WASHINGTON – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) joins The Daily Signal Podcast to discuss election policies that are ripe for fraud, what states are doing right, and what can be done to secure election infrastructure.
CLICK HERE to listen to Davis’ full interview with The Daily Signal’s Rachel del Guidace or read excerpts below.
Davis explains how California’s election policies, including mailing a live ballot to every registered voter when the state hasn’t updated their voter rolls in more than 20 years and then combining that with legalized ballot harvesting, is so concerning.
Rep. Rodney Davis: Well, Rachel, it’s great to be on with you.
Del Guidice: Well, as the election is just now days away, I want to talk to you about is election security at stake, given the huge increase in mail-in voting and absentee voting that we’re seeing this election?
Davis: I think that’s on a state-by-state basis. If you look at states like Illinois, I’m glad that we have a process that does not mail live ballots out to every registered voter…
Even at the same time, when you look at California, there has been estimated over a million erroneously registered voters in Los Angeles County alone as of May of this year.
But because of some of the corrupt public officials in that state, they’re going to mail live ballots out to those erroneously registered individuals. That’s ripe for fraud.
We saw it happen in North Carolina’s 9th District in the last election, when ballot harvesting fraud was committed by a Republican operative. And we know what’s going to happen elsewhere and California just seems to decide to take it to the next level.
Expanding mail-in voting takes years to implement correctly. Yet, Democrats want to force states to expand mail-in voting in a matter of months as we saw in H.R. 1, the Heroes Act, and Heroes 2.0.
Del Guidice: Congressman, what’s your perspective on the push we’ve seen? I think a large part of it has been due to coronavirus, with the huge push we’ve seen for all-mail voting as a substitute for going to the polls and casting one’s vote at the polls.
Davis: I think before we ever have a discussion on vote by mail in a universal way throughout this country, we have to go talk to the voters. Fifty-nine percent of the voters polled want to vote on Election Day at their polling place. So we have to take that into consideration before anybody tries to nationalize the election process.
There are some states that have implemented fully vote-by-mail systems. But when you look at those systems, even Secretary of State of Washington state Kim Wyman, who helped implement one of those systems, she says it takes a minimum of five years to get a system in place.
Democrats have tried to do it in less than a year, and it would have failed if they would have been successful.
Illinois vs. California’s election policies. Illinois is doing it right by mailing ballot requests instead of live ballots to every registered voter.
Del Guidice: Has your state of Illinois experienced any situations of voter fraud when it comes to mail-in or absentee voting?
Davis: There’s always instances of fraud that we’re worried about. But Illinois, I’ve got to give Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature some credit, they came together and put together a COVID response that still has an emphasis on Election Day voting, polling place locations.
They mailed absentee ballot requests, mail-in ballot requests that we used to call no-fault absentee, rather than mailing live ballots.
But it’s those states like California that I think should concern a lot of Americans. That’s what the President talks about when he talks about it’s ripe for fraud.
Rachel, at a recent hearing, I had [California] Secretary of State Alex Padilla as one of the Democratic witnesses. He couldn’t even commit to me that he had removed already identified deceased individuals from the voter rolls in California. That’s just corruption at its highest level.
Del Guidice: Did he not know or did he just not want to disclose to you? What was his reasoning? What did he say?
Davis: He would not answer that they had been removed and did not commit to do that, either. Along with the already identified hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of erroneously registered voters in the state of California that now are going to get a live ballot sent to their address.
Del Guidice: Congressman Davis, can you walk us through some of the documented security vulnerabilities and problems that you’re familiar with that can happen with mail-in or absentee ballots?
Davis: Well, when you look at states like California, and this is also what the Democrats in Washington in the House have tried to implement nationwide—actually, as recently as the last stimulus bill that passed with zero Republican support and 18 Democrats voting against it with us just a few weeks ago. It had 71 pages of election law changes that would have been permanent. It’s not a pandemic response.
In those changes, ballot harvesting would have been legal nationwide in this election. When they passed that bill, the election in Illinois had already started with early voting and mail-in voting. That’s their priority.
Now, what has happened in states like California, you have a live ballot sent to every registered voter. Then there’s a list of every registered voter who gets that ballot. You have ballot brokers, political operatives that go to the doors where they know these ballots have been mailed, and they ask the voter, “Can we see that? Can we have that ballot? Have you cast it? Don’t worry. We’ll take it to the polling place for you.”
Well, that process was already disrupted and part of a fraudulent scheme in North Carolina, so much so that we didn’t seat the Republican member of Congress because of the fraud.
But here’s the irony, Rachel. In the last election, if that Republican operative would have done the exact same thing in California, [it] would have been legal.
Davis discusses the need to pass, H.R. 5707, the Protect American Voters Act (PAVA), his bill to strengthen the security of voter registration systems and the EASE Act to encourage a new generation of poll workers to protect our election process.
Del Guidice: Well, on that note, and just practically speaking, what would you encourage voters to do who maybe will be going to the polls, if they see something that looks suspicious? Or even poll workers—I know a lot of people, friends of mine, even family, who will be poll workers. …
I know the poll workers are trained, but if people who are voting see something suspicious, is there anything that you would encourage them to do?
Davis: Yeah. I would encourage them to contact their local election official. If that local election official doesn’t take it seriously, reach out to the campaign of somebody you know who’s running for office in that jurisdiction, so that possible error or that possible fraud that may have been witnessed can be reported to your state election authorities, too.
I’m really glad that we had an announcement just a few days ago from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who happens to be one of the most honorable people I’ve ever met and had the chance to serve with.
He talked about how voter registration systems have been hacked into and information had been gotten through ill-gotten means by countries like Iran and Russia.
We need to do more to make sure that we protect non-voting machine types of technology, too. We don’t require at the federal level certain standards to be met by states to house e-poll books or voter registration databases. That’s something we ought to have bipartisan support on.
When you look at the voting machines, they have to meet a certain set of standards before they’re even allowed to be placed in a polling place. But voter registration systems that are online and meant to be used to make sure somebody doesn’t try and vote twice or more than that, they don’t follow those same guidelines.
We need to look in the future to make sure that they do and avoid having Director Ratcliffe and Director of the FBI [Christopher] Wray have to do a press conference to tell the American people about it.
Del Guidice: When it comes to looking into the future and future congresses with your colleagues in the House, is there any legislation you’d like to highlight or things you would like to do, particularly in years to come, that would address voter fraud?
Davis: We’ve had numerous pieces of legislation that we’ve introduced, and they’ve fallen on deaf ears with the Democratic majority, because their priority is just to nationalize our elections and actually legalize ballot harvesting nationwide, something that we’ve already seen is ripe with fraud.
So it’s protecting our state and local election officials right now from what the Democrats have tried to do this entire Congress, and tried to do just as recently as two weeks ago to really disrupt our current election.
But as we look ahead, we’ve got to have standards in place for our non-voting machine technology like voter registration databases.
We’ve got to make sure that we invest in getting poll workers to the polls that are going to be the next generation of poll workers, because right now, the average poll worker is 65 years and over. They’re most at risk during this pandemic.
So we need to encourage young people to get engaged in the process and be our eyes and ears in the polling places. We can do that by helping them pay down their student debt.
Now, if that happens, having eyes and ears on the ground and well-trained individuals and young people who are excited to be a part of this process in the polling places, you know what? You’re going to cut down on fraud at the polling places and at the counting stations where mail-in ballots are returned, exponentially more than what you could if we continue to have a shortage of poll workers.
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