The house committee on elections will please come to order. Members please take your seats. As always, the chair would like to extend his thanks to the pages who are here with us today. They include Leah Leek, Chris Myers, Ben Perry, and Rachel Zimmerman. Would you raise your hand? Thank you so much for your time for being with us today. And of course, the chair extends his thanks to our Sargent at Arms staff, Fred Hines, Young Bay, Patrick Mason, and Charles Godwin and last but not least of course to our staff who is here to support us. The order of business today this committee will here house bill 490 Lee County elections and then we will move into a time of receiving expert testimony on the topic of voter ID. With that the chair is going to now move into house bill 490. It is the chair's understanding that there is a proposed committee substitute for this bill, and that that bill has been passed out. Representative Burr moves that the proposed committee substitute for house bill 490 be before the committee for discussion. Seeing no objection it is so ordered and Representative Stone is recognize for the purpose of explaining house bill 490. You have the floor sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chair, thank you elections committee. Today we have house bill 490 and basically what the bill does, is it take city county elections and make those partisan and it takes our board of elections, our board of school board elections, and makes those partisan and when we would normally have an election in May, it moves it to November where the majority of voters show up. There was some technical changes , and mister chair at this time with your pleasure we'd like to have the staff go over those changes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] If staff would address the changes between the original house bill 490 and the proposed committee substitute that is before us. Recognize Ms. Quick. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chair. The only changes from the original bill to the pcs are purely technical, there are no substantive changes. You want me to go over those I can. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Stone do you have further remarks sir? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I just want to advise the chair that I know of three people that's here from the city of Sanford, and one from the school board that would like to speak to the committee at the given time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. If with the committee's indulgence,while we usually have committee discussion first, since we do have three guests from the Lee County and at the request of bill sponsor, the chair is going to invite those form Lee to speak at this time. Without objection, we will move in that direction, first from Sanford city council. I understand we have both the major and the major pro-temp. The chair would like to invite you the microphone at the rear of the room and if the Sargent at Arms could make sure microphone is on. If you would please begin your remarks by stating your name and your title. He's on the way to get your mic on right now. And we are glad that you're here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mister chairman, members of the committee, and our Representatives Stone and McManus. Our city council met last night and for many of us it was the first time that we'd heard of this bill, and when we discussed it we decided to pass a resolution. And mister chairman, I have to repeat this many times and why I forgot it I don't know, I'm Corneal Olive, and I'm the mayor of Sanford. But we passed a resolution which we'd be glad to share with you, not because we didn't know about the bill, but because for as long as we can remember, our city has run under a non-partisan system, and it's run so well, and it's also has not been assessed.
...with politics. So many of the things that we do as a city are not politically related. As one of our council members said, "There's not much political about potholes." We are very concerned about our infrastructure and we work very had at it. We are in a situation that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. There's so many issues that this entails, but I won't belabor this today. I will send you a copy of our resolution. Right now, we don't have to worry about who is going, what party is going to be in and if we have a vacancy who's going to be appointed to be a replacement. These are issues that are of great concern to us. We don't want to politicize city council. Thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Madam Mayor, and I believe we that the Mayor Pro Tempore, as well. If we have the Mayor Pro Tempore, sir, please step to the mic and identify yourself and we'd be glad to receive your remarks. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. My name is Sam Gaskins, Mayor Pro Tempore. I've noticed there are several of you from Guilford County. I am an associate professor of chemistry at Guilford County, so I'm frequently next door to you. You may be considering something similar. But traditionally, as the Mayor mentioned, in North Carolina the municipalities and schools are non-partisan elections. Again, we just learned about this two days ago, so we really haven't had the opportunity to discuss this or hear from our citizens. Actually, we would like to have you consider giving our citizens the opportunity to speak, if nothing else, possibly as a referendum. But for this particularly, we would look and ask for you to oppose this, vote against it, or at least delete section 3. Again, this is rather short notice for us. We did have the opportunity last night to be exposed to it. And if you could, I know there were changes that were made. Again, we know very little about this bill and would greatly appreciate having any changes read to us. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I also believe, the Chair believes that there is a representative from the Lee County Board of Education and if so, we'd certainly welcome your remarks, ma'am. You have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Chairman Lewis, members of the committee. My name is Tamra Rogen. I'm a member of the Lee County Board of Education. I'm a republican member of the board and we have a republican leaning board, but that is not, has anything to do with the decisions we make as a board of education. Our decisions are solely based on what is best for the children that we serve and partisan politics has nothing to do with it. We think about what is going to be best for our community, what's going to be best for our children, and that's the type of decisions we make. So I'm going to ask you to please vote against this bill and oppose it. I just found out about this bill yesterday. We have not had a chance, as a board, to talk about this bill. We have not had a chance to discuss this with our citizens, as Mr. Gaskins has said. And I ask that you please oppose this bill or strike out section 1 and 2 until we have a chance at least to talk about it as a board and talk about it with our community. Once again, we do not make any decisions based on partisan politics about our students, about our children. Our decisions always based on what's best for our children and I could see how this could really make relations messy between board members and I really feel that the children of our county would suffer if this bill goes forward. So please ask you to please oppose this bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Stone, did you wish to add anything at this time? If not, we'll move into the committee discussion. Representative McManus, please state your purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak to the bill, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The lady is recognized to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I also represent part of Lee County, only about a quarter of the county but actually about 65% the town of Sanford. I'm very much against this bill. I think that it is inappropriate for us to be making decisions for local governments and local boards of education when we have so much State business that is our responsibility. The boards were not in support of this, they do not want it, they were unaware and I think it is wrong for us to take this action. I would...
[Speaker changes.] ...ask that you please oppose this. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Ma'am. Representative Michaux, please state your purpose. [Speaker changes.] Let me ask the staff a question...is Lee County a Section 5 County? [Speaker changes.] Mister Cohen??????? [Speaker changes.] Yes, it is, Representative Michaux. [Speaker changes.] Well...and you got the mayor and a mayor pro tem...and board of education opposin' it? I think that sorta speaks for itself...if it goes through here, you gonna' have problems elsewhere with it...can tell ya' that now. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Representative Michaux...Representative Iler, please state your purpose. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Mister Chairman...to make a comment on the bill. [Speaker changes.] The gentleman is recognized to comment on the bill. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Mister Chairman...my county, Brunswick, is one of the counties listed as partisan elections for the school board ?????? municipalities ?????? most of them do not have partisan elections; however, I can tell you that our elections produce a lot of candidates running for individual slots on the board and not necessarily just the top vote getters like a lottery...like some of the counties, like just the top three vote getters out of 14-15 whatever it might be...might be elected so I'm in favor of keeping our county on a partisan basis and I'm in favor of any other county that would do that to take a look at it...and I'm really more concerned, Mister Chairman and Representative Stone, I'm really more concerned about the people, givin' them a choice and lettin' them know more about the candidates, how they may stand. I think party labels do have meaning...I think they do have information for the voters and I think that non-partisan elections do not and I'm in favor of partisan elections; however, being aware that most of the municipalities are non-partisan at this time. But there again, that's just in my county. Thank you. [Speaker changes.] Thank you. Representative Harrison, please state your purpose. [Speaker changes.] To ask a question of the bill's sponsor...or the Staff actually. I think it's for the Staff. [Speaker changes.] The lady may propose her inquiry. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Mister Chair, I just was wondering cause we have a similar proposal for Guilford County, how many boards of education are partisan in the state? Is it that list that's in the original bill or is...are there more? [Speaker changes.] On page one, lines 23 and 24 are all except Winston/Salem, Forsyth is also partisan. Or I'm told it's a 15 currently. [Speaker changes.] Mister Chairman. [Speaker changes.] Representative Stam, please state your purpose. [Speaker changes.] I think Representative ????????...I mean Mister Cohen could answer a question for me. [Speaker changes.] Representative Stam, you are recognized to pose your inquiry to Mr. Cohen. [Speaker changes.] Yeah, Mr. Cohen, there was some county or city, maybe it was ??????????? that tried to go from partisan to non-partisan and the US Justice Department stopped them. Am I right? [Speaker changes.] Yes, although later after it went through court, the Justice Department withdrew its objection [Speaker changes.] Representative Avila, please state your purpose. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Mister Chairman, I'd like to ask a question of Representative Iler. [Speaker changes.] Will the gentleman yield? [Speaker changes.] I yield. [Speaker changes.] He yields. You're recognized. [Speaker changes.] Thank you. When Brunswick County went partisan, can you tell me what the process was? [Speaker changes.] I can't because it's been partisan since I been there...almost 15 years. [Speaker changes.] May I redirect that question to Staff, Mister Chairman? [Speaker changes.] Would anyone on Staff like to speak to that? [Speaker changes.] I believe it was changed in 1981. Brunswick went through, in the late seventies, early eighties, several sequences over three or four sessions where it kept being changed from one method to another with local bills with the eventual one, the current system was in the early to mid-eighties when it went to the current system, I understand. [Speaker changes.] Follow up on that? [Speaker changes.] The lady is recognized. [Speaker changes.] Could you clarify if there was a referendum or is this was just an edict that was passsed. What kind of selection process was used? [Speaker changes.] I'm told there was not a referendum in Brunswick County on that issue. [Speaker changes.] Representative Iler, please state your purpose. [Speaker changes.] One additional comment. [Speaker changes.] The gentleman is recognized to comment on the bill. [Speaker changes.] Again, I'm not sure I...first meaning of the question from Representative Avila...
Another meeting could be the process we have now. We have a five-member Board of Education and they represent five different districts in the county, the same as the commissioner districts. So we don't have everybody from one town or from one area of the county. They're spread throughout the county. But they answer as far as election day, they're voted on by the entire county. But they also have their districts and they're scattered out among them. They have to live in those districts. That's one advantage also. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Floyd, please state your purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill, Mr. Speaker. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The gentleman is recognized to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair, I think that, I understand what Representative Starnes is attempting to do. At the same time, I understand you know, the citizens and what they are simply, you know they're asking is for number one, time. And number two is so, ?? referendum. And that the people you know, decide. So I think that those are the two questions there so they can be involved in the process. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Speciale please state your purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The gentleman is recognized to speak on the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Everyone here knows that there's no such thing as non-partisan elections. We all find out who these people are and what they stand for based on party affiliation and everything else. All he's doing here, it appears to me, is try to let the people know which train of thought with regard to government that these people are. It has nothing to do with how the Board of Aldermen or whatever they're called is going to do their job. It has nothing to do with how the mayor does their job, other than their political ideology. It gives you an idea how, I like to know what party someone is, because it gives me a basic idea of which way, if I don't know anything else about them, it gives me an idea of which way they lean. Larger government, smaller government, whatever the differences are. It gives me that idea. I think personally every election should be partisan so we know the political ideology of the people that are running for office and that includes the judges. I urge you to support this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moore, please state your purpose. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, I know we have a pretty packed agenda. This is a local bill. I feel Lee County is a great place but it's a Lee County issue and the Representatives ask for it. I move for favorable to the PCS and unfavorable to the original. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moore has moved that the proposed Committee Substitute for House Bill 490 be given a favorable report, unfavorable to the original bill. Further discussion or debate. Seeing none, those who favor the motion will signify by saying aye. Those who oppose will signify by saying no. In the opinion of the Chair, the ayes have it and the motion carries. The Chair would like to take a brief moment of personal privilege if I could, and introduce my wife Michelle, who is here today. [APPLAUSE] At this time we're going to move into a series of expert presentations. The Chair invited, the Chair through staff ask quite a few folks who had expertise both in voter ID, how it came to be and more importantly how it is administered to come and to speak to you and to share information that they have and then we want to allow time in the end for there to be inquiries to these experts. With that said, I will go as quickly as I can through the introductions. Our first presenter will be the Georgia Secretary of State, Bryan Kemp. Secretary Kemp is here today and has served as Secretary of State since January of 2010. Prior to that, he was a member of the Georgia State Senate and has a very long and distinguished career. The Chair will make Secretary Kemp's bio part of the record but will not take time right now to read it in its entirety. With that sir, Secretary Kemp, welcome sir. We're glad you're here. We appreciate your time and you have the floor.
Good Afternoon. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me the opportunity to be here. As you said in my introduction, as a former legislator, I certainly appreciate the job all of you have to do representing your individual districts. That being said, I'm not really here today to try to sway you one way or another on the legislation you're considering here, but really to just share with you some facts and data post-photo ID law in Georgia, and certainly I'll be glad to take any questions about my personal view on this matter as we conclude, if you would like me to. In 2006, the State of Georgia enacted Senate Bill 84, which requires voters who cast their ballot in person to do that with 1 of 6 forms of acceptable ID. As I mentioned, I was in the legislature when we passed this matter, so I was fairly educated on what we were doing at the time, and have been Secretary of State, kind of, post-implementation, and post-legal challenges in the last 3 years. The forms of ID that we accept in Georgia are Driver's License, any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including the free photo ID card that we issue in Georgia by the County Registrars, or the Department of Driver's Services, of course the US Passport, valid photo IDs from different branches of government, or agencies including the US Government, Georgia State Government, counties, municipalities, boards, authorities, and other entities. Also, military IDs, and tribunal IDs are accepted. If a voter comes to the polls and forgets to bring their photo ID, they're not turned away. They are still able to cast a provisional ballot. We never turn voters away at the polls because they do not have a photo ID. They're allowed to vote provisionally, and then they have 3 days after the election to go back to their county, present their photo ID, and then if they do that, their vote will be counted. A little bit of background information, just post-legislation passing. There was a great deal done to raise awareness. The Secretary of State's office created a website about the photo ID requirement, the free voter ID cards, and how to access those at the county level, and with the Department of Driver's Services. As far as the outreach and education, there was also a lot done to make the public aware of this requirement. I think, being 6, 7 years done the road now since the implementation, I think there is a lot more public awareness about photo ID, certainly then there was in 2006. But there was a big educational campaign that was held in Georgia prior to the 6 elections between September of 2007 and the November 2008 general election, which as your all know was a presidential race. Some of the things that we've done, we had mail and utility bill inserts, over 5 million pieces. We were sending out packages of information to non-government agencies like Chamber of Commences, churches, etcetera. We did automated calls, video PSAs, radio PSAs, and then certainly the Secretary of State's office was issuing press releases about the requirements as well. Some of the highlights that we had from the educational standpoint, over 5000 radio PSAs within Secretary Handle and the Atlanta Falcons players. They really raised awareness about this, also raising awareness about other important deadlines like voter registration and early voting. Also, the Falcons home games featured LED banners so the fans could have access to that. There were radio ads purchased statewide, TV ads doing things in conjunction with the Atlanta Braves and other stations across the state. Then we also had ads running on the mass transit buses in Atlanta.
To raise awareness, some of the numbers which I think really help as you go through your decision making process and keep in mind that the Georgia probably in 2006, we had you know probably about, north of 9 million people living in the state, now we are closer to 10 million and in that whole period of time that we have been issuing the free photo id, voter id cards at the county level or the department of drivers services, we only issued 29,611 photo id in the state of you know 10 million people. We have almost 6 million people in our voter rolls and you can see in 2008 obviously that was the first presidential election year post photo ids and we had at the time before last two years the majority of ids we issued wasn't at presidential election year. And you can see as well this year in 2012 we had a little uptick with 3600 you know compared to the other governors race in 2010 when we had about 2700 voter id cards issued. I will tell you too on a side note we had alot of the some of our bigger county election officials that complain now that there is alot of people coming in to get the free photo id not because of voting purposes, but use it for other means, cashing checks, that is prohibited. This card is only suppose to be used for voting but word has gotten out on the streets that you can get a picture id if you are registered to vote. You can do it at the county licensing office so some of the id cards that were issued those people are not using them for voting but for other purposes and we don't know the number of that but that just complaints we hear from our local election officials. This is the number of photo ids that our department of drivers services or our drivers license issuing entity in Georgia state government. They have only issued less than 12,000 so the majority of this is done at the county level. The uh this slide really gives you some figures on the photo id cards which we really have gone over and I mentioned third bullet point there that we had had an little increase this year because it was a presidential race. When you start to analyzing the votes we have counted, Georgia has cast more than 18 million votes in 38 state, federal, state and federal elections since 2007 when this legislation was implemented and started using. This does not include our municipal and county elections that are often times held in off years of state and federal elections so we have had this requirement and in many many elections in the state. When you analyze the votes cast, I think these are probably some of the most interesting numbers when you start comparing first the 2004 to the 2008 general election. When you are looking at the presidential race, you can see that post 2004 non photo id and 2008 when you had to have a photo id to vote in person. The hispanic Latino increase was 140%, African American 42% and the white was 8%. When you look at 2012 numbers, there was an increase of 20.5% hispanic Latino vote this year, 2.5% with African American and 4% with whites. So even you know obviously the first year , first presidential race after the legislation was implemented, the numbers were really huge with minority participation increasing very high levels but even since then in the last in this years presidential election those number continue to go up. As far as turn out and number of statistics we kind of went over that again comparing to 2006 to 2010, which was a gubernatorial year, you still had a large increase in hispanic Latino votes 66 and a half percent and African American.
Participation increased 44.2%. That was in a gubernatorial. Comparing to 2006 when we didn’t have photo ID to 2010 when we did. Also, when you look at the revisional ballot. That’s one of those things that people talk about a lot. How many people end up having to vote provisional ballots? The number is very small. In GA, when you look at the general election in 2008, which was the presidential race. We had almost 4 million people vote in the state and we had less than 1200 of them that actually came to the polls and did not have their photo ID and they had to vote a provisional ballot. Very very small number. When you look at the 2010 general election, which again was again the governor’s race was the top ballot on the ticket. We had in the primary a million, a little over a million people voted. We had only 204 people who came to the polls without their photo ID and had to vote a provisional ballot. Then when you look at the general election in 2010, about 2.5 million people voted, less than 400 had to vote provisional ballots because they lacked a photo ID. Another interesting number from this year was our March 6th presidential preference primary. We had about a million people vote. Obviously, most of those people voting were on the Republican side. We did have some special elections on that day as well around the state. We had million people that voted. 103 did not have their photo ID. The reasons that folks may vote the provisional ballot and then not come back to show their photo ID, I think can vary. Probably the obvious biggest reason is the race is decided by a large amount of votes. They just feel like, my vote’s not going to really matter if I go back. Some people obviously want their vote to count no matter what the circumstance. I think others when the race is decided just decide not to go back and show their ID so their vote can be counted. Obviously others should not have been voting in the first place and did not have the proper documents to be able to vote. Another interesting number that I think tells a lot about showing a photo ID when you vote in person. In GA, we have an absentee process 45 days before all of these general elections, either the primary or the November election in the state. Even with the photo ID requirement you see that GA citizens they like to vote in person. The number continues to get larger as the years go by. In most elections we’re voting anywhere from 92 to almost 95 % of our people are showing up either on election day or in early voting when you’re actually voting in person on one of our electronic voting machines and you have to show your photo ID. I was going to go through real quickly just some of our legal challenges. I know that’s an issue that is talked about as this type of legislation is considered. In September of 2007, Judge Harold Murphy in the US District Court dismissed a challenge to a photo ID law brought by common cause finding that the law imposed no undue burden on the right to vote. In January of 2009, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Murphy’s decision noting that quote, “the interest in detecting and deterring voter fraud is a valid neutral justification that this court cannot ignore.” Additional information on legal challenges, in March 2011 the GA Supreme Court upheld the photo ID’s law’s, the law’s constitutionality in a challenge brought by the Democratic Party of GA. GA’s photo ID law has now withstood challenges in the Fulton County Superior Court, the US District Court, the US Court of Appeals, and the GA Supreme Court. Quick slide just on the cost of this. I think some of the things that we did in GA. Being one of the first states to do this, when there wasn’t a lot of information about this. We probably did more than we really had to. I think out of an abundance of (??) we wanted to make sure that our citizens understood the requirements of photo ID…
[Speaker changes.] ...It was first implemented. The initial contract was a little less than $600,000. That was puttin' a laptop and a small camera and printer in the County Elections Offices so we could do the photo ID's...free photo ID's there. There was less than $300,000 for training, which a lot of the money we're gonna spend regardless but that was somethin' that we focused on with our training that year with the county elections officials. There was also some online training and then the outreach in education part is...I'm sorry, forgot to ???? that slide...is basically the cost of the advertising campaign and the different ads and things that were done...just that cost. And, Mister Chairman, that concludes my presentation. I don't know if you want me to take questions now or yield to later time. [Speaker changes.] It was the Chair's intent to allow a few inquiries at this time and then to come back if the Secretary would allow that. The Chair saw Representative Floyd's hand first and then Representative Iler so Representative Floyd did you wish to pose... [Speaker changes.] Two questions, Mister Chair. [Speaker changes.] You have the floor. [Speaker changes.] One, can the staff provide us with a copy of this presentation? [Speaker changes.] I assume you don't have any objection to that Mr. Secretary? [Speaker changes.] It will be done, sir. [Speaker changes.] Question number two is that you mentioned that some individuals get free ID and use them to cash checks. I think it numbered like 3000...somewhere in that proximity...so I want to...someone that could check, research the records cause they got an ID, their name and address is also on that so if you peruse the books, you can see what percentage of those persons that received the ID actually voted. [Speaker changes.] Right. I may have not been clear enough on that. We don't know the number of people that get a free photo ID to be used for other purposes. We know the number of photo ID's that we give out. We could certainly try...I believe the number...the people that get photo ID's that don't vote, I don't know that we've ever done that. My comment about cashin' checks or usin' those ID's for other purposes was just what I'm hearin' from the county elections officials...that they know people that are comin' in at the local level, gettin' a free ID and they're not voting in the elections there. [Speaker changes.] Follow up, Mister Chair. It's just a matter of just seein'...not necessarily what you said to cash checks, but just to see if they receive an ID...are they actually voting once they receive the ID? [Speaker changes.] I believe that most of the people are but I think, from what we're...we hear from very trusted local elections officials that we work with, there are people that get 'em and use 'em for other purposes. [Speaker changes.] Follow up, Mister Chair? Last question. [Speaker changes.] Yes, sir... [Speaker changes.] I understand what you're sayin' but I'm equally concerned that...so it can help us...that those individuals who receive ID's are actually voting. Not necessarily what "trusted people" have said...I'm not disagreeing with that at all...I just want.. [Speaker changes.] So, is your concern then, that they get the ID and they're not allowed to vote? [Speaker changes.] No, they get the ID and are not voting. [Speaker changes.] Right. [Speaker changes.] And that's...it's a concern whether or not they...that way you can say confidence that those persons are perhaps usin' it for other purposes. [Speaker changes.] right. [Speaker changes.] Representative Iler. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Mister Chairman. Thank you, Mister Secretary. ???? comin' out from Georgia...I have family there...I haven't heard no controversy about this at all from them; however, my question, sir, is there someone at the polling places who has to make a determination that this ID looks like the person standing in front of them? How does that work? [Speaker changes.] Yes, well, when you come in and check in...you know we have an electronic poll book, so you have somebody sittin' at a computer so when you go in the polling location, the voter has to fill out a voter certificate and then you take that and your photo ID and you go up and you give that to the person workin' at the polls or the early voting location. They will verify the photo ID and then they will..there's a place on our certificate where they check that they checked the photo ID and then they initial that and then they'll find you in the poll book...they'll give you your ID back and then you get your card where you can go vote on the machine... [Speaker changes.] mmmm....Mister Chairman...
You're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, if the picture does not look like the person that someone there who is charged with making the determination and what happens if whoever that is determines they do not look like it? Is it provisional or what? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. That's a very good question. Our county person that's in charge of that polling location if somebody- if the photo ID does not match- they'll get the poll manager over there. They'll make a determination. If there is not a clear resolution of that, where they have another photo ID or something of that nature, the person would be allowed to proved a provisional ballot until we can determine whether the voter was who they said they were, and were eligible. They would not be turned away from voting though. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Thank you Representative Jones. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chair, miss secretary. I'm sitting behind you and let me just first of all join my colleagues and say welcome the North Carolina, and thank you for being here. My mother's from Georgia and next the state of North Carolina, that's where most of my relatives live, and I've spent a fair amount of time there over the years, and it's a great state, and reminds me very much of our state, very similar in size, and demographics, and I've always been very impressed with that correlation. And that's why some your numbers I found very fascinating. I just wanted to go back over some maybe some of your experience, since you were in the state senate at the time. One thing you pointed out was that less than 30,000 voter IDs have been issued, and virtually a seven year period, since 2006. We've been presented with estimates of over 600,000 people that some people seem to think we're going to need to issue these IDs for, and I find it fascinating that apparently the people of North Carolina are 20 times more likely not to have an ID than the people of Georgia, and I also found it fascinating when you brought out the percentage of voter increase, particularly in the minority community. We're being told by many of our folks here that we're disenfranchising these voters, and I guess I just wanted to ask you from your experience, when you were in the Georgia State Senate, were there similar estimates coming out at that time, were you getting similar advice, were the estimates you were hearing at the time were they conservative estimates, were they accurate estimates as it played out? What kind of things were you hearing previous to 2006? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well thank you Representative Jones. I don't remember the numbers that were thrown around in '06 about the number of people that may not have a photo ID. I know that since I've been running for secretary of state and serving in this role, there's always people that quote numbers that are in my opinion very, very high, and the numbers don't seem to turn out to be as high as sometimes quoted. My personal opinion, I don’t know the numbers here in North Carolina, and I don't know or remember the numbers that were quoted in Georgia, but I just believe that this day and time, that the majority of our citizens have a photo ID, and if they don't have one, and are motivated to vote, or if they're having to go through the airport, or do anything else in Georgia, you got to show a photo ID and actually getting in government buildings, and you wear a name-tag that has your photo ID on it so I don't believe a lot of the numbers will play out. I could be wrong there, but certainly in Georgia, in a state at the time was over 90 million people, we've only had 30,000 people get photo IDs, and there's no question that minority participation in our state has increased greatly. And I think it will continue to do that. There are some people that are not going to vote, they're just never going to vote, no matter what we do. That's hard for me to believe that people think that way, but I think also people who do want to vote will be involved in the process. It's very easy. I know in Georgia, to get a photo ID, even if you don't have one, and certainly in our state, you don't have to have a photo ID to vote absentee by mail as well. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up mister chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The gentleman is recognizes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I also wanted to ask mister secretary if I could, a little bit about the cost to the state. You mentioned in one of your slides that the cost per ID was about $9 per card, I think maybe $9.50 in the current year, so it appears Georgia has probably spent less.
300 thousand dollars directly in cost, and with the training and other things you mentioned, it sounds like that the cost was relatively minimal in the context. Our annual budget here is about 20 billion dollars, and I assume Georgia’s probably pretty similar. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It is. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Maybe you could just comment on that. We’re being told that this is something that’s going to be extremely expensive to the state, and maybe you could comment on that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well I don’t think the 1.7 million dollars I believe it was that we’ve spent was a lot of money. There’s certain things in my opinion that governments should be spending money on and other things that they shouldn’t. Certainly elections is one of them because that’s what people expect. No matter what side you’re on, everybody wants a fair process, and it’s part of our job, I think, to educate our citizens and make sure that they’re aware of our voting laws and rules. I think some of the cost here would probably be lower when you think about our great state and our great 159 counties that we have. That’s a lot more than most states out there, and we had to buy computers and cameras and the equipment to do the free photo IDs for every county in the state, and certainly I think that would be lower, a lower cost to you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Secretary and thank you Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative. Representative Harrison. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, and thank you for making the trip. I have a quick comment and then two questions. I would suspect that the vast increase from the 2004 to the 2008 numbers in minority participation had a lot to do with President Obama’s investment in the ground game because he put a significant amount of resources into Georgia to turn out the vote. It looked like it dropped off a little bit from 2008 to 2012, but that’s neither here nor there, but it does seem like the increase would be due a lot to that, but my question was related to the expenses of… To follow up on Representative Jones’ question, 1.7 covered both the cost of implementation as well as education? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe that was the total cost, yes ma’am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And just to follow-up, Mr. Chair, how long did you all engage in that campaign of educating the public? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think it was between the 2007 and 2008 election cycle, so it was leading up to the presidential race in 2008. Of course, we still promote that. Every election we’re sending out press releases; “Early voting starts this day. Remember to take your photo ID.” We do that basically in everything that we do leading up to any of the elections, and I think the one point to make: Certainly I think the statement you made is true about President Obama and his ground game, and I think it was also just our citizens, whether they were for the President or against him, they wanted to vote in that race, and those that didn’t have a photo ID, they went and got one. I think the number that I think is good for us is all those people, they now have a photo ID, so they didn’t need one for the ’12 cycle, but there were people that still needed one to vote this year, and they went and got them, and that number increased, which I think is a good thing. It’s still a very small number compared… It’s 36 hundred I think, compared to the 30 thousand that we’d given out in the previous six or seven years. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The ladies recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, and last follow-up. Did you all have documented cases of voter fraud, what percentage of voter fraud that you were responding to, or…? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well the thing about voter fraud pre-photo ID is I don’t know that people knew that fraud was happening because when it used to be that you could vote with somebody’s power bill, if you went by and stole a power bill out of my mailbox and I was somebody that was registered to vote but maybe I hadn’t voted in the last election or two, in my eyes you could target that person for voter fraud. You could swing by there one day, slip the power bill out of there, and you could go in and say this person doesn’t normally vote, and go in and vote in that person’s name, and there’s no way to know that. When they have a photo ID, you know who that person is and that they should be on the rolls and are eligible to vote. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Conrad. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had a couple of questions. For the approximately 30 thousand peoples who did have to primarily go to the Board of Elections and a few to the DMV to get photo ID, what did they have to show as far as documentation? A birth certificate, or what were the steps that they had to go through to obtain the photo ID in Georgia? [SPEAKER CHANGES] There’s a few things in the
The law and the state election board rules that have to be verified for those individuals to get that photo ID. They have to have some sort of photo ID that has their legal name and date of birth on it. They have to have a document showing the person's date of birth - which obviously the first one would have accounted for as well. They have to have evidence that the person is registered to vote, so they have to be a registered voter to get the free photo ID. And any other documentation that shows the persons name or date of birth. [speaker changes] Can I have the follow up mister chairman? [speaker changes] You're recognized. [speaker changes] Also one point of discussion here - I'm very curious as to how the state of Georgia handled this - is with college students. ?? Them to use their student IDs and do you have any way to verify that they are voting both in a local Georgia election while they are attending a university there, and not also voting absentee in their home state or home location. [speaker changes] Right that's a very, very good question and something that we deal with a lot. We do allow student IDs from university system, universities and colleges. Because that's a - as I mentioned in the presentation - that's a government ID. There's also has been legislation proposed in the past years that has not passed allowing private colleges and university IDs as well, which I personally support. It's had a little bit of a hard time in the legislature, but I think if you have a reputable, accredited college or university, even if it's private, in the state and a student has a photo ID my personal belief is we should accept that. What was the last part of that question, I'm sorry. [speaker changes] One concern that we had whether students - I believe after they've been here in North Carolina for 30 days they can register to vote here whether it's a private or a public university. But we have no way of tracking. Say they're from Maryland or Pennsylvania -a lot of our schools like White Forest bring in students from out of state. Perhaps their parents have ordered an absentee ballot for them to also vote a second time at home and they may not be aware that [crosstalk]. [speaker changes] Yeah we've had incidence of people voting in multiple elections, different states, same elections. And we're kinda in a tough spot on that because the federal voter registration laws keep us from removing people from the roles, I think it's 60 days before an election. In Georgia we have a cut off of 30 days before the election to be able to register to vote in that election. So you have that 30 day window that we can't take anybody off the roles but they can still register in Georgia. So we may have somebody that registers in Georgia that would be legally able to vote in Georgia. But say, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, whoever it is, they would be prohibited from removing that person off the roles. So you get into a situation where you can have people that show up on the roles twice. There's some of the things that the states are doing right now to have cross checks and to be able to communicate. That's something we're working on but it can happen. [speaker changes] Representative Michaux. [speaker changes] Thank you mister chairman. mister secretary, just a couple of questions. Started ??. Do you have earlier voting in Georgia. [speaker changes] Yes sir, we have. Previously, to 2010 I believe it was, we had 45 days of no excuse absentee by mail. So you could vote by mail any time 45 days before the election. We also had in-person early voting 45 days before the election. Two years ago the legislature, with my support, changed that to move the 45 day in-person to 21 because our counties were requesting that from a cost saving standpoint. [speaker changes] So [just a moment], you've got a 21 day period for early voting. [speaker changes] For in-person. We also have - [speaker changes] In-person early voting. [speaker changes] 45 days by early mail. [speaker changes] Another question is you indicated: do you have to be registered to get the voter ID that you talked about? [speaker changes] Yes sir, you have to be a registered voter to get the free voter ID card. [speaker changes] You don't have to have the photo ID to be registered? [speaker changes] To get registered in Georgia we have a proof of citizenship law. Just like when you get your driver's license in Georgia you have to prove your citizenship.
You can register to vote through Motor Voter. Obviously, when you get your driver's license you can also register to vote because you've proven your citizenship and meeting all the other requirements at that time, like we know who you are, where you live, those type things. But to get the free photo ID card for voting you do have to be on the voter rolls. And to be on the voter rolls in Georgia, you have to prove all of those things prior to getting on the rolls. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Another question. Have you had any problem with individual... [bell sound] [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That happens when that... [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sure I've gone past my time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, that's the Senate. That... [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Chair will apologize to Representative Michaux and also to the Secretary. The Senate has a herd mentality so you call them the with a cow bell. You have the floor, Sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I can relate to that, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Have you had...you answered my question about fraud, but have you had any problems since you've been requiring photo ID's of individuals who have acquired duplicate photo ID's, that you know of? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Not that I know of. Certainly, that's not really our big concern. I think our big concern is making sure that they have at least one photo ID that meets the requirements so that local elections official can check them in and know that that person that's voting is that person that's on the voter rolls. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. But there is the possibility of an individual who wanted to create a problem to get multiple voter ID's and use them at multiple voting places. [SPEAKER CHANGES] They could certainly get multiple voter ID's. I think that wouldn't be too terrible if somebody did that and we wouldn't prohibit that, either. If somebody came in and said, "Hey, I lost my ID that I need to vote." We're going to give them another one because if they're eligible we want them to be able to vote. I think we have other checks in places, I believe, to check the voter rolls to make sure that you don't have multiple people voting. The same person voting two or three times. That's why we have the check in process that we do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One follow up. This has to do with...do you know, and I think you answered this but I need to know. Do you have any idea as to how many people would be eligible to vote who did not have voter ID or could not get voter ID? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I wouldn't have any way of knowing that, but I think the number is very small. But that's one of the reasons we have our absentee voting process. If we have an individual that is older, that's on our voter rolls and they may have a hard time getting to the polls, or they may have a hard time getting out to get the free photo ID, that they can vote by mail as long as their on the voter rolls. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But that person doesn't have to show voter ID? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Did the other, just a editorial comment. I know why you had, I don't have the ties that other folks have to Georgia, I know a whole lot of politicians in Georgia. Some you probably know. But anyway, the bottom line was that in the big turnout that you had in 2008, there was no question and I don't think anybody's mind, that Obama ground thing, they may have paid for folks to get voter, I mean, if there was a cost involved, to get the folks out. Particularly in the minority community because it was a race that could have been...and the same thing happened in 2012 with particularly in the minority community. So that was the reason, I believe, that you had, like it happened all over the country. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh, sure. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, that whether you had photo ID or whatnot, that happened all over the country, so that was an aberration, but that I hope would keep up for a long time, even without the voter ID. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ??, that's a very good point, but I think it also shows that people motivated to be involved in the process that simply showing a photo ID to vote is not going to prohibit them from going and getting one in being able to be involved in the process. I couldn't have got here today if I didn't have a photo ID...
I went through the airport. [SPEAKER CHANGES] But you don’t have a constitutional right to go through the airport. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well that’s true. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Michaux. Representative Speciale. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I want to say I appreciate you being here and answering all these questions. Do you know of any… I don’t know if you would know this because it would probably a municipal election. Do you know of any elections where the number of people who did not come in and show their ID – in other words they have to do a provisional and they never came back three days later – where the numbers might have changed the course of the election? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t know that. We don’t do the municipal elections in Georgia; the cities do that themselves. Sometimes they contract. I wouldn’t have any way of answering that question. I imagine that that could probably be the case in an election. We have some elections that end in ties or there may be a one vote victory. I would think that in most of those cases though, those people if they were eligible to vote, they’d be… somebody would be taking them back to show that photo ID where their provisional ballot would count. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative McNeill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, Mr. Secretary. I thank you again for also coming up and answering our questions. I noticed during your presentation you said you accepted expired IDs. Is there a cutoff on that? So they could be a 20-year expired ID? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, and I think our thinking behind that is my stepfather’s a good example. He’s 85-plus years old. He can’t see real well anymore, we can’t get a driver’s license; he’s not going to go down to the county elections office and fool with getting a photo ID just to vote, but he’s got his old driver’s license. It’s probably been ten years since he’s driven, but if he wants to go vote in person, he can use that ID. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Cunningham. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, finally. In your slide it had six million voters in your state, and you all only do 30 thousand. That was between the DMV and your voter ID. What percentage is voting? And I would like to think that we’re not going off ’08 and the last cycle because those are going to be bumped very high, so what percentage in an average voting would you be looking at as far as your state? Because that number seems very, very low if you’re looking at six million people, because I don’t want to think that the other five or six, other five or four million people have some type of ID. That just seems extreme. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well I think when you look at the numbers, you have to – and if I’m not answering your question, you can restate it, but when you look at the numbers, we got a state now of almost ten million people. Certainly some of the numbers in ’08… we probably had nine and a half million people. We’ve been growing pretty fast in Georgia the last several years, but you’ve got to think about voting-age population too. So we’ve got ten million people in the state, but we’ve got a bunch of those that are under 18 and are not eligible to vote. In the presidential races, we generally turn out about 70% of the registered voters; in the gubernatorial years, it’s probably closer to 50%. So even looking at those numbers like a governor’s race where we may only have two and a half people vote, I think the number of provisional ballots of people that went and voted and didn’t have a photo ID was, like, 12 hundred, the best I remember. I don’t know if that’s answering your question or not. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes ma’am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So what is your voter-age population that’s over 18 who can vote out of that ten million? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d probably say… we probably have of eligible people that are registered to vote, I’d think we’d be probably in the 68 to 72% range. I can verify that with the Chairman’s Office when I get back if you’d like me to, but I think that’s about right. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes ma’am. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, and ladies and gentlemen, just so you know, the Chair saw Representative Jones, Graham, Iler, Faircloth and Avila, so we’re going to get those, and then we’re going to let the Secretary rest for just a moment and we’re going to hear from our next presenter. So Representative Jones. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and again, I’m behind you, Mr. Secretary. I wanted to follow up with a line of questioning a couple of Representatives posed about the increase
In particular, minority participation in the presidential years, and I just wanted to verify the numbers I wrote down were correct. But you also reported on your slide, I believe, that in the gubernatorial elections between 2006 and 2010 that the the African American participation was up about 40%. I just wanted to ask, do I have that right, and if that's correct, do you have any comments as to any other extenuating circumstances why it was up. We've talked a lot about the presidential race, but I wanted, to me those numbers are far more telling if that's the case. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, you're, you're correct when you look at the '06, well when you compare 2006 to 2010, the general election which was a Governor's race, I believe we had a US Senate race at the time as well, and, obviously both of those were contested. The African American increase was 44, over 44%. The Hispanic/Latino increase was 66%, so they did go up even in non-presidential years. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Graham? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, you answered my question. I was concerned with duplication and replacement, and if there was a cost for replacement. I think you answered that with Representative Michaux. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Graham. Representative Iler. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chairman. I hate to chase this early voting rabbit too far, but it was brought up, and I want to ask one simple question I believe. In your early voting, do you, it was 45 days and now 21 days, do you have one voting place of ?? elections in each county, or do you have multiple sites in each county? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Right. We have, the counties have discretion with that. Most of our smaller counties will have, they'll be voting at the county courthouse or the local annex, the government annex. You have bigger counties like Fulton which is Atlanta or Cobb, some of the other metro counties, they may have anywhere from four to six early voting locations, depending on the size of the county and the logistics. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. Would you say most counties have one place during early voting? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, the majority of the counties in the state have one. It's really probably our, I'd say it's probably less than seven or eight that have multiple locations the whole time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up comment, mister chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I can report that I voted early before there was early voting. I would go to my board of elections and ask for an absentee ballot, fill it out right there and turn it in when I was gonna be out of town during election days. So there's been early voting years before we called it early voting. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Faircloth. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chairman. Mister secretary, over here to your left. Thank you for being here and I just wanted to ask, does Georgia have a systematic way of purging deceased persons from their old voter rolls? [SPEAKER CHANGES] We do. We have, in Georgia we have a statewide voter registration system which the secretary of state's office is in charge of. And we have different reports that we get from vital statistics when we have deceased people and are able to pull them off the rolls. Unfortunately, it takes us a long time to get that information. We actually passed a law last year that was part of our legislative package where we can now give the county registrars the ability to remove deceased voters off the rolls when they have personal knowledge. So like if they see an obituary of somebody in the local paper, they can go in and remove that person until it's verified with vital statistics. And we have some ways to verify that. We send a letter to the deceased person and if they reply then obviously we don't take them off the rolls, but if they don't, we can remove them. And that's just giving some local flexibility to the local registrars. It helps us keep our rolls cleaner than they have been. Because you can have, sometimes it may take us months to get deceased voters and we've actually had people that we had mailed absentee ballots to that legally requested one, they passed away, and that ballot got voted by a family member because it showed up at the house, because they weren't taken off the rolls because we didn't have the data at that time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You are recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] What about a system for purging people who have moved their residence out of state? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, that's a little bit tougher question because we have federal, kinda some federal intervention there that keeps
from removing people off the rolls 60 days before the election, I believe is the right day. So that's a little harder to do. One of the things that we've been working on, a lot of the Secretaries of State around the country have entered into a compact that we're now checking our voter rolls. It's called the Kansas Project, where we reach a memorandum agreement. And we send our voter rolls to Kansas, and they'll run them against all the voter rolls that are also in the compact. There's now close to 30 states that are doing this, and if there's duplicates that show up, then both those states will contact the voters and kind of work together to figure out where that person is legally registered and decide who should do what as far as removing them. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Representative Avila. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank your Mr. Chair, and I will also give my Georgia roots, born and raised in Bullock. I don't think I caught this in any of your discussion in early voting, does Georgia have same day registration? [SPEAKER CHANGES]No Mame, we do not have same day registration. We have a 30 day cut-off before the election. You've got to be registered 30 days before the election. [SPEAKER CHANGES]And last inquiry for the Secretary/Representative Mobley? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you Mr. Chair. My question regards your early voting. I think you said 21 days in-person, and 45 days by mail. The in-person voting, is that allowed 21 days, calendar days? Are Sundays included? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes Mame, good question. We don't vote on Sundays in Georgia, but the new statute that we passed when we changed to the 21 days, it is a date count. There is a mandatory Saturday, so we have 3 weeks early voting. The first day will start on the Monday, whatever that Monday is, 3 weeks out. It will go Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Then the next week, which would be the 2nd week you'd have all 5 weekdays, plus that Saturday would be mandatory for all counties in Georgia. And then the 3rd week you'd have Monday through Friday. Now the counties do have the flexibility. Some of our bigger counties, if they want to have an additional Saturday, they could have early voting the first Saturday. They cannot do the Saturday before the election, because the local election officials would throw me out of office if I allowed voting on the Saturday before the Tuesday election. They really need that day to deal with absentee ballots, to get their poll workers and their equipment organized an ready to go out. And that's the reason we don't allow that Saturday before the election. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you very, very much for your time, Mr. Secretary, and for your very good presentation. At this time the Chair is pleased to recognize Mr. Ion Sancho. Mr. Sancho is the Supervisor of the Elections for Leon County, Florida. As I did with the Secretary, I will not read his very extensive bio, I will point out a few things. Mr Sancho has been Director since 1989. He was asked by, he was actually appointed by the Florida Supreme Court in December of 2000, as the technical expert to oversee the Florida recount. He has also testified before the US Congress, the US Election Assistance Committee, and the US Civil Rights Commission. So we're very, very glad that you're here sir, and you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you very much. The State of Florida has a very, very different scheme in terms of its voter registration, and voter identification procedure. We have been toying with the idea of the setting up a database in the late '90s. The election of 2000, which opened the door of the Help America Vote Act, simply allowed us to decide to put this into play. And so, our regime really doesn't look like most of the states. In fact we check the eligibility at the front end of the process, in a process called No Match, No Vote. We do this through a state-wide voter registration database
such as was required by the Help America Vote Act, but it’s a live time, not a batch system, with portals available to every user who needs it including the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health and Vital Statistics… Every supervisor of elections is connected to it, so no matter where you’re the supervisor of elections from, all eleven and a half million registered voters are available to be seen on my computer. So what we basically do is we require when an individual registers to vote that you provide us a valid Florida driver’s license – it cannot be expired and it cannot be from another state – or you give us the last four digits of your social security, and that will be matched within 24 hours against the databases, and we then will be given notification from the Division of elections as to whether or not the individual is eligible to be registered to vote. So this is called ‘No Match, No vote’, and this was litigated in2006 and 2007 in Florida. This litigation, which upheld the ability of us to require the state and to match this before you could be registered, meant that we could actually then cut corners at the back end of the process, i.e. we do require a picture ID before a vote is cast in a normal manner, but if you don’t have picture ID, we will require you to provisionally vote, and you do not have to return to confirm the validity of that vote. That ballot is taken from the precinct or an early voting location and will be confirmed against the original voter registration signature that we have in our files in a computerized format, and our statewide database allows us to take snapshots and compare the signatures on a computer screen side-by-side, no matter where you live in the state of Florida. I can look up a Broward County resident or a Pensacola resident; it makes no difference. All of the eleven and a half million records are available for my election workers to process and to see and to verify, and if an individual does not bring picture ID to vote, they cannot vote in the normal manner until that provisional ballot is brought back to the elections office where the canvassing board, which is the certification panel of local officials, the county judge, the county commission or the supervisor of elections, none who can be opposed or on the ballot or participate in any public way in the election, or you’re barred from voting and participating on the panel – so the local panel verifies that the signature is the signature that we captured when that voter registered to vote, and the voter does not have to make a return trip to any elections office in the state. The number one reason that individual provisional ballots are not counted is that they are simply not registered to vote. During the 2000 election there was a north Florida decision which said that if an individual demanded to be given a provisional ballot, the election official has no discretion to not provide the provisional ballot, and being a resident of north Florida, I have to abide by that decision, so the number two reason why an individual’s provisional ballot might not count would be the fact that you cast it not in your legal voting precinct, and under Florida law, a provisional ballot can only be counted if it is cast at your provided polling location that you are assigned to on election day. If you go to any other voting precinct and cast that provisional ballot, that ballot is void. That is the number two reason for voided provisional ballots in the state of Florida; they are registered to vote in the county, they are eligible, but they went to the wrong polling place to vote it and that ballot is void. The process that we have used and has been now in effect for two gubernatorial elections and two presidential elections I think has served us well. The issue of disenfranchising citizens was not a feature of the 2008 presidential elections in Florida or the 2012 election, although I might say that the nationalization of the political voter ID laws meant that the number one question that I faced when I went to talk to voters about voter registration was “What are our voter ID requirements? What do we have to do?” Well the answer is nothing. If you voted in 2008 and 2006 the same way you vote
In those years, that same ID we'll require in 2012. But that information was really lost at the national media level, and that was the number one concern of my voters in Leon County, was what are the new voter registration requirements? And we didn't have any new voter registration requirements in Florida. The citizens just assumed so because everywhere they were looking, they were seeing they were seeing that on the political media in television and radio. Our system cost $23 million to build. We paid for our Florida voter registration database out of the Federal Help America Vote monies. State of Florida, those monies were apportioned out based on population. The state of Florida received well north of $100 million as its portion of HAVA money, and the state took about $23 million of that money and built this integrated, live time system, which quite frankly, was developed with tremendous amount of input from the Supervisor of Elections because it meets everyone's needs. We can verify the eligibility of any voter, anywhere, at any time. Anyone can do it that's an election official. You don't have to be me sitting in front of a computer. A technical person can sign on and go onto what we call Voter Focus and find out. I have at my disposal everybody's voting history, everybody's voting record. And we know, for example, if you voted an absentee ballot in Miami and came up to Leon County and tried to re-register, we would bring up your record and say, you've already voted. End of story. That database is the heart of what we have built in Florida, and that has served us very, very well to this point. And I would suggest that that kind of a database, which was what was called for in the Help America Vote Act, really does give the state of Florida, I believe, a very, very great advantage over other states who are attempting to do this process without this kind of synchronized instant-time database. Because we don't have to wait months for deaths. We don't have to wait hours to determine whether or not someone has cast a ballot in another jurisdiction. It is known almost instantly. And if you have electronic electronic poll book technology, which connects into the state-wide database, you can determine on Election Day within five minutes whether or not an individual has cast a vote in any other precinct in the state. Leon County has chosen not to do electronic poll books. We have our own system base with laptops that we didn't have to pay anybody any proprietary licensing fees. But our laptops go directly to our database, so any voter that goes to early vote or absentee ballot vote, that record is instantly updated while the voter is in front of the in-person early voting site. And that ends all issues of multiple voting at that point. I apologize for not having a slide show, but I was notified yesterday morning at 9:00 that I was supposed to be here, and I had a legislative session. Senate Bill 600 in the State of Florida was heard yesterday from 1:00 to 3:30 and I had to attend that. Because that was our major election reform bill following the 2011 legislative session, which changed the election laws. We have had to address the long lines that were pertinent to Florida's 2012 election. Florida, according to the Pew Center on the States, had the longest wait times of any state in the nation. We averaged 45 minutes wait on Election Day. And as we can go into our computer, our Florida voter registration database, and see the last voter actually voted at Miami-Dade at 2:03 a.m., some seven hours after the poll closed on Election Night. What the Legislature is doing now in House Bill 7013 and Senate Bill 600 is restoring the cutbacks to early voting, which in fact was the pressure relief valve to accommodate Florida's voters. Florida has fewer polling places today in 2012 than we did in 2000. Our population grew 18.3 percent in the last decade. We simply lost the ability to build enough electoral infrastructure, i.e., precincts, which is the number difficult job that a local official has, finding accessible polling locations. We basically threw our hands up in surrender on that issue. Early voting is where the extra voters have to go. That's the only way we can accommodate them. And reducing early
voting from 14 days to 8 days in 2011 caused 225 thousand voters not to be accessed that were accessed in 2008, and it caused a huge overflow on election day, so both election bills restore on a permissive basis to local supervisor of elections the ability to go back to full 14 days of early voting and including voting on the Sunday before the Tuesday election. Again, that’s permissive, but the majority of the urban supervisor of elections testifying before the House and Senate said that if they were given the choice, they would provide Sunday voting before the election. So the bills are now in that position in the state of Florida, and our session ends at the end of this month, so hopefully we will reform our laws to make them a little bit more accessible because the issue of accommodating voters is critical to elections and has now caused Florida to have become the laughing stock twice in a decade, and we’re not really proud of that, and again, we want this process to accessible. That is our number one, number two and number everything priority, and that’s where we are in Florida today. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. I know there are several members that want to ask… Would you mind sharing briefly with them the book that you give out? And I’m going to ask that we get one of those before you leave please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We do a tremendous amount of voter education. This is our election guide that I send to every registered voter in Leon County. We have 190 thousand of them; 190 thousand of these were mailed out. I also print out about 10 thousand extra because at every public meeting that we go to, we bring them. We also take them to early voting sites. Everybody who’s in line at an early voting site, we walk it up and down, we tell them about this, and in this guide, for example, it lists right here in a very prominent page that the state of Florida requires you to bring a photo ID if you want to vote normally, and that includes a Florida driver’s license, a Florida ID card, which is available from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a US passport, a debit or credit card, a military ID, a student ID, a retirement center ID, a neighborhood association ID and a public assistance ID. These picture IDs are acceptable. If they do not contain a signature, you must present a second ID with the signature. So we want a picture ID and the signature, but we’ll take two pieces of documentation to confirm that. Again, this information has been sent out from the local counties. The state does not do any public relations in the state of Florida. The state does not buy television ads telling citizens about this. The state runs the Election Department; all the elections, however, are run by local officials. All of the voter education comes out of my budget, although there is a HAVA component with a matching 15% requirement. But all of the rest, the television commercials that I buy – and I but about 30 thousand dollars of television commercials every major election – comes out of my county’s budget, and my county willingly coughs it up because we had an election problem in 1984 that caused five thousand voters to be turned away from the polls, so our county government was a little sensitized to what happens when you screw up an election before the 2000 election happened. So that is money well-spent in my opinion. If you can educate the voters as to what is required well in advance before they came in, you don’t have the problems, and again, we’ve not been seeing the problems that I keep hearing about in other states in Florida – at least not on this point, picture ID. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Mobley. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you kindly, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] To your right, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m to your right. I have two questions. The first question deals with your signatures. If I understood you correctly, you said you collected on the front end as well as the picture ID. My concern and my question would be number one, sometimes signatures change, and I have a mother that this has happened to because of a stroke. Her signature would not look like anything of what it would have looked 20 years ago.
when you might have collected that first signature, how do you deal with signature changes? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Well, we advertise for signature changes, and every mail-out that comes out of my office has a statement about updating your signature. But what we've found out in this process, signatures actually make the greatest change to from the, say, an 18 year old voter to when they become a professional. Those that are registered to vote as a high school senior, our signatures do not look anything like they looked like when we were a high school senior. They change dramatically in that first 10 years. They don't change dramatically after that. And Florida will accept any mark. You don't have to be able to sign. If you have someone, for example, and this is a common question, I get calls from children all the time, My parent can't sign anything, what can we do? Well, you can put a pen in their hand, and they can put a dot on that form. We'll accept that dot as the legal signature of that citizen for all elections. But the issue is getting the information out to them that you have to do this signature update. That you can't, that power of attorney for example, is illegal in Florida, so children cannot sign for a parent's ballot. These are things that you have to educate the voters to. And we'll accept any kind of a mark, as long as it's in that individuals own handwriting, so they don't have to worry about then kind of mark that they get. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, sir. Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes Mame, you're recognized, but before you are, please yield for just one moment, Representative. The speaker has asked me to announce that the House will not reconvene until 3:15. That will allow us time to complete this, and we're going to add one additional speaker when these remarks are concluded. Representative, you have the floor. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you. The other one is with regards to the picture, and I can only assume that you do the same thing or advertise for updated pictures. However, sometimes our pictures change because of age, because of accidents, burns or whatever that disfigure us from time to time. How do you deal with that? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Well again, under Florida law, you don't actually have to have a picture ID to have a ballot to count. If you come in, and I have an attorney for example, a civil rights attorney, very prominent in my community who says it is illegal and un-American for you to require me to show ID to vote. We give them a provisional ballot every election, they mark the provisional ballot, it comes back to my office, my staff has 48 hours to go into the database and compare his signature on that provisional ballot with his signature on his voter registration form. It checks, his ballot counts every time. So an individual who is not capable of showing a picture ID, is not barred from casting a vote that will be counted in any election. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Representative Michaux? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me be sure that I'm clear on what I'm hearing. You require voter ID, but you really don't need it to vote. Is that because if you go to the polls, and you've forgotten your ID, you can still vote by provisional ballot, and you don't have to come back, because you have the data with which to check that with? Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES]That is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Follow up, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Let me ask you this about the database, a little bit more on that. You use Harvard money, as I understand it, to build that database that now encompasses all of Florida, and you can use that database to check, at the station, signatures for instance, of the person who doesn't have a photo ID. Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes, sir. I could grab the signature of the voter in any of the 67 counties in the State of Florida at any time. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Alright. Let me follow up, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Let me ask you this about voter fraud. Have you had any voter fraud since this, and how does that voter fraud correlate, or relate itself to absentee voting. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Well, let me be sort of specific here, because as an election official, voter fraud means nothing to me. There is election fraud, and there are election frauds. Candidates commit election fraud all the time. Individuals collecting candidate petitions seeking to be candidates, collect fraud. We know of those cases. In-person voter impersonation
fraud we don't know of those cases. We'd see almost none of that. We do see and there's been some major effort looking at efforts by citizens to manipulate the system. Our residences and we have right now prosecutions occurring across the state of Florida. They're all related to two areas, absentee ballots and individuals manufacturing fraudulent voter registrations so they get paid by their companies for doing work on a fraudulent bases. Those two kinds of ongoing criminality we see on a regular basis in elections. But not individuals bringing fraudulent ids to vote. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir you're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, one of, going to the area of early voting, as I understand it you all, you in Florida initially had 45 days early voting, No I'm sorry you had 21 days early voting. I'm thinking of Georgia. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Actually we only had 14 days. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You only had 14. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And that was cut back to what? [SPEAKER CHANGES] 8. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And what was your experience with that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] It was a nightmare in that the same type of people, the same people and we tracked this, we've been doing early voting in Leon County since 1994. We actually have maps set which every identifies every household of every early voter so we can identify where that location needs to be placed. And early voting really is in my opinion the safest form on voting in the state of Florida currently. Because it is, unlike the precincts, all early voting sites are live wired directly to the databases to the counties. That way we can actually do the instant updates that we can not due unless your're using electronic poll books at the precinct. So we like early voting. Early voting has been the way that we can accommodate the huge numbers of citizens who are now in Florida sort of trained to vote. We really got into early voting in Leon County in 1994 when we had an 82% turnout in that presidential race in 92. And I had two hour lines in the precincts and I realized that on my pushing voter registration and I don't have enough precincts for them to vote at that I'm looking at a disaster. And so we started using early voting as a way to deal with these large turnouts and not add any more precincts. And the entire state of Florida has gone in that in that in that direction. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One final and I want to go back to the and I say this particularly for North Carolina to hear, the HAVA money, you all took advantage of all that money that came from the feds that which they, by the way Mr. Chairman they still owe us if we can still get it. But that was what helped you build that database. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And what built it? Now, Now it comes at a cost. When we got the HAVA money the states were able to parse it out any way they want to because HAVA did not mandate how the state plans would be formulated. The state of Florida decided it would recompense all urban counties those below 100,000 population their new technology at 100%. For those counties over 100,000 you only got 20¢ on the dollar recompense because their theory was the local government is urban and wealthier and they could absorb the costs. So urban areas only got 20% of the money they needed for voting machines and that rest of that money became the statewide database money. That was our state's priority build an integrated system that would make the entire process work well rather than just technology for counties. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Thank you sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative. Representative Iler. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Over here sir. Right here, in front of you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Oh OK Sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thanks for coming from Florida and presenting this. Two quick questions. Do you have in early voting do you have same day registration? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No sir. Our's 29 day cutoff before and that in terms of individuals who can not be identified as eligible they have to clear that up by the 29th day or they're not eligible to cast a vote in the election. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Followup. You're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] On your provisional ballot now in my county which I'm familiar with and I think the other 99 counties if you vote a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct but the correct county and that is counted by the county. So you're saying you've got to be in the right precinct or can be in the correct county. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Help America Vote Act did not describe any requirements for provisional ballots leaving it totally to the state and you're correct if you
cast the ballot in the wrong precinct and you’re an eligible voter and otherwise eligible to vote for every federal and state office, none of your votes will count on that ballot. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Conrad. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m right here. Thank you for coming from Florida; I visit there quite often. I had a question that addressed… You were talking about your long lines, particularly in this past election, and your need and enthusiasm for early voting. Did you not have… I know you did in Leon County and maybe statewide, quite a number of very long and complex ballot questions, some really long, and they may even be in that voter guide that you had… [SPEAKER CHANGES] They are. [SPEAKER CHANGES] … that would make someone stand and take maybe four or five times longer voting. I’ve read through some of them myself, and I had to read them two or three times to even understand the complexity. They’re complex, long questions, so I wanted to make sure that that information was out there that that contributed to the long lines that you have. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Absolutely. Absolutely it did. I would say those two reasons led to the long lines – the longer than average ballot and a shorter than normal time to use early voting. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you so much, sir. We really do appreciate… I’m sorry, Representative Blust. Last inquiry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I have a question. In your system… One of the things I’ve discovered here is in North Carolina in there are addresses where there are multiple sets of names listed. I’ve been to houses knocking on doors where I’ve seen up to five… I’m trying to remember; maybe six different sets of names – say two Thomases, two Jones, two Smiths, and those are still validly-registered names at those addresses. Does your system detect that, and is there some way to determine when people are no longer… a name of a legally-registered voter is no longer at an address, and how would your system handle that, and could you even drop those from the rolls? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The answer is yes. We do follow the federal guidelines, which says that you cannot remove someone for simply not voting, but what we do in our state is send out notices to all nonvoters every time, and if they come back as undeliverable, now they’re going to go into the hold file and after two general elections, which is four years because congressional elections are every two years, they will be removed. If there is no activity, no response, they will be sent a notice and be pulled off of the list. So it’s not for nonvoting; it’s for failure to respond to a notice about why aren’t you voting. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Blust, and thank you sir very, very much for your presentation. Ladies and gentlemen, the Chair is going to add to the agenda remarks from Dr. William Barber, the President of the North Carolina NAACP. He will not be here – he is not able to be here next week when we had planned to receive remarks, so we want to extend to him the time to speak now. So sir… [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. I appreciate that and we will indeed take care of that on the 10th. Before we adjourn, are there any other inquiries to our guests from Georgia or from Florida. Not seeing any, please accept on behalf of the Speaker of the House, the Chairs and all of the members our very deepest appreciation for your time, and would you please join me in a round of applause to thank our presenters? The chair thanks each of you for your time. This committee stands adjourned.
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