For the People: Our American Democracy

1310 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Feb 14, 2019 8:30am

Opening Statements

Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) - Opening Remarks: "For the People: Our American Democracy"

“Good morning, and we welcome our witnesses and members. I’d like to bring the Committee on House Administration to order and thank everyone in attendance.
 
“Just a few housekeeping matters – we do have the funeral of our former colleague John Dingell this morning, and so we are going to have panel one prior to that and we will reconvene around 1 o’clock for the second panel. 
 
“I’ll just say that I am pleased that we are having this hearing on “For the People: Our American Democracy.” We have a distinguished group of witnesses who will share their insights and experiences.
 
“Before we hear from them and from our Ranking Member, I would be remiss if I did not thank Congressman John Sarbanes for the tremendous effort that he has made over the years for H.R. 1 that is before us. 
 
“As we know, trust in Government is at a low point, we have many challenges that we have to work on together. One thing is that everyone in this country has a stake in how our country works and the way they express that is through their vote and deciding who their government will be.
 
“The mechanics of our democracy—access to voting, running for office, holding government accountable—have all undergone radical changes in recent years. These changes have tended to restrict the rights of eligible voters to vote. It has made the voices of the wealthy and powerful so loud that they can drown out the voices of ordinary people, our neighbors and our communities.
 
“Cutbacks to early voting, shutting down polling places, and purging eligible voters from the rolls all put barriers to participation to our elections and certainly we have issues with technical matters relative to voting and voting machines. 
 
“There is hope that we can work to restore our democratic promise and H.R. 1 is the beginning of that. 
 
“Ultimately, if we are to address the problems that we face tomorrow, and in the years and decades ahead, it is essential that our democracy works and the voices of all of our citizens, rich and poor, young and old are heard and heard equally. The promise of our democracy is indeed For the People.
“So I look forward to our time this morning, and I would now like to recognize Ranking Member Davis for any statement he may have.”
 

Witnesses

Panel 1

Chiraag Bains, Director of Legal Strategies, Demos

Full text of testimony ]

Wendy Weiser, Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

Full text of testimony ]

Fred Wertheimer, President, Democracy 21

Full text of testimony ]

The Honorable Kim Wyman, Secretary of State, State of Washington

Full text of testimony ]

Panel 2

Alejandro Rangel-Lopez, Senior at Dodge City High School, Dodge City Kansas, and plaintiff in LULAC & Rangel-Lopez v. Cox

Full text of testimony ]

Peter Earle, Wisconsin Civil Rights Trial Lawyer

Full text of testimony ]

Brandon A. Jessup, Data Science and Information Systems Professional; Executive Director, Michigan Forward

Full text of testimony ]

David Keating, President, Institute for Free Speech

Full text of testimony ]