Press Releases

Washington, D.C. Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Elections, delivered the following opening remarks at the House Administration hearing on Confidence in Elections.

Click here to watch Rep. Sewell’s opening remarks.

Opening Statement: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

“As the Chair acknowledged, Ranking Member Morelle is unable to be here today due to a death in his family.

“I know we all offer him our sincerest condolences. 

“Today we are discussing state tools to promote voter confidence. To do so, we must acknowledge a truth.

“Perpetuating falsehoods about stolen or insecure elections undermines our confidence.

“Acknowledging and alleging a lack of voter confidence or lack of integrity in the electoral system is a false justification to rationalize enactment of suppressive voter laws and procedures such as eliminating ballot drop box, restricting mail in voting, enacting suppressive voter ID laws, and discriminatory voter list maintenance practices that result in otherwise eligible voters being removed from the rolls.

“Instead, confidence in election means every eligible voter feels confident that they can access and cast a ballot, that that ballot will be counted and that it was counted as cast. 

“When voters see voting methods their communities have been using for decades suddenly being attacked without evidence, it does not promote voter confidence.

“Indeed, ensuring eligible voters have access to the franchise promotes voter confidence.

“One of the most critical tools states have to promote voter confidence are well trained, well-resourced election officials, people who administer elections year after year are known in their communities and who voters can turn to for accurate information.

“However, these trusted public servants have become the targets of harassment and threats.

“A survey of local election officials published earlier this year by the Brennan Center for Justice found that nearly 3 in 4 feel that threats against election officials have increased in recent years, and 30% say that they have personally been abused, harassed or threatened because of their job.

“The survey also found that given the rate at which officials are leaving the profession, we can expect more than 1 in 5 local election officials to be serving in their first presidential election in 2024.

“We need to ensure that these officials have the training and resources needed to carry out the critical work of administering our elections.

“Our democracy does not function without them.

“As we discussed at a committee hearing last month, election officials have worked hard and made significant strides to increase transparency in the electoral process and provide opportunities for the public to better understand and understand what can otherwise be a cumbersome and hard process.

“The Supreme Court has found that voting is a fundamental political right because it is preservative of all rights and Congress has broad powers to legislate under the election clause.

“We should be making it easier to vote. 

“As elected officials we should be making sure that access to the ballot box is easy. We also must be truthful. 

“There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States elections. It is already hard to cheat and committing fraud, committing acts of fraud, voter fraud is already against the law.

“Continuing to perpetuate false claims of rigged elections undermines voter confidence.

“Passing laws that restrict voters access to the ballot box undermines voter confidence.

“Casting election officials as a part of a conspiracy to steal an election undermines voter confidence.

“Since the founding of our country, large segments of the American people have been intentionally excluded from the right to vote, and their access to the ballot box has been purposefully curtailed.

“Claiming that higher voter turnout numbers mean restrictive voting laws do not have suppressive or discriminatory effect, while ignoring evidence of significant racial turnout gaps, that undermines voter confidence.

“While many minority communities overwhelmed by barriers to casting their vote, it does not make those barriers fair.

“It certainly does not justify or validate their existence. 

“This committee's role in conducting oversight of federal elections is critical. 

“We must work to protect access to the ballot box, ensure states and localities have the funding and resources they need to conduct free and fair elections.

“Protect election workers from harassment and threats. 

“I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses, Mr. Chair, and the discussion to follow. Thanks.”