tv DNC Voting Rights Commission Holds News Conference CSPAN July 21, 2017 1:02pm-1:39pm EDT
>> [inaudible conversations] >> the same day members of the dnc voting rights commission held a news conference responding to the first public hearing of the presidential advisory commission on election integrity. the chair of the dnc commission jason kander, to u.s. representatives and california secretary of state speak to the media. >> all right. good morning, everyone. my name is michael blake, i'm one of the vice chairs of the democratic national committee. thank you for joining us on today.
where grateful we are here with jason kander viewers are chair of our dnc commission and also the president of let america vote. congress than terri sewell who is vice chairman of the the commission will talk minimum. secretary of state from california alex padilla and congressman joe queen castro. we are here because we know president trump has brought forth a commission they were having the first meeting on today around the myth of voter fraud which we consistently and regularly reject. our job should make it easy for people to vote, not harder. and so with comfort to create a commission that is focusing on what of it going to do to protect the opportunity for americans to vote all across the country and all of the time. we will be here to making sure we provide consistent response back on what's coming from the trump administration. when you have leadership such as chris who is demonstrated regularly of trying to find more ways for people to difficulty devote is recently pushing back
in this manager we are expanding the work under our vice chair, karen, who specifically focusing specific and gave it an voter participation to again find more ways for people to vote. we understand, we hear this nonsensical myth of voter fraud. it is not happening. we are not seeing that but what we are seeing is a people need to have more opportunities to have a chance go vote and we're committed to that here at the dnc. as part of that work with launched a commission to protect american democracy from the trump administration. we will not allow them to move forward in a manner that will hurt our communities and especially when you see their leadership is not led in a bipartisan way. their chair, vice chair of both republicans and many republicans are on the commission has found ways to push back against us. the commission we have put together is to make sure we have the democratic response to demonstrate that we are serious in making sure to push back and what we hear from the administration but find more ways for people to vote.
we should be finding ways for people to access to vote. we should find more ways for people that opportunity to get registered. we should be talking about vote by mail, early voting, the opportunities for more of our community engaged rather than the fear coming from the trump administration. as we saw the trump administration and commission requesting data which was soundly rejected across the country in a bipartisan manner to demonstrate that is not what we should be pursuing. lastly, this is our continual attempt of demonstrating the new vision of democratic party of saying we will come together and show our leadership in all aspects whether in the federal government, the states, the cities, to say people should be having opportunity to vote, not have their votes taken away. so with that, great leader out of the state of misery come across the country that chair of our commission jason kander. >> thanks, mike duke i appreciate it. thank all of you for coming. thank you very much. let me just start by talking
about how it is the trump commission got started in first place. it is important for us remember how this started. it started with the biggest lie that he sitting president has ever told when president trump at the time president-elect trump said that three to 5,000,000 illegal voters had voted intellectual. we needed that most americans look at that and understandably simply saw a deeply insecure human being who was trying to soothe his own ego about his margin of loss in the popular vote. people but maybe that's all that this was. i think there's 22 that but it's more than that. that is why you have not seen paul ryan or mitch mcconnell or other elected republican leaders stand up and say that's not true. the reason you haven't seen that is because it fits in perfectly with what their strategy is which is to get a life like that out into the ether, at into the conventional wisdom. if people believe that it makes a difference. this commission started as a way to try and legitimize, to try and justify the biggest lie a sitting president has ever told
her this commission being the trump administration. it has morphed and it has become just a vehicle for voter suppression. it's important to remember what the recent european history on voter suppression has been for on the former secretary of state of missouri. i was the chief election official and estate with the republican super majority. i've seen the gop voter suppression at close. three steps. step one is to undermine faith in american democracy so people believe that drastic measures have to be taken. step number two is to put up obstacles to voting. step three is to put up obstacles to those obstacles. that's how the gop voter suppression playbook works and what you're seeing from the trump commission what i refer to as the voter suppression committee reelect the president, what you're seeing from them is step one in the process. it's important to remember this is not really, they pretend it is but is that really a policy difference between the parties. it is a political strategy from republican party that goes back
decades now. here's what it's about. it's not for them about their political strategy is not about trying to reach out and include groups like minorities, women, low income folks, the disabled. it's not about crafting policies that might include them. instead they have this political strategy of excluding them from the political process by making it harder for certain folks to vote including them. so the idea is that if they can keep them from voting they can win elections. it shouldn't be viewed a as a policy difference. it should be viewed for what it is which is a political stratey that is a different than where they were a tv ads or where they send mailers or who stores the knock on. that is suppression is about for the finally we should talk about two things. one, this datagram because of demonstrate on talke talk aboutt second was on the commission. this recent attempted me to grab up all this data and create an unprecedented database of information that include your political party demonstrates
that what this probably is is an attempt to figure out who you voted for so they can decide whether or not to try and push you off the rolls. that's what you've seen bipartisan opposition to this. it's what you've seen people like the mississippi secretary of state a republican stand up and say they can go jump in the gulf of mexico. and in terms of actual voter suppression it's already started from this commission because there are reports around the country and we are encouraging people not to do this by the way, to do the opposite of this, to help get their friends registered instead. but we are seeing people the country so concerned about this they are pulling their voter registrations which is an immediate demonstration of voter suppression. finally, just look at who's on the commission, whose leading their commissioner vice president pence as a history in indian of voter suppression, history of attacking legitimate and, frankly, patriotic voter registration grabs because that's what her voter registration drive is there it's patriotic. you folks who was too
controversial to be a member of the federal election commission and now they think he should be on this commission. and finally you've suggested crisco bok of kansas, secretary of state assembly plants in my library with when i first went to a first association of secretaries of states meeting five years ago when president obama was putting forward a package of legislation to try and make voting more convenient and more accessible in this country secretary stood up and said his commission to do so and the legislation to do so was wrong, that the federal government should have no role in any of this, that is complete overreach. now the president trump is in power the secretary obviously has a very different view. he is somebody who is the lead vote suppressor in this country, has spent loads of taxpayer dollars to improve voter fraud and is been completely unsuccessful. and the last thing i would say is we've already had this argument in this country. american euros marched across a bridge in selma facing down dogs and batons and hoses for the
simple idea that we all account and i'll get right to vote. we are fortunate to be join today by a native of selma, by congresswoman terri sewell who is a vice chair of this commission who is the cochair of the voting rights caucus in the house of representatives and just is an incredible champion for voting rights. so congresswoman sewall. >> thanks, jason. i want to begin by saying that while i don't believe in our presidents baseless voting fraud claim and why don't believe that we can trust this administration with the facts, and while i'm deeply disturbed by the characters with the president has chosen to put on his commission, i do agree with our president on one important point. our elections are in need of repair and the american people deserve solutions that will strengthen our democracy. over the past decade our country has seen a new wave of voter suppression tactics that keep low income and minority voters from casting their ballots.
the supreme court has struck that our nation's most powerful voter protections, and our election infrastructure is out of date. we need to protect our elections from online threats and cyber attacks. the integrity of our election is at risk but not from voter fraud. if the president is truly concerned with the integrity of our elections that this commission has been charged to do, there are some real questions that are democracy faces. like what can we do to ensure that every american is able to participate in our democracy? i can we restore the voting rights act of 1965 and our nation's most powerful voter protections? how can we ensure states are equipped with the most up-to-date technology to run elections? i have a great fortunate sitting on the house intelligence committee, and i can tell you that our elections are in trouble. there is election integrity but it's not because of voter fraud. it's because of voter
suppression and because of our outdated infrastructure. there are lots of things president trump can be doing to actually help americans in this democracy better elections by this commission isn't one of them. as jason said i have the great honor of representing my hometown of selma, alabama, as well as birmingham and montgomery, the old civil rights district in congress. and i could tell you people died, bled and fought for the right to vote. it is unacceptable that this president would make a mockery out of voting by having a commission that's focused on voter fraud and not on voter suppression. this is very personal to me because so many of my constituents marched across that bridge, died, fought for the right for all americans to have access to the ballot box. your vote is your voice, and we here on this commission, the dnc commission, we here will make sure that the voices of excluded
are not always the voices of the voiceless. we plan to be that voice, and i can tell you, president trump, that we will be watching her commission. we will be making sure your commission stays on task. because there are integrity issues with our election process, but voter fraud is not the problem. it truly is voter suppression. i look forward to working with jason and the rest of the commission. i am honored today to introduce next alex padilla who is the secretary of state for california who is a champion fighting on behalf of voter integrity for those people in california and across this nation. alex? >> thank you. thank you to jason and everybody that's gathered here today. it's my honor to serve on this commission as well. and, yes this is a big day, a day for democracy because it very soon chomps presidential
advisory commission on election integrity will meet for the first time. what they're going to meet behind closed doors with no ability for the public to attend, no ability for the public to view what they're going to be doing, and no opportunity for the public to begin to hold them accountable for this journey that they are on now. it's understandable why. because it's clear that they refuse to invite american citizens to witness what the trumpet ministrations agenda really is. best to roll back the clock on voting rights and attack our democracy. as jason lead at the commission was great for a couple of reasons. number one, to soothe the president ego. he lost the popular vote and can't reconcile with the fact and so what does he do in response? he makes up this line of millions of legal votes cast across the country. we invited him back then and i
get to see one thread of evidence from team jump to back up his claims of massive voter fraud. what does he do instead? he creates this sham commission to strengthen the integrity of our elections. we are using era quotes here, because we know what the truth is when it comes to voter fraud. there have been studies, there have been investigations, there have been reports issued and they all say the same thing. voter fraud is extremely rare and always very isolated. so if that's not where this commission is going, where are they going? we don't have to guess. look at the memo that secretary kovac presented to then president-elect trump during the transition. it laid out a clear strategy to attack and undermine the national voter registration act. that's where this commission is going and that is an attack on our democracy itself.
the 1993 national voter registration act which by the way was passed on a bipartisan basis has been one of the most important pieces of federal legislation that protects our voting rights, specifically as it pertains to facilitating people who are eligible for registering to vote. this commission is working to the contrary. they are clearly working to make it harder for eligible americans to register and to vote. and it's not just secretary kobach. look at some of the other appointees of this commission. ken blackwell, j christian adams, these gentlemen, it's been clear documented, have spent decades working to roll back the clock on voting rights. they are going backwards on voter registration, backwards on the voting rights act itself. when the commission, even before
meeting, by the way, first and out letters to state requesting an unprecedented amount of personal information on every voter in america. the letter was signed by secretary kobach, not the vice president. it was a dangerous request, and invasion of privacy for every voter in america. california was one of the first but thankfully we were not the only state to push back and say no. since then you've seen republican and democratic secretaries alike push back on this dangerous request for sensitive voter data on all americans. just yesterday in court papers the commission has admitted that what you did tend to do with the data they can collect? they want to start a white house come have white house computers and personal have direct access to this data. that's unacceptable and it's dangerous. it violates privacy.
it violates voting rights and he goes contrary to every cybersecurity recommendation in. >> would give you. i know california has spoken. californians have spoken. we do not what our sensitive personal information in the hands of trump, and anybody whose purpose is to dismantle voting rights in america. and i as secretary of state on behalf of many, many of my colleagues will not allow it. indeed, tens of thousands of americans have submitted the thoughts and comments to the commission that is being convened today. they didn't electronically because that was the only invitation to submit thoughts and comments. tens of thousands of americans have sent their opinions to the commission, and they are saying no. hands off of our personal information. and whether it's intentional or unintentional, it's clear to me that trump and the republican congress are looking in the wrong direction. so if they were genuine about
strengthening the integrity of our elections, we have the blueprint for what they should be working on. number one, don't investigate the american people. investigate russia. the intelligence community is unanimous and clear in their findings that russians interfered with the 2016 election. and every day that goes by, that the president and his administration continues to deny it is one day less that we have to prepare for the 2018 elections, and to maximize the security and integrity of elections one forward. number two, as has been stated, let's fund new systems in the united states of america. the last time the federal government was a two-parter in funding, upgrading and adding security systems to our elections was in 2002 when the help america vote act was passed, also on a bipartisan basis.
number three, don't eliminate. find the eac. the election assistance commission. the very body we look to that set the security standards for voting systems in the country. the very body we look to the aggregate data of what's working and what's not working in election administration to make it better for voters and more secure. the republican congress seeking to limit it but we need them now more than ever. and forth, restore the voting rights act. because these blatant attacks on our voting rights have come in the last several years since the supreme court's decision on shelby versus holder. this decision guiding section for the voting rights act, it is open the floodgates to voter suppression laws that are running rampant state-by-state and we now see as the single agenda for this fraud commission and we will not stand for it. it's now my honor to introduce my friend and colleague from the state of texas representative
joaquin castro. >> thank youthank you, alex. and thank you to jason kander and terri sewell for sharing this commission. thank you to alex and everybody who's been part of this effort to speak up against the trump commission that undoubtedly will strip away the rights of so many american voters throughout the country. voting should not be an obstacle course. the problem that we have in the united states of americans not to me people vote too often. it's that not enough people vote in each of our elections. and i say they coming from the state of texas which has among the worst records if not the worst record in trying to do everything that it can because of its leaders, great applet and other republican state leaders, try to do everything that it can to suppress the vote -- greg abbott. federal court after fellow court has found that the state government has violated the
rights of so many texans, including african americans and hispanics texans. and so when we think about voter id, which this commission is likely to promote, what we're talking about is really a political point shaving process. they realize 95% of people may have the approved id necessary to go vote, but how many elections can you when and that three or 5% difference? and to speak specifically to that, the other day i came across a study of harris county. harris county is a largest county in texas. several million people in harris county. in the 2016 election after it was over, harris county voters were surveyed, and one in seven harris county voters who didn't vote said that a big reason they didn't vote was because they didn't have the state approved id. in other words, the voter id laws are having that pernicious
effect that was not coincidental but intended. that is the political point shaving that is intended. if we allow this trump commission to be successful, then it won't be texas and several other states that will have this problem. this will be a problem for all americans throughout the country. and what's the result and the great state of texas? texas consistently ranks in the bottom three, sometimes last, in voter participation. election after election. so many people are disenfranchised. so many people have decided or have been kept from going to vote. i think it's important to realize there are other measures the unlikely to take on this trump commission to disenfranchise voters. let me give you one example from 2011 i believe in texas that didn't get as much attention as voter id i think is just as pernicious in our efforts to get people out to vote. what the texas legislature did back then was it used to be that
if you're going into register people to vote in texas, you only had to be deputized to register people in kanji to be deputized across the state. in other words, you just need to get deputized in one place in texas. they changed the lossless want to register voters, you had to get registered in each of the 254 counties. in other words, you had to get registered for every count cande that you're going to go try to register voters in. so for harris county if you were deputized in harris county, you could only register voters in harris county. you could go to a neighboring county and do the same thing. we also have to watch for unmindful of these other behind the scenes small efforts that are also, that also represent obstacle after obstacle. when you combine something like voter id with gerrymandering, you can see the incredible negative effect that it has on participatory democracy. i said before and i'll speak for myself that politician should no
longer be drawing their own political districts. we have to get to a point like california or you have a nonpartisan or bipartisan commission that is drawing our political districts across the country. then americans i believe will feel that the process is more fair and few more invested in that political process. we should be moving to a place that automatic voter registration. why is it we still have a sense of what it's to steps in order to be able to vote? i hope one day we can get to a place of online voting, but as terry and i know well from our work on intelligence committee, the first thing we have to do it secure our voting systems. i have been shocked as many americans have been i something the trump administration has not lifted a finger to do a thing about, which is the fact that there is no law on the books right now that requires those who run our election systems, whether it's caddies or states, to do a single thing to guard
our voting systems. there is no basic minimum requirement for cybersecurity protection of our voting systems that exists in the united states, and that is a tragedy and that's the real danger to our democracy. and so thank everybody for the effort. where going to be watching what this trump commission does. i know the american people will also be watching. and again we need to do everything possible to make sure more people vote, not to make it harder for americans to vote. >> with that we would be happy to answer any questions that you all have. >> do you feel a concerted effort to talk with african-american voters in particular, given the majority of the democratic? >> yes. anybody else? [laughing] >> i think it's no coincidence that the target has been in vulnerable communities.
i think it's no coincidence that the target has been in foldable communities of color, brown and black communities all across this nation, but we can't underestimate the fact that the disabled and our senior citizens and our young folks are also disadvantages as well. and i think if you take nothing away from this press conference, i hope that you take away the fact that we as elected officials should be about making it easier for people to vote, not making it harder. the fact the trump administration would put this sham of the commission forward when there are legitimate election integrity issues that they could be taking up instead of asking for personal identifiable information. it is a travesty and i think that the american people deserve better, and that so we hope to work on. obviously it's a lot of targeting. i think one north carolina court, appellate court, said it's with precision, surgical
precision that these voter id laws were crafted in order with surgical precision to target african-american communities. but it's communities of color all across this country but as well as are disabled. my father, he was disabled, and while he was highly motivated to go vote because i was on the ballot, the state of alabama had introduced a new photo id law right after that shall be decision, that no longer letting go vote with his validly issued federal id called a social security card. let me repeat that. a validly issued federal id called solstice could occur. instead the state now requires a special voter card. the fact that it took our family couple of hours to my dad ready, dressed to go to the county courthouse, and that county courthouse happen to be grandfathered into the american disabilities act so it didn't have to have a ramp, okay?
i'm a member of congress of the quickly got several guards to come and help my dad in his wheelchair up the steps, only to find out that the voting registration office, which is on the second floor, the one elevator in a small county courthouse was out of order. by the time because someone to fix it, because they were highly motivated to help my dad get to his photo id, you know, the person was out to lunch. how many americans -- is not about how many, county how many marbles are in a jar anymore, but these are modern-day barriers that are just as pernicious, that are just as dangerous that stop people, average americans come from exercising their right to vote. and so i think that this commission will, we will be watching, but america should be watching as well. there's lots we can be doing to make sure that we protect the election integrity, but this sham of commission is not one of them.
>> others? >> can i try one more? >> sure. >> the president made that claim on twitter that millions of people voted illegally. i know you reject that. do you have a rough estimate of what the true figure is? are we talking tens or hundreds or thousands? >> you can look at kansas. the person was essentially this commission, not this one but the other commission, a secretary of state kobach from kansas who spent tons of dollars, kansas taxpayer dollars, to try and prove the idea that there was all sorts of illegal voting going on. i think they ended up in $1. in $1.7 million, i think they found nine cases, and it wasn't even necessarily what the president was describing. look, this is a lie. i mean, he's the president and
we are american so we would really prefer to be polite, right? not just us but as a country. that's our reaction. when the president tells the biggest lie oppressiveness ever told our natural inclination, goodhearted inclination is to try and get that all the benefit of the doubt we possibly can but there's nothing you can use, no word you can use to describe this other than it is a lie. it's a lie, and as a secretary of state having convened briefly with republican and democratic colleagues from across the country, that here's the presidents allies in context come first there's no truth to the massive voter fraud he claims of millions. not a shred of evidence. but what he does when he repeats these allegations, when he repeats, he calls into question the professionalism and the integrity, not just of every secretary of state or chief elections officer in the country, but that county elections directors across the
land, both republican and democrat, and the countless volunteers who give up their time to serve the nation as poll workers, to suggest that there's massive voter fraud is to impugn the integrity of so many people who work so hard for the right to vote, to defend the right to vote, for those who facilitate americans exercising the right to vote. and what does the president do? he ignores what the russians did in 2016 and chooses to investigate americans? that's wrong and that's undemocratic and un-american. >> anybody else? okay, thank you all very much. i appreciate it. [inaudible conversations]
>> tonight sarah huckabee sanders will discuss her involvement in politics as the daughter of governor mike huckabee while she joined the trump for president campaign and how she approaches the job as deputy press secretary. here's a preview. >> so walk us through a typical day for sarah huckabee sanders. >> i don't know if there's a typical day, but usually start pretty early around 5 a.m. i get up, try to see at least, i only have one early riser so my three-year-old, you spent some time visiting with him in the morning before i leave, and get to the office early enough to try to read through and catch up on the news that took place before i went to bed, and then we start with a series of staff meetings around 7:15 talking about the news of the day,
prepping for what we want the message of the day to look like and responded to any story that may be coming up and from there everyday is a little different than the one before which is one of the reasons i love what we do, is that new today's are alike and everyday presents new challenges and gives us a new way to be part of the administration. >> and you get home when? >> it varies but usually anywhere between, it could be 7:00 to 10:00 at night. >> and as you take on this job, sean spicer has made a couple changes, skype seats among them, how do you approach the job and how you approach relations with the media general? >> i think the same way relations with me the way i approach it is to try to do that the same i would any other relationship. i grew up in the south and south being hospitable is something that i think was ingrained in me in an early age and something i
tried to take in in my workplace and in everything that i do there and so i try and even though when i disagree i try to be diplomatic and gracious about it. a sometimes we have to be pretty aggressive and push back but i try to do that in a way that is again polite, hospitable, but also strong and not week. >> during the interview sarah huckabee sanders also talks about life on the campaign trail. see the entire interview tonight at eight eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> if you look across the park now, it's hard to believe this was once a thriving and booming business district but it really was. there were stores owned by blacks, whites, you name it. a lot of people did a lot of business either they didn't have to leave the community. and before you knew it i rock was thrown, a glass is broken, looting occurred, firestarter
and wasn't just black folks. it was one of the most integrated if it is that ever happen in detroit. >> join us for a life american history tv special on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 detroit riots live sunday starting at noon eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> our live coverage of the commissioning of the uss gerald r ford is saturday at 10 a.m. eastern hurt the super carrier named after our 38th president is a navy's newest nuclear powered attack aircraft carrier. president trump will attend the ceremony at the naval base in norfolk, virginia, and deliver remarks to the more than 14,000 people expected to attend. saturday at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span and c-span.org and listen live on the free c-span radio app. >> state and local education officials teif