WASHINGTON – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis' (R-Ill.) opening statement at today's hearing titled "Voting Safely In A Pandemic" denounces a Democratic Association of Secretaries of State video, which compares Republicans to white supremacists with imagery of nazi symbols, support of segregation, and insinuates anyone who has concerns with vote by mail of trying to suppress minority votes. The Chairman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is testifying before the committee today.

Davis denounces this kind of rhetoric and goes on in his testimony to discuss how the rapid ramp-up of mail-in voting has unintentionally disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters, including minority and young voters.

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Davis' opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Madame Chair.

I want to do something a little different today and start off my testimony by playing a video that was brought to my attention two days ago and that I was so haunted by the rhetoric that I can't unsee or unhear it…because it's this kind of unnecessary, over-the-top rhetoric that led to me and my Republican colleagues getting shot at on a baseball field just over three years ago. It's a video by the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, whose chair is a witness at today's hearing. Here's the video…

[Video Plays]

A recent analysis by NPR found that nearly half a million mail-in ballots were rejected in 2020 primaries. The same analysis noted, "Studies also show that voters of color and young voters are more likely than others to have their ballots not count." In California alone, 102,000 ballots were rejected, 84,000 in New York, 23,000 in Wisconsin – these are Democrat states. In the last four elections, more than 28 million mail-in ballots went missing, according to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). Yet, Democrats on this committee, in this House, and across the country continue to push implementing universal vote by mail before the November election just over 60 days away.

Additionally, during 2020 primaries, we saw the closure of polling places across the country force people to wait hours in line to vote. Washington, DC closed more than 120 polling places. In Atlanta, voters waited upwards of five hours to vote because of consolidated polling locations. Milwaukee went from 180 to five polling places. In Philadelphia, 77% of polling locations were closed. In Houston, voters reported waiting close to six hours to vote. All of these areas are run by Democrats.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 fought against discrimination to ensure every American could cast their vote. I'm afraid the vote-by-mail policies being pushed by Democrats are unintentionally taking us backward.

I've sent oversight letters to localities where we saw these issues during their recent primaries because I'm concerned unless changes are made, voters will be disenfranchised again this fall. Again, most of these are Democrat-controlled areas. I'm also concerned about fraud when a live ballot is mailed to every registered voter in states where their voter rolls are not up to date. I want integrity in our election process not because I want to suppress votes, but because I want every vote to count and I want the American people to have confidence in our election process.

This doesn't make Republicans or anyone else who shares these concerns racists or white supremacists and I'm incredibly disappointed that the ad I played earlier insinuates that. As I said at the beginning of my testimony, this is the kind of rhetoric that has led to violence and no one should stand for that.

Instead, let's discuss our differences and find common ground to empower states and localities to help everyone safely and securely vote this fall.