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Public Statements

Election Support Consolidation and Efficiency Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the so-called Election Support Consolidation and Efficiency Act. This would eliminate, as we have heard, the Election Assistance Commission.

And let me remind my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more crucial to democracy than guaranteeing the integrity, fairness, accessibility and accuracy of elections. Democracy works only if the citizens believe it does. The system must work, and the people must believe that it works.

But voting shouldn't be an act of blind faith. It should be an act of record. The EAC helps maintain the integrity of the American electoral process. And too many people across the country lack confidence in the legitimacy of election results, and the dismantling of the EAC would further erode that faith that is so essential to democracy.

How quickly Members seem to have forgotten the Florida recount with its hanging chads and pregnant chads and uncertainty counts of ballots to determine voter intent. The 2000 election exposed critical flaws and inconsistencies in how elections were conducted and, in its wake, Congress, under the leadership of Representative Hoyer and others, approved the Help America Vote Act to assist State and local jurisdictions.

Yet, the legislation we're considering today willfully ignores this history. The bill closes the EAC, transfers some of its vital functions to the Election Commission, an agency that doesn't have the capability or the expertise to do the job and has other important work to do.

This bill takes this in exactly the wrong direction. While millions of Americans are casting their votes on unauditable voting machines and the results of many elections are not audited, eliminating the EAC would increase the risks that our electoral process will be compromised by voter system irregularities. Can we afford to take that risk? Certainly not.

H.R. 672 is another example of the desire of this Chamber that seems to exist to cut recklessly valuable services, rather than engage in the hard work of making government work at its best.

I urge my colleagues to vote "no'' on this misguided bill.

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