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Rogers Opening Statement at Election Security Hearing

August 28, 2020

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), House Homeland Security Committee ranking member, gave the following opening statement at a committee hearing entitled “Protecting America’s Democracy: Ensuring Every Vote Counts.”
The Ranking Member’s remarks as prepared for delivery below:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I first want to congratulate Representative Mike Garcia on his election to Congress and his appointment to the Committee on Homeland Security.

Prior to Congress, Representative Garcia graduated from the Naval Academy, flew over 30 combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was a successful businessman in the private sector.

His experiences and wealth of knowledge will surely benefit this Committee. Thank you for your continued service to our nation.

Mr. Chairman, I am disappointed that we are holding this hearing today.

This Committee has a tendency to hold hearings outside of our jurisdiction, and today is no exception. We have no oversight or legislative role over the United States Postal Service. The Committee of jurisdiction held a hearing on this topic earlier this week. The House already rushed through legislation over the weekend, which leaves me wondering what we’re doing here today.

We’ve already held five election security hearings delving into issues in our jurisdiction, such as protecting election infrastructure from foreign interference and cybersecurity threats. But based on today’s testimony, we won’t be talking about actual election security.

It’s clear the only reason we’re having this hearing is to further the Democrat’s crazy postal conspiracy.

Despite what the Democrats say, the Postmaster General is not conspiring with the President to suppress the vote.

Actions taken to retire sorting machines and reallocate collection boxes were put in place long before the current Postmaster General took over.

In fact, under the Obama administration, over 12,000 collection boxes were removed and more than 80 mail facilities were closed.

One of the Democrats favorite games these days is to oppose anything that happens under President Trump, even when President Obama did the same thing.

The facts are that the Post Office is more than capable of delivering ballots to voters and returning them to election officials in a timely manner.

The problem isn’t with the Post Office. It’s with the states. 

As the Post Office explained in three separate letters to state election officials this year, setting unrealistic deadlines for ballot requests and submissions could result in ballots not being delivered in time to be counted.

You can blame the Post Office all you want, but when states like New York mail out over 30,000 ballots the day before an election, not even Superman could deliver them on time. 

The fact is there is no perfect way to vote. Each method poses risk for fraud, manipulation, or error.

But vote-by-mail has to be the least secure method we have of voting.

Vote-by-mail requires election officials to send ballots to every voter, regardless of whether the voter requested one.  

This is a tremendous administrative undertaking, especially for states trying to implement this system before November. It took Washington state, nearly 10 years to fully implement its system.

One of the biggest challenges is ensuring voting rolls are up to date before any ballots are sent. If they’re not, live ballots will be sent to individuals who may not be eligible to vote, or may not even be alive for that matter. 

This is a real problem. 

Los Angeles was recently ordered by a court to remove 1.5 million inactive voters from their rolls.

Once a vote-by mail ballot leaves the election officials, nothing is done to ensure it’s received by the right voter. And that is only exacerbated when states allow ballots to be returned in unmonitored drop boxes. 

With no way to ensure chain of custody, drop boxes only encourage election fraud and illegal ballot harvesting. 

We should also worry about the staggering number of ballots rejected in vote-by-mail elections.

In California this year, over 100,000 vote-by-mail ballots were rejected.

The Washington Post reports that “534,731 ballots were disqualified in 23 states in the 2020 primary season.”

NPR reports that “558,032 ballots that were rejected in 30 states.”

All of these were vote-by-mail ballots.

For everyone worried about making sure that every vote counts, this should scare you.

It should also scare you that many states have procedures in place that enable ballots to be returned well after election day.

In New York, it took 6 weeks to certify the primary election results for two of our colleagues. In California, it currently takes over a month to certify election results.

How long will it take states to certify the results this November? How long will Americans have to wait to know who their President will be because of vote-by-mail issues?

CISA has noted that delayed election results present a prime opportunity to spread disinformation and undermine public confidence in the election. 

If Democrats truly want to ensure every vote counts and protect the integrity of our election process, they should end this ridiculous postal conspiracy.

They should work with us to encourage states to –

  • put in place realistic deadlines for mail-in voting;
  • pass laws to prohibit ballot harvesting; and
  • implement procedures to certify election results quickly and accurately.  

Mr. Chairman, it’s important that one message leaves this Committee today.

And that is: every eligible American has the right to vote and a responsibility to do so this November.

I yield back.