ABSENTEE WITNESSES

Oct 16, 2007

WASHINGTON — Today, the Subcommittee on Elections’ Ranking Republican, Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was forced to invoke the right to a minority hearing on vote-by-mail legislation introduced by Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., after the Subcommittee Chairwoman, Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., denied his request to hear testimony from the Director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University, Curtis Gans, and a Resident Scholar at American Enterprise Institute, Norman J. Orstein.


In a letter dated October 10, 2007 to Lofgren, McCarthy proposed that the minority have an opportunity to provide an equal number of witnesses, and noted the importance of non-partisan processes when debating and enacting laws that pertain to Federal elections stating, “the American people deserve nothing less than to be fully apprised of the arguments on both sides of these important issues.”


At today’s hearing, Chairwoman Lofgren attempted to defend her decision to deny experts with the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee. “The ratio of witnesses in committees throughout the Congress is three-to-one,” she noted. “Certainly, the majority preserves the right to set the agenda in the Congress.”


In recent years, the Committee on House Administration has practiced uniformity with witnesses participating in hearings that pertain to federal elections. However, the recent practice of denying the Subcommittee a chance to hear from expert witnesses has forced the Ranking Member to invoke the right to a separate hearing so that the Subcommittee may hear from experts on both sides of the issue.


In McCarthy’s letter dated October 16, 2007, requesting a minority hearing, he states, “although the testimony of the panel members you have assembled will likely be valuable, it is essential that the Committee examine other perspectives. We feel that a minority day is our only option to ensure that we create a balanced record.”


For more information, contact the Republican Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.