Congressman Grijalva

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Arizona District 3 Representative Raul Grijalva will talk national issues, including his shift in support for a democratic presidential nominee.

Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon" -- Congressman Raul Grijalva joins us to discuss his push for national voting standards and Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton will be here to talk about a proposal to close hiking trails during extreme hot weather. That's next on "Arizona Horizon."

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the friends of Arizona PBS, members of your PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Arizona democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva wants a national voting standard after long lines during the March 22 presidential preference election resulted in up to five hour waits at polling places. For more we welcome Congress man Raul Grijalva. Thanks for being here.

Ted Simons: This push for a national voting center, gun control at the capitol in a second. The idea of the Feds being required to work with state election officials, talk about that.

Raul Grijalva: The federal elections commission has an oversight board. What the legislation does is empower them to have a criteria. It's not a criteria that I think is onerous or takes away from states their ability to control their election but sets basic criteria. I.e. access to polling places, polling equipment, polling booths. Workers and information in terms of maim and communications. And does that through a grants program to help fortify. By setting the standard there's a bare minimum for how many vote nears a given area and their availability and their access, setting a time limit that would be no more than an hour between the time the person arrived and the time they exit their polling site having voted and having gone through the whole process.

Ted Simons: Standards for the number of polling places, for locations, for timing and accurate voter information. How do you enforce that?

Raul Grijalva: I think it's a carrot and stick issue. Not only here in Arizona but the suspended action on the voting rights act and some of the guarantees and covers that were part of that particular pre-clearance, I think there's a real need to assure that through the carrot part, which is grants and resources to states to be able to carry out this law, that we can assure at the very minimum at this point access and timely location.

Ted Simons: How far along this is?

Raul Grijalva: We have about 50 co-sponsors. We're trying to get a threshold 150 then approaching the chairman and ranking member of the judiciary to provide us with an opportunity. It's bipartisan. It doesn't have a lot of Republicans but it has two at this point out of 50. That's sometimes considered bipartisan in Congress.

Ted Simons: Are there other states that have had similar problems to what we saw in march?

Raul Grijalva: I -- particularly the presidential primary, there was issues in Nevada. There was issues in some of the eastern states in terms of not being able to deal with the influx of voters on election day. Verification of voter status on election day. So almost 1.2 million provisionals in California. So yeah, I think this would assure a timely count and time lip access.

Ted Simons: We should mention the Justice Department is still looking at that election.

Raul Grijalva: Yes.

Ted Simons: Is there still a lawsuit outstanding?

Raul Grijalva: I think the lawsuit has been filed both by the DNC, candidates, with the intent of getting to the bottom and if there was anything that was deliberate in terms of how the consolidation occurred and what areas it affected.

Ted Simons: Let's get to the sit-in to force action on gun control. You were one of the early folks taking part in the demonstration on the floor. Why?

Raul Grijalva: It was organic. Among members. Rank and file members that felt that we had this very low-hanging fruit of legislation on the issue of gun safety. Low hanging because it deals with if you're on a terrorist watch list and are prevented from flying, then you justifiably should be prevented from buying a gun, which is not the case now. We're saying if you're on that list, you should not be able to buy a weapon. Simple as that. Not dealing with assault weapon ban, not dealing with other magazine size, waiting period, closing loopholes, none of that significant part of safety and control was part of this. It's the lowest hanging fruit of all. Why can't we get a vote? I think of other issues that don't come to the floor where members can be held accountable by how they vote by their constituents. The issue was to hold up business until we got a vote. We did succeed in getting a vote. Business went on and we ringed in adjournment and everyone is home for ten days but I hope all of us have heard from our constituents. If we weren't successful in getting the vote I think we were successful in shining a light on the dysfunction and the lack of action on things that really matter to the American people this. Was one that mattered.

Ted Simons: Did you expect the sit-in to last as long as it did?

Raul Grijalva: No, I didn't. I'll be honest with you. I thought it would be momentary show of emotion and frustration, appeared it turned into a very passionate, heartfelt oratory and talk on the floor of Congress that is the way it should be.

Ted Simons: I know that Republicans and critics have been shutting down debate lacked civility. It was the wrong thing to do. How do you respond?

Raul Grijalva: If we're going to do regular order and if Congress is going to be the people's house then we should have debates, civil, we should take action on pending legislation that is of consequence to the American people whether it's a budget, gun safety, jobs, reforming of the funding needed for the Zika virus. Those things should be fully disclosed and debated and the fact that doesn't happen on the house floor, civility is secondary to process. I don't think it was lack of civility. It was a display of enough is enough.

Ted Simons: Did you think you got the message -- did it help matters any?

Raul Grijalva: I think what it did is that the Republican leadership realized that there is a tipping point not only with the members of Congress with the American people who suddenly feel why am I elected people that can't vote? The whole process is to vote. If I'm going to vote for those gun safety measures I will be held accountable by my constituents that disagree with. That.

Ted Simons: Got a couple minutes left. Regarding the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders it's all but over. You supported Sanders.

Raul Grijalva: I support Sanders. I'm going to be at the convention pushing for the things that that we fought for to be in that platform. It behooves -- but the dust has settled and I'm going to support Hillary. I think it's important to unify and we have to see what is over the horizon is the specter of Donald Trump being president of the United States should be enough to bring us to unity but it behooves the Democratic Party, it behooves Hillary Clinton campaign to integrate, respect and understand where 46% of the electorate were when they voted for Bernie Sanders.

Ted Simons: Is Bernie Sanders handling this as best as he could?

Raul Grijalva: I think Bernie Sanders, somebody asked me should he do it right away, what's taking so long. You know, after this primary Bernie Sanders deserves as much time as he needs. I'll be very honest with you. He's earned the opportunity to try to craft and shape that platform, to make sure his delegates are treated and integrated into that convention. If by him being deliberate in how he gets there that's fine with me.

Ted Simons: Representative Grijalva, thank you.

Raul Grijalva: Thanks very much.

Raul Grijalva: Arizona District 3 Representative

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