Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
2:47 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to thank you all for joining us here today virtually and in person. I’ve asked that you would join us. And I’m honored to have the White House Counsel, Dana Remus, here to have a very candid and frank discussion about the work, the responsibility, the commitment, and the challenges of what it means to be the people who, on the ground, are upholding some of the most important tenets of our democracy — which is the work that you do and that your colleagues do every day, especially in election season, but all the days leading up to it — to ensure that all Americans have an easy and accessible and available opportunity to exercise the right to vote.
So I’ve asked you all to be here to have that conversation and to also — to share with me in a — in this environment, meaning in an environment where you are — you are invited, to talk about the challenges so that we can uplift your voices as we work on this issue — which is, I believe, as American as apple pie — the right to defend the American people’s right to vote.
And, I’ll tell you, I love voting. When I have voted in person and walk into — and I voted in — and I voted in an elementary school — in the neighborhood elementary school, church, the neighborhood senior center. And walking into the polling site — and there, the poll workers greet you with a smile — “Come on in” — and show you where the machines are and, as technology has changed, you know, help you figure out how to use the machine; give you a sticker after.
It reminds me of just, you know, what we do to just honor what people do to exercise their civic duty. Those are poll workers and, I think, most Americans’ experience with poll workers.
You’re the people who make elections happen. And — and why do poll workers do that work? Well, I know enough to know — and I’ve talked to enough poll workers, and I’ve seen the surveys — there are pretty much three basic reasons that poll workers do their work: Because they want to ensure that our elections process goes as it should. Poll workers do their work because they want to serve their community and because they enjoy being active in their community.
And poll workers come in every stripe. They are of every political party, of every age, ethnicity, gender, but believe in importance of that process to our country.
And I strongly believe, therefore, we cannot — we dare not — take the work of poll workers for granted. And I think we do. But the work of poll workers — unencumbered, without intimidation, without threats — should be a commitment that we all have not only to them to them who serve, but to our democracy.
And sadly, what we know is that the two components of the right to vote — one to cast your ballot and the other to make sure your ballot is counted — are under threat right now.
We saw that poll workers — talked about leading up to the 2020 election — the most recent, big national election — began to receive threats, forcing some to have to work around the clock, getting protection — around-the-clock protection.
Others were threatened and were afraid to go back to their homes because they were actually threatened to such an extent that they felt unsafe to be in their personal homes.
And many of these threats came from folks who were — you know, as we turned out — unhappy with the outcome of the election.
And — however, what we do know — and it is an undisputed fact by those who know and are informed and possess the facts — that the 2020 Election was administered under the highest standards and nonpartisan standards.
So, what we want to do today is have a discussion about how we can ensure, as we go forward, that the American people have a fair, a transparent, accessible opportunity to exercise their voice through their vote.
And as it relates to the work of our administration, we are very proud that we are really treating this as one of our highest levels of priority — anything from what the DOJ is doing over there around a task force to protect election officials and poll workers.
Four months ago, our administration and the President issued orders that include the order to increase voter access, including encouraging people to become nonpartisan poll workers. And we are working to stop anti-voter legislation in the various states.
We are forcefully working to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and working to help ensure that all Americans know what they get when they vote, to further encourage them to vote knowing that it will make a difference in their lives.
So, today, I look forward to our conversation. Again, I want to thank each of you. You represent thousands of people who live in all of our communities, regardless of how we voted in the last election or may vote in the next election, who really are the best of civic participants and patriots.
So, thank you all for your work, and I look forward to our conversation.
Q Any reaction to House Speaker Pelosi’s decision to reject Banks and Representative Jordan from the January 6 Commission?
MS. PSAKI: I mean, listen, I — I absolutely respect Speaker Pelosi and her ability to lead, and there is — and support that.
And there is no question in my mind, or I think most people’s minds, that the American people deserve to have a thorough, a full, fair, and transparent process of getting down to what happened on January 6, how it occurred, who was responsible so that we can make sure that history does not repeat itself. That is in the best interest of all Americans.
2:56 P.M. EDT