tv Washington Journal David Becker CSPAN October 31, 2019 6:27pm-6:59pm EDT
ability to go into the private sector when it's in their best interest, when the care is better, or specialized care is available that's not in the v.a. i think we all believe that should be available. >> watch book tv every weekend on c-span2. we are going to talt the 2020 election with david becker who is the cofounder and the executive director of the center for election innovation and research. tell us about the work. we were founded in 2016 after i worked for several years at the election scheme and before that, a lawyer at the justice department, forcing federal voting laws. tot we do now is we work ensure the security of the overall election system in the united states and also worked to improve access and convenience for all voters. host: you are at electioninnovation.org. how are you funded? by donations and other
donors, you are completely nonpartisan and nonprofit. host: looking back to the 2016 election, what is the biggest lesson that you personally learned from that? guest: i think what we've learned, and these are facts that have been presented by both parties, the senate intelligence committee, our foreign adversaries are going to try to undermine our confidence in our own democracy and they are going to use whatever means at their disposal. they're going to try to attack our election infrastructure. attempted a spear phishing attempts on vendors and election officials in florida. they are also going to flood of our social media platforms with misinformation, trying to make us think that we cannot trust that our votes are going to be counted, we can't trust that our votes matter. what the senate intelligence committee and others have concluded is that
russia was enormously successful. 2016 could not, have been the first year that russian or other foreign entities tried to mess with our elections nationwide. how did it become such a turning point? guest: this comes largely from what the senate intelligence committee included. course, in 2016 we are at a high point of social media use. their news siloing consumption with people that they only agreed with. for the kindy ripe of divisiveness that russia there's also6 and substantial evidence that russia specifically wanted to help donald trump's campaign and hurt secretary clinton's campaign. host: is among your concern that , just thennovation
mere threat of tampering with elections keeps a voter turnout down? guest: that is a huge concern, and i think there is good evidence that that is exactly what russia and our other adversaries want. they want citizens of our democracy and other democracies to lose confidence that their votes matter, that their votes count. the more that citizens of democracy lose faith in the democracy, the more autocracies like russia can fill the vacuum and we are seeing that now. host: we are talking about election security particularly in 2020. we welcome your calls and comments. (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. (202) 748-8002 for independents. you can also text us, (202) 748-8003. make sure you put your name and where you are texting from. heading now into 2020 how
confident are you that serious changes or improvements have been made in election security nationwide? guest: i'm pretty confident. there has been remarkable response from election officials and others to further secure the ballot in 2020. i think it's fair to say 2018 with the most secure election we had ever had until that point and 2020 will be even more secure. for instance, paper ballots are really important for election security, and we had about 75% of voters voting on paper ballots in 2016. we are going to be up to around 90% in 2020 and that includes pre-much every battleground state. minnesota,gan, colorado, new mexico, arizona. all paper ballots. that is the first part. the second part is more and more of those ballots are being audited than ever before. we are seeing audits to confirm that the scene -- machine andlations are accurate,
lastly we are seeing some funds for additional cyber security. another $250 million is going to be appropriated in the states. that is not enough, there needs to be a regular appropriation because states need more resources. this problem is not going to go away, but it is a good start. host: which state do you think needs the most help right now, that may be behind the curve? guest: it's hard to pick out one because so many have made great improvements. the states that lack a paper ballot and the ability to audit those are the ones that are potentially most vulnerable. texas probably has as many of those paperless ballots as anybody. host: what are some of the potential downfalls or trouble spots for paper ballots? guest: one of the problems with paper ballots marked by hand, there can be challenges in reading those at times, defining voter intent.
what we are seeing is some jurisdictions moving to ballot marking devices which are touchscreens that will market paper ballot that could be confirmed by the voter and audited and those have fewer problems. they are also accessible for people with disabilities. the hand marked ballots are very convenient, so i think it is a good trade-off to move to the ballots through papers. host: david becker is our guest, we look forward to your calls and comments on election security. inr how things are going your state and locality as we head into 2020 and some elections happening nationwide. a number of states in the coming week or so, let's go to scott of michigan first and here from brian on the independent line. caller: thanks. so much of the democratic convention that came out and first announced to the nation that russia had got into the server and caused so much trouble. is that when have
i worked intelligence, the problem i had with that is how quick the fbi made that assertions and of course they find out a few days later it was in the fbi, it was shawn henry. the president has brought up lately having to do with crowd strike. i'm not saying he's a bad person, but he is totally tied in with timothy geithner which goes all the way back to uranium one. this has been my problem all along. there is so much confliction here that what is going on, whether it be robert mueller who gave shawn henry his last big promotion -- host: a little off-topic, but any thoughts? the things we have to recognize from 2016, we were dealing with some relatively new challenges. we hadn't really seen that and i thek it's clear that
federal government was trying to figure out how best to address this, it was a for significant threat from adversaries. little question that foreign adversaries were attacking campaigns etc. in those were things that we needed to address. i think one thing we can say for now is the department of homeland security has done a really good job of coordinating efforts and that is one of the bright side' that got off to a little bit of a rocky start in both the obama and trump administrations but now we are in better shape with regard to election security. chicago.e is anna in hi.er: i just wanted to say about the voter fraud in, it is a local problem. know, andchicago, you i think most of the voter fraud is done by illegal immigrants.
they come into the country, they are given driver's licenses and they are told to go to the polls and vote. had 313 was the actual number of illegal immigrants were found voting for obama. i am a black american, i am sick b.s. fromof this bull the democrats because what they are doing is harvesting votes from illegal immigrants and poor, ignorant blacks who live in chicago. i'm on my way to mccormick place now because trump is coming in. we have almost 400 people from my community who are going to support him. we used to be democrats. we are no longer democrats. democrats are ruining this country. and that is all i have to say.
host: david becker, let me ask you. you mentioned russia, are there other countries that we should be worried about in terms of nefarious action in error 2020 election? guest: the intelligence community and others have pointed to north korea and china as other potential actors. mediarely more on social and other news like that, i think we can anticipate we'll see more of that and it really highlights the bipartisan nature of the challenge. we can never say it might appear that russia preferred president trump over secretary clinton, but it might be that another country preferred the democrats over the republicans and that's why it is so important that we address this in a bipartisan way, because we don't know which way a particular adversary might try to impact our election. host: election security came up last week. we heard fromle was representative from the election assistance commission.
i wanted to play some of that hearing that we covered on c-span. >> there were a number of responsibilities that election officials have and i believe that the election commission should be more empowered at to work on those but the reality as i mentioned, my opening statement is that we are a $7.95 million agency. we have one lawyer, we have one or since itsson, inception, the election assistance commission has been kicked around like a political football and we have never been in power or funded in a way to actually help election officials in the way we can. i think that right now in this time, we see the need for a federal clearing house and i would just ask you all to help make that possible. hovland saying they have been kicked around like a political football. guest: i think it's one of the
challenges, it's very easy to look at election security or any of the other issues as purely what is going to help my party or hurt the other party and we are seeing that to some degree on both sides. has had thehe ac challenge of partisanship and polarization to deal with. i think one of the things we're seeing is there are people like commissioner hovland who are trying to de-politicize this process. efforts wese are should support because it's really important. host: you touched on some of the funding that they have distributed. 2018, election assistance commission, $380 million, 41 states and their election cyber security. 34 states purchased new voting equipment, 29 states improved voting registration. by said that you thought 2020, 90% may have a paper ballot? guest: that's right.
states like pennsylvania which previously had the majority voting on paperless systems, they are moving to all paper. georgia, they are moving to paper in time for 2020. we are seeing this in other states as well, south carolina. it is unusual now for states to voting and as states moved to paper we are seeing better and more audits. we are going to have the most secure election that we've ever had. which is not to say we are going to cross the finish line. host: is in the ultimate challenge that states run their own elections? it is a national election. standards by which a state can be held to account in terms of running their election? guest: sure. think of a always national election every two years or four years what we actually see are thousands of
little elections, not just the states of the counties and the local jurisdictions. is important to spread best practices and we are seeing more of that than ever before, where atups are getting together the federal, state, and local level around their voter databases. things like strong passwords and multifactor authentication to make sure that authorized users can use it and no one who is not authorized can. we are seeing election offices re more skilled staff but we are going to need to keep that going. we are going to need that going forward because we are going to rely on technology more and more and whenever you rely on the elegy, there is no system that is un-hackable. host: virginia, democrats line. ofler: with the possibility deep state and the so-called
back channels that the trump administration has with russia, i mean, everybody knows how he can't headimir putin, just run it back down and say hey, look, stop it. just stop. just stop. guest: you kind of faded out there, robert, sorry about that. i got the gist of the question. i think it's an important point that there need to be consequences for foreign engage in thist behavior or try to interfere in our elections here in i think that has honestly been the part that has been missing. we haven't seen leadership to
deter our adversaries and prevent them from engaging in this behavior. certainly, russia has paid virtually no cost if anything for what we know they did in 2016. and our adversaries need to be dealt a set of consequences that make them think twice before they ever do this again. host: once a foreign adversary has been held to account or otherwise chastised or had their funding limited because of any actions taken against the united states? guest: there has been talk of sanctions but honestly if you look at what has happened over the last several years with focusingomehow being inward on its internal divisions and retreating from some places in the world, you don't have to look very far for syria to see the elevation of a country like russia and our retreat from the area. host: here is jerry, mississippi. go ahead. caller: yes, sir.
and a lotmississippi of people around here has got bumper stickers on their the russians says didn't make me vote for donald trump: hillary did. i think that makes a lot of sense to me. valid i think it's a point, one of the things that is clear from the investigation, the 2016 is the most heavily investigated in history. there is still no evidence that a both were changed. i don't think we have a shred of interferedat anyone with the technology to change the outcomes from how people intend to vote on election day. but there is a lot of evidence russians were involved in trying to influence americans prior to election day, on election day, and to get them to
mistrust the results when they happened. by all accounts, that is going to continue. host: what efforts is your group doing in terms of social media? guest: we don't work so much in the social media, we work a lot and disinformation as it relates to the voting process. for instance, disinformation that might relate to where people vote, whether they are along lines -- whether there are long lines or problems, whether machines are working properly. officialsth election in particular to help try to get the word out and give them the tools necessary to make sure their voters know how they can vote easily, that it's very likely they will be in and out in 30 minutes and their vote is going to count. host: what do you see your group's role as leading up to 2020? guest: we'veguest: already been working to help implement paper ballots in georgia. the cochairing in michigan center security to ensure that
michigan's elections are secure and they are on a great path, they are leading the nation. we will be working to help states implement audits for the true time doing pilots and audits in 2020, november of 2020. and to further help educate voters and the media about the security of the elections, the improvements that have been done so far, how they can best fight back against foreign interference, those types of things. host: and on georgia, part of your piece and the atlantic journal, you wrote that only through strong audits can we be sure the count was correct, regardless of whether that ballot was originally hand marked were marked by a ballot marking device with or without a barcode. both must be audited to be secure and both are secure when audited. let's hear from robert, new york. republican line, welcome. caller: good morning, thanks for taking my call. lady whoree with the
called back from illinois, i agree with her 100%. i think the problem is the democrats are actually making up these stories to interfere with our elections. look at what's going on right now. i'm sick and tired of listening to it. i think the democrats have totally gone crazy. host: we lost you there a little bit, we would go to the georgia in louisiana on the democrat line. caller: good morning, i live in louisiana and we are having a runoff for our governor here. i want to know, do we have paper ballots in louisiana? guest: louisiana is one of the very few remaining aids that does not have paper ballots. i know they are trying to move to that point as soon as possible. i think it's unlikely to happen
by 2020 but louisiana is one of be the onlyight remaining state that is entirely paperless. host: in georgia, can you vote absentee? caller: yes, we can. host: ok. caller: and i'm going to be out there. guest: appreciate that. host: let's hear from larry in savannah. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i'm for id cards for everyone. it's amazing that anyone protested regarding vaping and buying alcohol and all those ,hings that requiring id cards but when it comes to voting, there was a huge outcry. if one of our citizens cannot afford an id card, i think the government will help them buy one. the democrats just seemed to can't get over losing the election.
are afraid that trump will win again so they are doing all they can to impeach him. the sad thing is they are doing anything for the american people. trump has been able to accomplish some of the things that help us in every way and i'm very pleased. the democrats'hatred for the president supersedes love of our country. it's very sad. thank you for taking my call. host: david becker, does your group look at voter id at all? guest: we don't really work in that area. a couple things i want to say about the idea of voter id and voter fraud, it was studied by the bush justice department, part-time while i was there. it was studied by president trump's election integrity commission after it came into is been studied by republican and democratic secretaries of state.
there remains zero evidence of widespread fraud in any kind of significant numbers and i can tell you as a former federal prosecutor it's one of those crimes that there would be a lot of evidence of. you have a lot of witnesses at the check-in table. one of the ways that we found the recent fraud on voters in north carolina, the mail ballot fraud was because of the evidence that was there, it was not hard to find. that was not fraud committed by voters but fraud committed on voters. i should say that also with regards to confirming the integrity of the vote which is very, very important, there are states all around the country that do it in various ways. there are various ways to make sure the person who came into vote is the right person. many states are using ways to do that but they also want to make sure that they are not accidentally creating a barrier that an eligible voter can't get past. balancing those things out is very important. host: why do you think the notion of widespread voter fraud
still exists in the u.s.? guest: i think this goes back to what russia is trying to leverage against the american people. d ourselvesgely into only hearing media that validates our position. people who are predisposed to believe that vote hacking is the reason they are losing elections, they are going to continue to believe that despite the evidence. i don't think senator burr from north carolina has come to the conclusions that russia definitely interfered. i don't think he is someone who is trying to help the democrats in any way in any kind of look and the ranking member senator warner have come to the same conclusions about russian interference. host: as i just mentioned you worked the justice department in the bush administration, the voting section also at the and now theogram
director, the cofounder of the center for election innovation and research. we got a couple more calls here. we will go to carol in new york, independent line. yes, i'm afraid you guys stole my thunder. i was going to ask a question about the follow-up about the woman from chicago who was about to go out to hear president trump speak. she was very specific that there was something like 300 illegal immigrants that voted in chicago and my question was, what is the evidence of illegal immigrants that do, in fact vote, and whether the do or do not have any impact on the elections? host: and i thank you, i think you talk about that a moment ago. question from florida, please ask mr. becker, which he believes affected the 2016 election most?
the election process, the electoral college, or foreign interference. guest: it is really hard to be able to weigh those things out. there is no question that russia did interfere, there is no question it had an impact. whether that impact change the outcome of the election in terms of changing the minds of voters is also quite likely, getting people so fed up with the system and so distrustful that they decided not to show up and vote. but we don't know that it changed the outcome. it could have, it might not have. i think one of the real challenges is that we got to get away from looking at these problems as whether we got the outcome we want. of americans according to a poll from usa today will not trust election result if their candidate loses. that reflects a real problem in our country. if we have foreign interference, it really doesn't matter if it
affects the outcome or not, it's a problem, it's an attack on our sovereignty and we got to do something about it. host: how much of your program is educated voters do and identifying potential voter issues in terms of nefarious acts? guest: quite a bit. working with the media and election officials, trying to make sure voters have accurate information on the election process, that they know where the trusted sources of information are. one of the things i strongly advise is to get out of your silo. listen to news media that might challenge you, that you might not agree with, so you are not always hearing the same thing. if you are constantly hearing that there is voter fraud, try to get out of that philo and listen to something else. if you're are hearing that our election systems are incredibly vulnerable, get out of that to try to hear what the real story is. host: let's go to john in virginia, democrat line. caller: thank you for taking my call.
i think that the guest is right. i think democrats did lose the election, no matter how many points we got. but the point is this president is not acting as a presidential. that is the problem. peoplea country that need to understand whether you are a democrat or republican, our country comes first. being the president has a responsibility. those people from chicago are saying that illegal immigrants voted. it doesn't matter, the fact that illegal immigrants cannot vote in this country. the bottom line is we have to put our country first. it,reason that i'm against that is one thing i'm very angry about. russia is our enemy, no matter how you slice it.
we need to protect our elections. tot: let's get one more call robert in columbus, ohio, independent line. yes, i had a question i want to askon. is the stuff with the republicans and the democrats. i don't know whether to raise this issue or not because the way that everything has been going, it seems like it doesn't matter who we vote for, it is just who they want to put in office. theother thing is that declaration of independence was shot so many times that there are so many holes in it that you -- they took a vow to stand for the constitutional rights but neither one of them wants to do it. host: robert in ohio. david becker, any final thoughts? what i'm hearing from the
collars and from a lot of people is a real concern about war and interference, a real concern of how it could possibly impact and what i get often asked is how can voters do something about this? outside of making sure you are reading news media and consuming news media that challenges you, the most important thing any voter can do in the united states of america is to vote. it's not just some idea that it is good to vote. every single vote is a data point. if there was any kind of interference with election technology or infrastructure, the more people who vote, the more likely we are to discover that. vote ander people early voting is now available to more voters than ever before, mail voting is now available to more voters than ever before. the more people who establish these data points if possible, the more likely we are to do something about it. host:'s group is the center for
election innovation and research. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> here's a look at our primetime schedule on the c-span networks. beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. debate from the house floor on impeachment inquiry rules against president trump. at 9:00 p.m. on c-span2, state department officials testify on the future of middle east policy, including u.s. relations with iran and turkey's military operations in syria. and at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3, former f.b.i. director james comey speaks at the recent plit con conference in nashville -- politicon conference in nashville. >> c-span's "washington journal" live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, washington examiner's phillip cline discusses his new book about the burden of the growing national debt will have on the millennial generation. then the centers for disease
control and prevention discuss the rise in vaping-related illness. watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern friday morning. join the discussion. >> earlier today, outgoing california congresswoman katie hill came to the floor to deliver her farewell speech. after intimate photos of her were released without her knowledge. she apologized to her constituents and explained why she's chosen to resign. >> this is the last speech i will give from this floor is a member of converse -- congress. it's a reality i'm still grappling with. i will be doing it for a long time to come. i expected, or i hoped to be