in our system that could lead to improper voter registration and even improper voting. bes commission, let me clear, this commission has no preconceived notions or preordained results. we are factfinders. and in the days ahead, we will gather the relevant tax and data . and at the conclusion of our work, we will present the president a report of our findings. i'm confident this commission will have a healthy and robust debate. the president and i expect -- the lap -- anything president and i expect nothing less. i am pleased to report the commission has already started its work, requesting publicly available data.
we are grateful for the more than 30 states that have already indicated their intention to provide this in -- this information pursuant to the laws in their states. today is the first of several meetings in several months. of you brings a unique perspective based on your experience and your research and we welcome your participation and your insight. to note that are commission includes five current and former secretaries of state. secretary cobo can i look forward to working with each of you to foster collaborative and respectful relationship for years -- relationship. as the committee begins its work, i would like to personally invite the american people to offer their public comments and input on our work, and the challenges and opportunities that face our electoral system can we want to hear the voice of the mac and voter. that's really what this is all -- voice of the american voter.
that's really what this is all about. this is a president who care so deeply about the integrity of america's elections and the right of each and every american to see the sanctity of their vote protect it. knows that the success of our democracy depends on the american people's confidence in this electoral system. and the president and i are both confident that this bipartisan commission will make the strongest democracy in the history of the world even stronger. with gratitude
for his commitment to fair and honest elections, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to all of you the 45th president of the united states of america, president donald trump. >> thank you very much. please, be seated. mr. vice president, distinguished guests and members
of the media, i'm honored to welcome you here today as the bipartisan presidential advisory commission on election integrity prepares to conduct its first official meeting. very, very important. this commission is tasked with the sacred duty of upholding the integrity of the ballot box, and the principle of one city sin/one vote. every time -- one citizen/one vote. any form of a illegal or fraudulent voting, whether by deceased, inr the any for -- and any form of voter or intimidation must be stopped. i am pleased that 30 states have already agreed to share information with the commission, and the other states that information will be forthcoming.
if any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they are worried about. and i asked the vice president and the commission what are they worried about? there is something. there always is. this issue is very important to me because, throughout the campaign, and even after, people would, to me and expressed their concerns about voter inconsistencies and saw.ularities, which they in some cases, having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states. all public officials have a profound responsibility to protect the integrity of the vote. we have no choice. we want to make america great again? we have to protect the integrity of the vote and our voters. this is not a democrat or republican issue. it is an american issue.
it is about the concern of so many americans that improper vote is taking place and canceling out the votes of lawful american citizens. that is why president theodore roosevelt once said it is the affair of every honest voter, wherever born, to see that no fraudulent voting is allowed anywhere. i want to thank vice president pence for chairing the commission. i also want to thank kansas secretary of state brisco bok -- kobach first serving as vice chair. this is a bipartisan panel consisting of republican and democratic leaders and experts on voter integrity. i would like to personally thank each of our panel members for serving. really do appreciate it.
in addition to the chair and vice chair, this distinguished bipartisan panel includes indiana secretary of state conny , newon -- connie lawson hampshire secretary of state you, mainer, thank secretary of state matthew dunlop, former ohio secretary of blackwell, election assistance commission or formere mccormick, arkansas state representative david dunn, thank you, david, wood county, west virginia clerk , heritage foundation senior legal fellow and manager of the election law reform ,nitiative, a real expert hansots perkowski --
perkowski. and alan king. think you very much. each of you has been entrusted with a great responsibility of helping to advance the cause of fair, honest and lawful elections. your work will help protect our democracy. this will be a very transparent process. it will be very open for everybody to see. you will approach this important task with a very open mind and with no conclusions already drawn. you will fairly and objectively follow the facts wherever they may lead. i look forward to the findings and recommendations your report will produce. as soonare your report as i can and as soon as possible with the american people, so the full truth will be known and
exposed if necessary in the light of day. we call on every state to give us full support and total cooperation in this effort. most of them have really done brilliantly and we appreciate it. and the rest, all of that information will be forthcoming. thank you very much, mr. vice president. and
chris, thank you. panel, thank you very much. we appreciate it. do a great job. [applause] >> thank you very much, mr. president. with that, ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to call the first meeting of the presidential advisory commission on election integrity to order. [gavel]
our first order of business is to recognize each of our members and to make introductions and refer marks. -- and brief remarks. i would like to start with a few comments of my own in addition to the comments i made from the podium. first and foremost, let me commend each one of you for stepping forward to serve your country in this capacity. as you heard from the president, and from he earlier, we are truly grateful for your willingness to step forward. this is a bipartisan group that will perform a nonpartisan service to the american people. executive -- our goal, as the executive order asserts, is to help promote free and honest federal elections. our charge is to study the registration and voting process is used in federal elections. earlier, andtioned our charge is to expose vulnerabilities in the system that could lead to improper
voting registration and improper voting. let me reiterate the point i made earlier, now that we are on the record. we have no preconceived notions or preordained results. where thes to go facts lead and provide the president and the american people with a report that can be used to strengthen the american people's confidence in our electoral system. and as you heard the president -- and as you heard, the president looks forward to what we accomplish, and so do i. i look forward very much to hearing from each and everyone you.that president and i have a meeting scheduled soon after this with a number of senators. so my hope is that i will be able to hear from each and excusingof you before myself to hear from members of the united states senate on another matter. i'm very grateful that you are here. we would like to ask that you limit your opening remarks to five minutes or less.there is a
timer in the back . on thenow we can go honor system here with each one of you. and we appreciate your sensitivity. i would like to start by recognizing our distinct vice chair, the kansas secretary of state chris co. bok -- chris koboch. you are recognized with the gratitude of this administration for your opening remarks. >> it is a great honor to serve as the vice chair of this commission. most importantly, to share the information after the report is made to their president, to share it with the american public. this is a mission of the highest order.
i have often thought that, at the very foundation of our republic, are really two bedrock things, the american constitution and the faith and reality that our elections are conducted fairly. if you take away either of those two things, i believe that our republic cannot stand for long. so for a long time, there has been lingering doubt among many america are -- americans about the integrity and fairness of elections. it is not a new issue at all. if you look at polling data, it goes back decades. public opinion has been consistent and there is a substantial number of people who wonder whether our elections are. 2013 survey- a indicated that 60% did not think so or were undecided. we only to the american people a hard, dispassionate look at the subject. through our history, there have
been episodes we may have learned of in school or in college of voter fraud. those may have received a great deal of attention. and individual states from time to time may have investigated specific allegations of voter fraud or have done some specific investigation of voter fraud. for example, in my state of kansas, we are engaged in litigation right now litigating our proof of citizenship. it discovered 128 specific cases of noncitizens who either registered to vote or tended to register to vote. one expert estimated that the number could be in excess of 18,000 on our voter rolls. but there has never been a nationwide and no -- nationwide effort to do this. will have then ability to find answers to questions that have never been fully answered before, and to conduct research that has never been conducted before. and that research will be
buried. we respect the voters privacy and will not identify individual voters, but we will lay a factual findings and systematic problems that we can identify in our electoral systems. those results, whatever they are, will be made public for their own conclusions from. in 2013, president obama established a presidential election commission and analyzed a problem reported in several states in the 2012 election, which was long lines at polling stations. when someone goes to a polling place and sees a line two blocks on, that person may decide that it is not worth it for me to stand in line and will drive home. past mayions in the have been stolen. there is a chance that here she may decide that his vote is not likely to count or will be counterbalanced by the fraud and therefore decide not to vote in the case. these are both problems worthy
of investigation and worthy of a presidential commission. in kansas, for the last 11 years, we hosted the interstate crosscheck system, in which 30 states participate. we annually compare our voter rolls to each other and find millions of people that are probable double registrations, where the same person is registered in more than one state. with that information, the participating states can begin the process of keeping their voter rolls accurate and up-to-date. the steak and then contact the voters in question and, with the voters consent, remove them from the rolls from the state where he no longer resides. the program also develop sleeves, where it appears the person may have voted twice in the same election in two different jurisdictions. this program hosted by kansas and in 30 states illustrates how a successful multistate african be in enhancing the integrity of your elections in keeping our voter rolls accurate.
i'm confident that this commission will be equally successful on the national leaven. -- national level. the talent and expertise of my fellow members on the commission is truly impressive. thank you all for giving your time and your energy to this endeavor. i am really looking forward to beginning our work together. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary for your opening remarks and for your leadership on this commission. we look very much to working with you. i would like to recognize connie lawson for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. vice president. it really and truly is an honor for me to join the commission today. i want to thank president trump for the chance to serve in this capacity.i am connie lawson, the indiana secretary of state. i also serve as president of the bipartisan national association of secretaries of state. and in that role, i cochair the
force.ns agreed task my background is uniquely situated to the issue of voting processes and election administration. i served on the local level to terms as the hendricks county clare, overseeing, after the 2011, the beginning of a mentor electronic voting and modernization of voting machines. i was very involved in the association becoming president well.gislative chair as following my time in local office, i served 16 years as senator during that time, the entire 16 years, i was a member of the senate elections committee. i did become the majority for later in the indiana senate, i think as a result and my respect in that work. in 2012, a vacancy arose in the secretary of state position and i was elected to a full term 2014.
it is an honor to be here with my distinguished fellow commissioners to discuss issues related to voting systems and processes around the country. with statewide elections in new jersey and virginia this year, and many more contests the following 2018, there is no better time to analyze how we can improve voter confidence and participation. it is important to create an accurate understanding of the 2016 cycle. i believe it is even more important for us to be discussing what lies ahead. this body has a great opportunity to outline constructive priorities as we begin our work. i would submit that one of the most important goals we have is improving the partnership between federal and state authorities for -- where concerned.sues are for instance, i and other secretaries have been frustrated by attempts to communicate with the federal department of homeland security in the wake of their decision to designate election systems as critical infrastructure. butsituation is improving,
it doesn't help when i am still discovering facts about this decision through the media, rather than from the decision-makers. i am hopeful we can address this issue going forward. while i was state senator, significant updates were made to federal and state election law. among those was the help america vote act passed in 20 -- in 2002.it was passed to improve voter access in response to the 2000 election. this legislation created the ,lection assistance commission voting equipment, statewide voter databases, among other things. a crucial point is that they standards were developed in a bipartisan cooperative manner, seeking input from multiple stakeholders in order to find points of agreement. it is my hope that this commission will offer even a workar manner as we get to on behalf of, our state, and the american people -- our states, and the american people.
thank you. secretaryou, madam the chair recognizes the former secretary of state for the great state of ohio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i am honored to be a member of this commission. i want to thank you, vice president pence, for your leadership in this endeavor and express my gratitude to all of my colleagues for their willingness to undertake this important work. task ismission and its thedentify every threat to integrity of the electoral process, both foreign and domestic. we are to serve the american people by enumerating the vulnerabilities of our electoral system and recommending countermeasures to protect the voting rights of the american people, as guaranteed by the constitution. i would like to offer into the record my work of constitutional law on this issue.
i co-authored this work with a respected constitutional attorney from indiana. [laughter] and our law review article is entitled "the other voting right , protecting every citizen's vote by safeguarding the integrity of the ballot box," published by the yale law and policy review. one way to articulate the right to vote secured by the constitution is that every properly registered adult has the right to an undiluted vote. each elector has the right to a vote that carries its full weight and that, when it is tallied, has its maximum proper affect to give that citizen a full voice in determining who among us will be entrusted with the powers of government for a term of office. as we explain in our article,
this really means the constitution secures two voting rights. the first is the one we talk about most often, the franchise, the right to cast a ballot on election day.most voting laws come that abuse is rooted in the past that denied americans access to the voting booth. but there is a second right that accompanies the right to cast a ballot. and that is the right of citizens, a citizens legal ballot not being deluded or canceled by anyone else is illegal activities.that activity could be voter fraud by casting a ballot in more than one precinct or state. it could be noncitizen voting, whether that noncitizen is a legal alien or ill legal alien, if they are not citizen.
then their ballot dilutes the vote of american citizens. the illegal activity could be voter intimidation or voter registration fraud, or it could be foreign interference in our elections, whether from russia, china, north korea, iran, or any other foreign power. this other voting right is a fundamental constitutional right against any such dilution or cancellation. commission's work and aromatic from the president of the united states to identify these threats and safeguard against them. another topic explored in our article is that voting is perhaps the only fundamental right, secured by the constitution, that is also a citizen's duty. we all have the right to the free exercise of religion or to
keep and bear arms, for example. but our form of government does not impose them upon us as duties. but when it comes to voting, the constitution enables election officials to presume that publicly experienced citizens with due concern for the course of the state and national policy would be willing to satisfy reasonable regulation, and should -- and shoulder incidental burdens in the fulfillment of their civic duty. is the state of ohio jurisdiction of the u.s. court of appeals for the six -- for the sixth circuit. on thate judges bench is alex batchelder. wrote citizenshe cannot demand as constitution and title meant an environment
-- entitlement environment in effortless.uty is to the contrary, he added that the constitution allows for the possibility that citizens should be expected to overcome minimal obstacles when voting. every patriotic citizen who is a qualified elect her has a solemn duty -- elector has a solemn casting a thoughtful, informed and deliver it ballot on election day. we are self-governing people. the machinery of democracy on election day is the cornerstone of how we govern ourselves. this commission's duty is to catalog every threat to that machinery and determine how to thwart each thread, and thereby safeguard the integrity of the , andt box -- each threat thereby safeguard the integrity
of the ballot box. mr. chairman, i request that my remarks be made a part of the record. your law review article and your extended remarks are submitted to the record without objection. thank you, mr. secretary, for remarks.ing i would like to recognize the secretary of state of maine for five minutes. >> thank you mr. vice president. i apologize i do not have any so i will tryks, to keep it within the 45-minute allotment. [laughter] is -- weience in maine are truly blessed to have the commitment of truly devoted and dedicated people across the state in 503 towns and 425 unorganized territories in the state of maine. from fort kent to kittery to
ease part, the people that i work with in elections, i am the chief elections officer for the state of maine, but the actual election is run by the local town officials who put an extra in her amount of effort to make can that their neighbors freely and fairly exercise their constitutional franchise of democratic self-governance. we owe them a great deal. we have a great deal to be proud of. we do quick questions from time to time about something that happens in election. you get a few hundred allegations about possible double voting because our clerks work. leslie with each other and communicate with each other, typically when someone requests an absentee ballot and may forget about it and then they show up at the polls and we did i'm pretty quickly that they only cast one ballot and the question is answered. but accountability is important here. the purpose of this commission is to bolster and instill confidence in the electoral process that belongs to the american people. i hope that come in those
considerations, one thing we focus on is what works well.what do we do right ? i listened very closely to the remarks of the president. but no one who has spoken has questioned the legitimacy of the outcome of the 2016 election. i think that is a great place to start from. what are the balance point between security and access? i think anything we do to answer those questions, to reassure people that there are no goblins under the bed, and if there are, we deal with them in a way that thealanced toward access of voting public to participate in their government. this is not ours. it belongs to them. as we move forward, the one thing that i want to focus on and i tell our closeness when we do our trainings every year, is that this is a process that does not belong to us. it belongs to the voters.and everything that we do, we do with devotion to ensure the voters have their voice heard,
and that the ballots that are cast are done without question, and that the government that is installed to represent those people ask on their behalf with the confidence of the public. i want to be sure that we answer those questions and that we move forward as a group with that same level of confidence. . i will be very pleased to be a part of this so thank you. secretary, andr. thank you for those very were --ul words without without notes and with great brevity. [laughter] privilege to is my recognize the longest serving secretary of state in american history, new hampshire's secretary of state bill gardner. you are recognized for five minutes. thank you, mr. chairman, vice chairman. i look forward to the work we have ahead. after our federal constitution was ratified, a person asked
george washington this question -- what is the most important forg that a person can do his country? in washington answer that in viewsords -- express your beyond yourself. when i first became aware of that, i took it to mean everyone's voice mattered, be willing to share your views, have dialogue with others, and let others share their views with you, for it will strengthen our country. it can also be applied to voting, where we collectively express our views beyond ourselves by way of the ballot box. get to dore often we that, the more we fulfill the will of our first president. i would like more americans to fewer.ot for over a half-century, since the civil rights era the 1960's, our federal government and the
states have been trying to find more and more ways to make it easier to vote. but when state tried to balance that ease of voting with measures to increase voting integrity, it is often met with hostile resistance and charges of suppression. i will respect the fact that this -- the facts that this commission receives. but it has been my belief over many years of administering elections that we will see an increase in voter turnout only when ease of voting is balanced with security and integrity. making voting easier by itself does not result in higher turnout, as we have seen in our recent elections. polls conducted before the last residential election found over half the country believes there is voter fraud. and polls after the election show a declining level of
confidence in the balloting. during this century, there has been three commissions previous to this one. they spent time continuing the question was to make voting easier. in my opinion, we need to first understand why turnout has not increased as a result. one of the previous commissions recommended states adopt photo id requirements for voting. that commission was severely criticized for doing so. we also need to compare states that have voter id laws with those without. i might add that the two highest states in turnout during the presidential primaries last year were both photo id states. why is it important for the public to have confidence in their elections? the reason is contrary to common belief. one vote does matter.
i have conducted nearly 500 recounts. all done by hand, counting paper ballots in a public process, including statewide congressional and various smaller district greases. 11 -- district races. 11 of those recounts have ended in a tie. 32 were decided by one vote. and a total of 202 by less than 10 votes. and while serving as a state representative back in the 1970's, my state had a u.s. senate race that was decided by two votes. the u.s. senate after that tried to do a recount of that race and gave up after trying for five months. i am a witness that every vote matters. and it does it need to be -- and there doesn't need to be massive
voter fraud to sway the outcome. these are the experiences i will bring to this commission. and i will work with all of you, endeavoring to let the facts we receive speak for themselves. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. thank you for those words and for your long service to the people of your state. the chair and i recognize alan king from jefferson county, alabama. >> it is a pleasure to serve on this committee. i appreciate the invitation. i am alan king i am the presiding probate judge in jefferson county, alabama, the largest county in the state of alabama. residentsughly 6060 -- 660,000 residents. we have two probate judges in jefferson county. i was elected in 2002 replace
judge.bate i have a law degree. i am a former president of the probate judges association. an alabama, probate judges are the official election -- i've been the chief elections official for 39 major elections as the presiding probate judge. on august 15 of this year, we will have a special election to fill the u.s. senate seat vacated by attorney -- now attorney general jeff sessions. i have certification through the elections center, which is the premier or one of the premier election training organizations in the united states. i am involved in
elections, have been involved in elections for 16 and a half years. i bring a wealth of experience level.county so to speak, i have had boots on the ground in every aspect of -- i would consider myself to be an election expert. i am a memberons of it is been my pleasure to meet other of election officials on a national level. i have talked extensively with men and women for the past few years. feel inclined, since i am the chief election official for jefferson county, alabama, to say that in the 16 years of my probate judge position, i have not seen evidence of voter fraud in jefferson county. 2014 one situation in where it was a father and son have the same name.
, iy became aware of that submitted this information to our district attorney and the district attorney chose not to pursue any charges against the father or son. the executive order that created to voterission refers confidence and voter processes. again, since i am a county official, i feel inclined to say one of the most massive problems facing this nation in the years to come is technology. thes the technology of voting machines. the legaln it in profession from discovery and cases that come before me in court.
i am in court virtually all day, everyday. bottom line, technology is moving so fast that technology is not able to keep up with the legal profession. my wife is an elementary school librarian now meeting with specialists. she is not able, educators cannot keep up with technology. i would venture to say, mr. vice we have a huge challenge in this nation with keeping up with the voting machine technology. congress had as. vote act, had funding filtered down to the states and to each county. from a countywide standpoint, these voting machines are outdated. there is no money there. counties do not have money, states do not have money. we need money. thankfully, four years ago i got on top of this issue and was
able to convince county commissioners to fund the next generation of voter -- voting machines in jefferson county. we did that in the 2016 election to the tune of $3.1 million. but not every county or state can do that. it is my hope that will be an issue we will discuss. we can discuss a lot of things about voting. but unless we have the technology, unless the technology is keeping up with voting, we are not using our time wisely, in my opinion. i hope that is an issue we will get into. i hope it is an issue we will discuss freely. i hope that is a recommendation this commission makes to vice president pence, to you, and to president trump. thank you for the opportunity to serve on this commission. mr. pence: thank you, judge king
for bringing your extraordinary experience to the county level, and those awful opening remarks today. we look forward to working with you, very much. membere mccormick, also of the election commission. mccormick: i'm for -- i am looking forward to participating in the mission of this commission. i used to be an assistant voting registrar in connecticut. i have worked in several capacities, including eight years in the department of justice civil rights division voting section, litigating our voting statutes, including the voting rights act and others. i was detailed to baghdad for a year as the department of -- under the department
of justice. another, dedicated to making election administration better across our country. i have worked directly with state and local election officials from every state and territory. i see my role on this commission as representing a wide range of election officials. i have also interfaced with voting vendors and organizations. i will always take concerns and interests into consideration. our constitution provides our state have the responsibility to run our election. i fully support this provision. i also believe our federal government does have an interest in federal elections being fair and secure from outside and improper influences. our nation as a whole should be dedicated to ensure the survival representative democracy. over the last year, we have
heard our election system is in danger. it is appropriate to examine any dangers or threats to our system, the integrity and fairness of our system. we need to ensure every american citizen available to vote may do so freely and privately and that his or her vote is not diluted by improper influence. we need to ensure people who are eligible are not disenfranchised. our voters are confident system produces accurate and expeditious results. i would like to see these -- this commission look at the sequester. how to keep those ineligible and acting in bad faith off of our voting systems. how we address the management of voting registration systems and inaccurate lists. i applaud the hard work of administrators across this country. believe me, they have a hard and complex job. i have also done election observation and have yet to see
of fully accurate voting list in any polling place across the country. i have seen firsthand, irregularities in the polling place and offices. what causes a lack of voter participation and confidence in our system, and what actions we should consider that would boost participation and confidence in the voters' experience. voting,ating improper and are those methods sufficient , and what methods defer suppression, and are those methods working? to theire world looks united states as a model for representative democracy and free, fair elections. as a nation, we was -- we must review our voting system and stay vigilant to our precious right to elect our leaders.
i look forward to working with members of this commission. i expect full transparency, courteous discussion, and professional respect. i appreciate, in spite of media reports, that the commission has no preconceived result, that we are not afraid of the facts leading up to the truth, whatever that looks like, and that any conclusions or recommendations will be based on these truthss -- truths. thank you to the president and vice president for allowing me to participate. it is an honor to serve my country. thank you. mr. pence: commissioner mccormick, thank you for those good words and bringing your vast experience in elections, at home and abroad. grateful to have you. the chair now recognizes j christian adams from virginia. mr. adams: thank you. i would like to thank president
trump for initiating this long overdue effort. i would like to thank the other members for their willingness to examine the integrity of our electoral systems and to seek the truth about vulnerabilities in these systems and contemplate ways to improve the process. most americans value truth and value election systems deserving of our faith. it has been said that truth and lightens our intelligence and helps shape our freedom. clean elections protect our freedom. elections tainted by fraud disrupt the consent of the government. i believe all the commissioners are dedicated to an inquisitive and robust search for the data and truth about vulnerabilities in our elections and ways to improve the system. there are areas of serious concern. example, the recurring indications individuals are getting registered to vote, even though they are marking the voter registration forms "no,"
to the question "are you a united states citizen?" once again, they are marking that they are not american citizens but are still getting registered to vote. what fair-minded american could support this? what serious, inquisitive american would not ask "how often does this happen, how can we improve the system?" plenty would rather see these questions not be asked. the truth is more important. but these individuals do not want the questions asked, and that is the wrong approach. americans have never assumed we could not accomplish the mission or improve how things work. there are ways to examine and reach the truth about our elections without harming a single legitimate voter registration. i am sure the members of the commission will do their best, as i will, to improve our election system. for the first time, we have the tools, the will, and the support
of the majority of the american people who are concerned with voter fraud. we document the vulnerabilities and suggest improvements. i am excited to help, thank you for this effort. mr. pence: thank you, mr. adams, we are grateful to have you on the commission. the chair recognizes the clerk of the wood county, west virginia, mark rhodes, for five minutes. des: thank you for permitting me to be on this commission. it is an honor. as county clerk's am in charge of the elections. we are aboutgs here happened to me. working in our department in wood county in 1997. if you check my voting registration for the year 2000 you will find it is under a provisional ballot. it said i was deceased. systemwe had a statewide
we had to do monthly updates. it was not working properly. i ran aest and never -- test and never revived myself. [laughter] mr. bellinger: mr. rhodes: -- mr. rhodes: i went over to janice, a coworker, who said i was not in the book. i appeared at a county commission meeting and they said, yes, you were alive. there are things that do happen. sure everyto make cast ballot counts. in 2014, when i ran for my first wontion as county clerk, i the votes that were cast. we need to have a fair play in honest elections, and there is to be no doubt that my win is
the win. there should be no speculation. i want to make sure we have good fair, clean, honest elections. thank you for permitting me to serve. mr. pence: thank you, clerk rhodes. we are glad to have your experience. and glad to see you're doing well. [laughter] we recognize the chair of arkansas. >> i want to thank president for allowing me to serve. i am humbled and honored to -- for this opportunity to serve my country. having grown up in the delta in a political family, one of the most economically depressed areas in our country, i know how important the democratic process is. a called into question the integrity of this process, undermines the democratic system. we were asked to prevent -- present thoughts to this commission. from myer to learn
fellow commissioners. inet for the first time today. i look forward to meeting with everyone on how to tackle these complex issues. inis my desire that we look -- at a myriad of issues to determine if there are problems involving election integrity. we should look at how the systems are currently working and what resources are support they have and what bite -- what might be needed to improve their accuracy. whether it is increasing training in poll workers, increasing communication between the states and counties, updated machines, providing funds. i hope this commission will look at all the possibilities to hate -- to help the state. second, i hope this commission will ensure the privacy of the american voting public.
[indiscernible] data ore any information collected by us or the state should be held in our trust and safeguarded for many political misuse. finally, i hope the activity of this bipartisan commission are completely transparent and public. is important our work be conducted with the highest level of integrity so a variety of views can be expressed and considered. thank you for putting together this commission. i look forward to ensuring with each of you that voters know they will not be unlawfully havefranchised, and can confidence in the integrity of our elections. mr. pence: thank you, for thoseer dunn thoughtful words and admonitions. we value them and identify greatly with what you said. grateful to have you here.
lastly, let me let the chair recognize -- for five minutes. president, co-members of the commission, i want to thank president trump for having appointed me to the advisory commission on election integrity. formmented on this issue very personal history. my german mother grew up and not nazi germany. my father escaped communism twice. they emigrated to the united states. was filled with stories about what it is like living in a dictatorship. children that as the right to vote is a precious right and one that can be easily lost. our duty towas always participate in the democratic process. i want to ensure every american who is eligible is able to vote
and, that his or her vote is not stolen or diluted because of administrative mistakes, errors by officials, or intentional wrongdoing by those willing to take advantage of what we have, which is basically an honor system. i have a must-read decades experience in the field of voting elections. not just legal experience as a lawyer in the u.s. department of justice and federal laws that protect the right to vote, but i have been a local county election official in two states, georgia and virginia. i know how hard election officials work to administer the voting process fairly. we do have problems that need to be fixed. we have vulnerabilities in the administrative system. votero have a history of fraud in this country. the supreme court said in 2008 when it held up indiana's voter id laws, the u.s. has a long history of voter fraud, and it auld make a difference in
close election. we have many close elections in this country. one thing i want to hand out is a printout, it is available on the heritage website, a database we started two years ago, of the voter fraud cases from around the country. cases ap to almost 1100 proven voter fraud, it including 1000 convictions of individuals in court. ande cases run the gamut show all the ways voter fraud is committed in this country. it includes impersonation fraud at the polls, false ballots, vote buying, in eligible voting by felons and noncitizens, altering petitions. itknow we have problems with the accuracy of our voter registration lists. numerous studies have shown the interstate crosscheck program,
we have literally hundreds of thousands of voters registered in multiple states and many people who are deceased remaining on the voter rolls. no systematic, all-encompassing study has been done about these problems. but we know that more must be done to improve the accuracy of our voter registration system and the accuracy of our process. i have full confidence in this bipartisan commission, i look forward to working with my colleagues. remarksnnot and my without talking about what i consider to be the unfair, unjust and unwarranted accusations leveled at this commission. my father passed on to me the belief that one of the best things about america is the ability to have spirited but civil debate, even on contentious issues. yet we seem to have lost that valuable part of our democratic process. members of this commission, including me, have been subjected to vicious and
defamatory personal attacks. thee who want to ensure integrity of the election process are only interested in preserving our great democracy. these charges made are reprehensible and a tactic to avoid a substantive of -- substantive debate on issues and prevent research, inquiry, study necessary to identify the problems in our election process, to determine what the solutions are, and therefore ensure we have the best elections and best of aquatic system in the world. thank you. mr. pence: thank you, ,ommissioner von spakovsky thank you for bringing your practical experience and background to this commission. we are truly grateful. and grateful for your stirring words. let me say, listening to all of the commissioners on this panel,
i am more confident than ever this bipartisan group is going to perform an enormously valuable nonpartisan service to the american people. i am grateful for the words of admonition and challenge, one to another. youn attest and promise that we do go into this process with no preconceived notions or preordained result. the president has charged us to pursue the facts. and we will follow them with integrity, wherever they lead. this will be a transparent and open process. knowing the background of all these commissioners i can also promise you a spirited, but also civil debate. we look forward to that. our charge is simple. in the executive order establishing this commission, it is to promote free and honest federal elections, to study process is used, to identify
vulnerabilities to the process that could lead to improper voter registration or improper voting. we will live up to that and challenge each other to live up to that -- to achieve that. i know we will do a great service to the american people. with that come of the meeting for a short lunch break. the vice chair will reconvene in 20 minutes to reside over the rest of the meeting's agenda. on behalf of the president and myself, i offer you my heartfelt thanks for being willing to serve our country as such a time like this in our important work. thank you, we are at recess. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]