WASHINGTON - Committee on House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil (WI-01) hosted a full committee hearing entitled, "American Confidence in Elections: State Tools to Promote Voter Confidence." This hearing was the first in a series leading up to the introduction of the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act, the federalist approach bill to equip states with key election integrity tools. This hearing featured witnesses who discussed voluntary best practices and tools for states to ensure successful election administration.

Expert witnesses included West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, The Heritage Foundation's Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky, Election Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer, and Election Transparency Initiative's National Chairman Ken Cuccinelli. 

Member Highlights:

Chairman Bryan Steil highlighted the ACE Act's important voluntary state tools:

Chairman Steil: “While the U.S. Constitution prohibits noncitizens from voting in elections, states need better tools to enforce these prohibitions.The bill would ensure state and county election officials have access to information held only by federal agencies, like the Social Security death list and citizenship status, to keep their voter rolls maintained. In addition, the bill helps the Election Assistance Commission stay focused on their work.”
Click the image or here to watch Chairman Steil's full remarks. 
Representative Barry Loudermilk (GA-11) highlighted how voter ID bolsters voter confidence and participation:

Mr. von Skakovsky: "The idea that voter ID somehow keeps people from voting is just not true."

Rep. Loudermilk: "In the last Congress we had the former Attorney General in here and was talking about this issue. The polls had just come out that showed that 80 percent of Americans supported voter ID, and I asked him, 'Do you support that or do you support the idea that 80 percent of Americans think there should be security in the elections and that you have to prove who you are and that you are eligible to vote?' and he said 'Yes, depending on what type of ID.' What he was getting at is we should use student IDs or some form of utility payment. How is that a problem? I mean isn't it important that you have some form of verified identification?"

Mr. von Skakovsky: "I can produce a utility bill using Word on my computer. You need a photo ID, and the key thing to keep in mind with this is that every single state that has put in an ID requirement, and that's now a majority of the states, has put in a requirement that if you don't have an ID you can get one for free. It just has just proven not to be a problem, and like I said, we've got more than a decade's worth of data to show that it is not a problem."

Click the image or here to watch Representative Loudermilk's full Q&A.
Representative Greg Murphy (NC-04) emphasized the concerning nature of unenforced voter registration laws around the country:

Rep. Murphy: “How do you think the American people would feel that the Michigan secretary of state would allow 27,000 dead people to be on voter rolls?”

Mr. Cuccinelli: “I think they would be astonished. They couldn’t conceive of a legitimate, clean reason to do that.” 

Rep. Murphy: “I’m flabbergasted. I don’t know how she says that with a straight face.”


Rep. Murphy: “What intent, other than fraud, could there be for wanting such things?”

Mr. Cuccinelli: "I don’t think there is any other intent. Short of fraud, there is also mere confusion. I believe the Left has, and knows it has and tries to exploit, … a litigation advantage because they are just staffed up around the country and have been for 20 years. The Left has a bigger litigation machine by far than the Right. So muddiness and confusion work to their advantage.”

Click the image or here to watch Representative Murphy's full Q&A.
Representative Anthony D'Esposito (NY-04) highlighted the concerns about allowing non-citizens to vote:

Rep. D’Esposito: “The whole point today is to talk about the American confidence in voting and when you have the nation’s capital which is supposed to be what everyone looks at as the representation of this great country, and we're allowing Russian and Chinese staff from embassies to vote in our elections.”


Rep. D’Esposito: "In 2022 a law was enacted in New York City that would have allowed non-citizen voting in local elections, if it hadn't been struck down by a State Supreme Court Justice that same year. However, other jurisdictions across the country like Washington DC do allow non-citizens to vote in their local elections. Non-citizens are prohibited by federal law from voting in federal elections, obviously back in New York, we're thankful that the State Supreme Court Justice stepped in. It has become a city of no rules, as I'm sure many of you have seen on the news. So I'm going to ask, ‘What actions can election officials take to ensure that non-citizens who are permitted to vote in local elections are not voting in federal elections?”
Mr. von Skakovsky“Real election officials in every state maintain one list of registered voters that are qualified to vote in local elections, state elections, and federal elections. The absolute only way I know of that you could prevent mistakes from occurring and prevent aliens from voting in those other elections that they're not supposed to be voting in is to have two entirely separate voter registration lists and two entirely separate ballots, if you have local elections at the same time on the same day as state and federal elections. Otherwise, there's going to be a lot of confusion that exists.”
Rep. D’Esposito: “That's really why the question was asked. Our whole purpose today is to talk about the American people's confidence in elections, and I think when we're allowing issues like this to take place throughout the country, it is quite a slap in the face to anybody's confidence.”
Click the image or here to watch Representative D'Esposito's full Q&A.
Subcommittee on Elections Chair Laurel Lee (FL-11) emphasized the importance of states maintaining accurate voter registration lists:

Rep. Lee: "What tools can the Federal Government be proving to help states have accurate voter registration lists, safe databases, and other tools? What can we be doing to help state election officials improve the accuracy of the lists?"

Mr. von Spakovsky: "The social security's master death index is a requirement states ought to be able to use it easily freely and frequently, without being charged by the federal government. The DHS databases need to be restructured and made easy to use by election officials so that they can use that also to check on citizenship status. States need to be allowed to require proof of citizenship when people register to vote in exactly the same manner that all employers in the country have to fill out the federal I9 form to show that a person they're hiring is, like I said, a U.S. citizen or is an alien who's here legally and has a work permit."
Click the image or here to watch Representative Lee's full Q&A.
Representative Mike Carey (OH-15) asked Secretary Warner what efforts he is taking to ensure our service members are able to exercise their right to vote:

Rep. Carey: "We have members of the military overseas fighting for our freedoms. With that being said, there's no better place to focus our attention on the ability to give our military veterans and our service members the right to vote. What are the tools that you're using in West Virginia to increase military opportunities to vote?"

Secretary Warner: “Most prominent is the ability to vote in the mobile phone… The first thing I did when I went into office, was I said ‘Let's come up with an electronic way to transmit and receive ballots’ so that's what we've done in the state of West Virginia. Who better than our military? But also it worked so well in West Virginia, we went to voters with certain disabilities, and now first responders, we actually deployed first responders to the state of Mississippi on hurricane disaster relief within the six-day period prior to elections. They lost that ability to vote, and that's why now have a verifiable system to check that the ballot that they send is the ballot received. So we're advancing that technology in those limited circumstances. I don't advocate going mainstream with this, I simply wanted for those people who would otherwise be disenfranchised."
Click the image or here to watch Representative Carey's full Q&A.
Representative Stephanie Bice (OK-05) highlighted the alarming inconsistencies in voter ID requirements, including Nevada's concerning signature-only requirement:

Rep. Bice: “In Oklahoma, you have to show an ID when you show up at the polls, even as a member of Congress that's been going to the same polling location for 16 years. The poll workers know who I am and get excited to see me when I actually get to go vote in person they still say ‘Congresswoman Bice, would you please show us your ID.’ That being said, I want to make a distinction. A student ID is different from a hunting license, in that it is not government issued. The student ID is not government issued and so there is that distinction there, which I think is why there are certain laws protecting those ID's. I’m not suggesting a student ID is invalid, I'm saying the laws, especially in Oklahoma, it has to be a government-issued ID. It can be tribal, it can be federal, it can be state, and there is that distinction.”


Rep. Bice: “My question is, first of all, Mr. Warner, when you sign your name on a document, do you sign your name the same every single time?... The question is important because, Mr. Gloria, in the state of Nevada, the only way that you have to verify a ballot is through signature verification. Is that correct?”
Mr. Gloria (CEO of Operations for the Election Center and former Registrar of Voters for Clark County, Nevada): “That is the first level of verification, is to check that the signature matches, that's correct.”
Rep. Bice: “How can you have any sort of sense of accuracy or confidence in the ability to accept a ballot when almost everyone on this panel today, and I would add myself into this mix, would tell you that their signatures vary sometimes widely when they sign a document, especially as we age? My voter registration from when I was 18 years old is probably pretty different than the signature I now have at almost 50. How can we have any certainty that these ballots are valid?”
Click the image or here to watch Representative Bice's full Q&A.

Watch the full hearing here.