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tv   Washington Journal Ken Cuccinelli  CSPAN  April 8, 2021 2:34pm-3:00pm EDT

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on more nominations, including wendy sherman to be deputy secretary of state and gary gensler to chair the securities and exchange commission. the house is back tuesday for legislative business. this week, members are expected to work on equal pay for women legislation, as well as a bill to prevent workplace violence against health care and social services workers. president biden's infrastructure and jobs package is not expected on the house floor until later in the spring or early summer. watch live coverage of the house on c-span, the senate on c-span2, and follow congressional coverage anytime at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. host: joining as is the chair of the election transparency initiative. and also serves as a former acting director of immigration services from 2019 to 2021. thanks for giving us your time
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today. guest: my pleasure. host: could you tell us about this initiative, what does it do, and who supports it? guest: the election transparency initiative that i lead is a joint effort between two groups, the american principles project, which is a profamily social conservative organization and the susan b. anthony lived -- list which is the largest organization supporting pro-life women and they have heard from their members two things. one, why should i bother anymore if these elections are so unreliable. that is on the negative. in the affirmative they have heard a demand by their membership that these organizations weigh in to boost confidence in what they would view as accuracy and reliability of elections. marjorie, who leads the susan b. anthony list had an op-ed where
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she made a really interesting point. some people watching will disagree. the biggest abortion gains are those who support abortion have been made in the courts, which is not the democratic institution of our three branch system. whereas the pro-life movement has done very well pointing out the truth of life from the moment of conception to the public and moving the culture and laws in that direction over a number of decades. fair elections and confidence that they are fair elections, something that i hoped would matter to everybody, is viewed as a cornerstone from those organizations standpoints. what we are after, easy to vote, hard to cheat. we want to see elections that are not only fair, but that all parties can see are run fairly and honestly and accurately and produce an accurate result, the
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accurate result being what legal voters in that election voted for. georgia has been in the news lately. i would remind people that it was democrats that were complaining about issues in georgia. in 2020, use all republican complaints spearheaded by president trump. in 20, 26% of americans did not think we would be swearing in the right president next. in 2020, that was 31%. we have had in the last 3, 4, 5 years on both sides of the aisle, major concerns and what i find encouraging in all of this is we have proven we can fix things. when i say we, i mean americans. we can do it effectively. look at florida from bush v gore in 2000, they were a joke.
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they were not even running their election badly the same way in different parts of the state. they said about over the course of years on a bipartisan basis to clean up those elections and come 2020 when there were complaints, there are no complaint in florida. they counted quickly, smoothly, both sides perceive it to have been accurate. we can do this better and the states as laboratories of democracy have proven they can do a good job when they put their mind to it. host: is there a plan or template as far as changing the way voting is done, particularly at the national level considering this is being considered in congress as well? guest: so there is a two level approach. one for all 230 years plus since the constitution was put in place, states have run elections. the constitution references this in article one, but it also gives congress the authority to play a role as well.
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congress has never done that on a broad scope. they have done things like pass the 14th and 15th amendment, change the voting age, so there have been single targets by congress. at the federal level, it is the hr one, s one that i hope we will talk about today that is the focus of our effort on the federal level. it is a terrible bill. it puts a lot of bad practices into place for the whole country and we can talk about that in more detail. we focus on that and educating americans about it. as they learn more, they like it less. at the state level, working with basic principles in mind, things like voters should have to demonstrate they are citizens, that people should be cleaned off the roles, people should provide voter identification,
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something supported across-the-board, regardless of your race or party or gender, people supported across-the-board. working with those e-cig principles, we work with -- working with those basic principles, we work with allies in a dozen states to improve their systems. they are all different, so we do not have some prescription that we walk into every state with. we work with partners to improve on a common sense basis the security and transparency elements and preserve accessibility in each state in a way consistent with their tradition, law and history. host: our guest with us until 10:00. (202) 748-8001 republicans. (202) 748-8002 for
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democrats. you said there was a list of concerns. what is the chief among them? guest: it is an 800 page bill. there is lots of room for concerns. much of the focus has been on the election parts of the bill. i will focus my comments on that. i want people to know that it also creates a public financing for campaigns. it gives a 6-1 donor match from taxpayer dollars. those dollars could be used for candidates personal expenses. it would change the fec to be a partisan majority instead of a bipartisan body policing, including prosecuting perceived offenses. that is really a radical change. there is also free speech elements and criminal elements that are so bad that even the
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aclu finds them unconstitutional and has expressed concern. on the election part of it is the main focus of my concerns, they do things, first of all, like wipeout allstate election law by a large -- wipe out all state election law by and large. it includes things like forbidding voter id, which i noted a moment ago is popular across-the-board as a common sense security measure. studies show it does not suppress voting, despite some of the rhetoric out there about it. americans seem to know this because they support it across-the-board. it requires -- it bans states from requiring anything more than cynical -- signature verification. the problem with that is, if you don't have to match it up to a voter database, you don't actually know if the person in
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front of you is anything other than a person who can write a particular name. it mandates, it orders every state to implement same-day voter registration. some states actually have this, but they have systems set up to do it and they typically have it with a requirement for voter identification and with a way to filter for those who are not legally allowed to vote, like noncitizens. it mandates the use of ballot dropbox is, which really were not a thing until covid in 2020. if you go back 6-8 months, states were trying to figure out how are we going to run this election in a covid environment. what this bill does is take all of those things that were at the time supposedly one-time changes to accommodate the pandemic, including some very loose
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practices and makes them permanent, it forces the states to do this. another thing it forces the states to do is that for every adult eligible individual, they do not say citizen, the bill says individual, in their state databases, they must register them to vote. that includes state they give drivers licenses to illegal aliens, your public health department may give vaccines to noncitizens, one would expect that. those names go in the database. they must be sent over to their state voter rolls and enrolled. the other side -- host: is it a mandate to voting from these agencies involved? guest: it is a voter registration mandate. the voting is the next step. the bill does not change the law from requiring that only
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citizens may vote, but it sets up a system that i just described where all of these names get dumped into the voter role and it as a -- ads -- it adds a criminal felony and it is very vaguely worded federal felony that says any impairment or impediment of folks registering to vote or undertaking voting will be prosecuted as a federal felony with significant penalties. if you are a state official in the department of motor vehicles and someone presents to you for the first time, they are not in your databases, they are an adult and part of the transaction will result in them registering to vote, if there is a felony hanging out there to challenge you if you are perceived to impair their voter
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registration, are you going to even bother saying are you a citizen, are you going to ask questions like that? the purpose of the criminal provision is to deter that. the combination of those things will result in millions of people who are not citizens, including people here illegally not being registered to vote. it does not mean it is legal for them to vote, but if you cannot require voter id, if you cannot undertake basic security provisions for mail-in voting, they will be nothing to stop those folks from voting. having been a state attorney general, i can tell you that you can't pull ballots out of the ballot box very easily if there is a problem because you don't know which ballot was the problem. elections are unique in that we have to perform our security on
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the front side because we don't get an opportunity to cure on the backside, particularly under the time constraints we work under. host: we have some calls lined up for you. you are on with ken. caller: the first thing you talked about was abortion. i just want to make three quick points. many women have miscarriages and that is really a spontaneous abortion. if you believe in god and faith and all that, god is really the biggest abortionist around. second point i want to make -- never happens, maybe once in a billion. people were not considered people until there was a live birth and sometimes even the week after because so many infants died.
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third point, if you look at the bible, in genesis 2:7, it says you do not get a soul until you make your first breath. according to the bible, you are not a person until you make your first breath. host: our topic is elections and their integrity. caller: the screener said ok. host: you can respond, but being our topic -- guest: i would not be working for a pro-life organization if i did not agree and support those principles. i think even in just the recent decades since i have been born, science has demonstrated that a human being with all 46 chromosomes, when things happen healthily, is there at the moment of conception. follow the science. as you pointed out, we are supposed to be talking about voter integrity. i work for a pro-life organization that believes the ability to make its case fairly and publicly in clean, fair,
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transparent elections is what it needs to succeed. i'm not here specifically to advance the cause for life. i'm here to work to make sure there is a level, fair playing field for everyone to make their case on whatever issue it is, whether it is abortion or guns or taxes or paving the road in the neighborhood in clean, fair elections. i think every american can at least agree on that. how we make that happen is something that if we talk about in terms of nuts and bolts instead of in terms of republicans and democrats, i think we would find massive agreement across the american public. polling shows that and it is something i am very encouraged by the opportunity to do. host: let's hear from robert. caller: i have a couple of
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points i would like to make. if they wanted to make elections for everybody across the board fair, why not make elections a holiday and also, if the law in georgia was not changed during the trump administration years, they say it was changed for elections. why would they want to change it? and also, we need a national holiday that congress needs because when the states get it, states pick and choose who they want to win, whereas if you have a national election, that means it is going to be across the board fairly from every state. guest: i agree with you about making election day a holiday. i think that would improve
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accessibility. virginia, for many years, you had to have a reason to vote absentee. one of the reasons -- we have 13 hours to vote. one of the reasons -- and you are in virginia as well i noted. one of the reasons was that you are going to be gone from work for 11 hours. if that was not the case for as many people and even on a holiday, many people have to work, police officers, firefighters, health care. people have to work, but most would be off if it were a holiday. i agree with you in terms of accessibility. i also think one of the areas where there is a level of this agreement across the board, nothing partisan about it, should we have no excuse early voting? which really means, we have many election days. should we have one election day where campaigns work up to, or
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should we have a week or 17 days like they have in georgia? we had a caller from new jersey. they just started early voting. they added nine days of early voting. georgia has more early voting then new jersey. i think those are legitimate questions. i think a better route is to make the national election day a holiday like you suggest. i agree with you, to improve accessibility. also, having been a candidate, i believe there are a few issues you want to cover and deliver messages constructively. if the finish line is a moving target because you don't know when everyone is going to vote, it makes it more difficult. one of the things we discussed particularly for the second, which didn't happen, and third presidential debate, was that those debates were taking place after people have started
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voting. that is one of the things -- every state gets to decide that, but there are factors that really matter in terms of how do you want your election to run. i don't think there is an absolute right answer, but i agree with you. i think election day should be a holiday to make it more accessible to everybody. i think that would be ideal and it would not surprise me if out of all of this rigmarole, where there is a lot of disagreement, that that becomes a point of agreement. host: mark new york. caller: good morning. i would like to mention the fact that the georgia laws will enable someone like trump to find extra votes per se. do you feel like he should be prosecuted or prosecuted for harassing the people to try to change it for the election? guest: i certainly don't think you should be prosecuted for harassing, to use your word, the
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folks to update the voter laws. in georgia, as i noted in 2018, had concerns. i also pointed out at a national level, there were concerns about whether the outcomes of the election were appropriate, and whether the process was followed and so forth. georgia had problems. they have had problems. they are taking steps to fix that. i will use the simple one that does not draw a particular conclusion, but raises questions. my understanding is there are about 18,000 people whose names were used to vote in georgia in the last election who were either dead or registered to vote at a vacant lot or registered to vote at a commercial address. that 18,000 votes was a relatively small fraction of the
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total, but the margin was around 12,000. it does not mean it changed the outcome but it does raise the question, did we get the right outcome? we don't even have to go into an argument as to whether the answer is yes or no if all we want to do is fix it and make sure we don't have this problem in the future. there were problems we saw in different parts of the country. no question that covid and judges responding to covid really complicated things in 2020. i would also note in virginia, we have elections every year. there is always some problems. what has not typically happened is enough critical mass of people saying, we need to turn and face this and deal with it. justice thomas, not too long ago, in a dissent when the supreme court decided not to hear a case, and i don't even or member what case, he said look,
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we get these election cases all the time. we say the election is over and it is moot and we never give these people any guidance. that is the court version of what often happens in legislatures. they just say, can't we just move onto the next thing? here, the florida example i gave earlier, they clearly were motivated to act. i think a lot of other states are motivated to act now and we should make the most of getting ourselves the most modern, up-to-date, clean, fair and obviously -- system we can get state-by-state. host: you said your partners had described elections as unreliable. going back to the last president election, did they refer to the and they go as saying it was stolen and is that your contention as well? guest: i'm not prepared to make that contention. i certainly think that when you have a situation like i described in georgia, just in terms of numbers. i was an engineer before i went
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into law school, so i am a numbers guy, that raises very serious questions. i don't think either side can say definitively how that changed the outcome because we don't know which 18,000 ballots that was. for either side to say it absolutely did not change the outcome or it absolutely did is an unprovable statement. it clearly, mathematically, brought into question whether without those 18,000 ballots that were not properly registered, the outcome would have been different. our goal is a forward-looking goal. michael is to eliminate as many opportunities for those kinds of doubts regardless of who wins whether it is georgia or connecticut or the whole united states. i think we have the opportunity to do that by putting in some basic common sense laws. we are seeing that happen in some states around the country.
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really, the arguments against them so far have been largely rhetorical. they have not engaged so much on the substance. obviously, i am a conservative, right of center, but even the washington post is giving joe biden four pinocchio's for some of his comments in the georgia law and the suggestion that it suppresses the voting hours when it expands them and other things like that. we are just seeing this war of words. when we asked fellow americans talk about the elements of an election, we have really brought agreement. robert and i was one example. there is a lot of agreement. does not mean we will have universal agreement, but the differences don't have to nor do they normally break down on party lines. even chuck schumer said, 18 months ago, election security is absolutely necessary and there
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is nothing partisan about that. if we can keep it out of the partisan round, i think we can be very constructive. host: claudia in wisconsin. caller: one of the things about voter id is that it has been a contentious issue even long before covid. liberals often think of having an id is voter suppression. at the same time, many conservatives don't want to recognize that having to go to the dmv to get an identification means for some people, very long lines there. some dmv's are in more remote areas outside of the inner city. >> we believe leave this program because the u.s. house is coming for the live session.

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