Underwood Delivers Floor Speech on Baseless Efforts to Delegitimize 2020 Elections; Urges Congress to Reject Attacks on Our Democracy

May 19, 2021
Press Release
Speech follows dismissal of 2020 opponent’s contest of her election win

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) delivered a speech on the undemocratic efforts to delegitimize 2020 elections, including an effort by her 2020 opponent to contest her own election without credible evidence. The speech follows the House passage of a resolution dismissing the election contest of the 14th District of Illinois. Underwood thanked the House Administration Committee for its bipartisan, unanimous rejection of her opponent's baseless contest and emphasized the danger of efforts to violate the will of the voters. Underwood underscored that the contest of her election was just one instance of a broader effort to undermine trust in our democratic institutions. Underwood urged her colleagues in Congress to join her in rejecting these attacks on our democracy.
 
"The contest in my district was just one battle in a war that is still ongoing—a war on democracy, on voting rights, and on truth itself. It will take more than a resolution to defeat the Big Lie: a seditious effort to delegitimize the 2020 election—and every future election,"
said Underwood. "I desperately hope for a future where the fabric of reality itself is no longer under attack. Because there can be no compromise here. There is nothing to compromise on. The choice is simple: truth or lies... I urge all my colleagues to join me in rejecting these attacks on our democracy." 
 
A video of Underwood's floor speech can be found here and remarks can be found below. 
 
Thank you, Mister/Madam Speaker. 
 
Last week, we passed a resolution dismissing the last House election contest of the 2020 cycle, in the 14th District of Illinois. 
 
Before this resolution came to the floor, the Committee on House Administration approved it with unanimous bipartisan support. 
 
I am incredibly honored that my community chose me to represent them in Congress again, and I look forward to a productive term. 
 
But I’m not here to take a victory lap. This is an important moment, not because of which candidate won, but because the constitutional rights of my constituents were upheld—despite my opponent’s efforts to disenfranchise the very people he sought to represent. 
 
Much like the previous President, my opponent ignored voters’ voices by declaring himself the winner days before the results were in. Once the votes had been tallied, he again joined the former President in making baseless allegations of fraud and conspiracy. 
 
After a careful consideration of the merits of his case, the Committee found that my opponent’s many arguments about supposed irregularities failed to add up to a “credible” claim to the result he wanted.
 
Exhibiting the utmost disrespect for his own would-be constituents, he even went so far as to attempt to invalidate thousands of ballots—under a technicality that the Illinois Supreme Court had already deemed invalid under both the State and Federal constitutions. 
 
Specifically, the court warned that the standard my opponent sought to apply in this case would allow “corrupt” officials to “deliberately” toss out ballots of “voters whom they had reason to believe voted otherwise than [they] desired”—which is exactly what he attempted to do. 
 
By passing the resolution dismissing this baseless contest, the House upheld the results that were verified by 7 county clerks—including 4 Republicans—and certified by the State of Illinois. 
 
On behalf of my constituents whose voices were heard despite these efforts to silence them, I want to thank the many election officials and volunteers who safely and successfully administered the highest-turnout election in history, during a pandemic. 
 
I also want to thank the House Administration Committee and its hard-working staff for faithfully carrying out the Federal Contested Elections Act by rejecting this attempt at disenfranchisement. 
 
Unfortunately, the contest in my district was just one battle in a war that is still ongoing—a war on democracy, on voting rights, and on truth itself. 
 
It will take more than a resolution to defeat the Big Lie: a seditious effort to delegitimize the 2020 election—and every future election. 
 
As the so-called debate about widespread fraud that did not occur has raged on, I have been shocked and horrified by the willingness of so many people to tell dangerous, flat-out lies. 
 
People who should know better—including, terrifyingly, elected officials at every level of government. 
I desperately hope for a future where the fabric of reality itself is no longer under attack. 
 
Because there can be no compromise here. There is nothing to compromise on. The choice is simple: truth or lies. 
In the meantime, Mister/Madam Speaker, let me tell you about the reality that others have left far behind. 
 
The reality is that Americans chose Democrats to lead the House, the Senate, and the White House. 
 
In reality, Americans voted for health care, for childcare, and for a safe climate and environment. 
 
In reality, Americans chose historic numbers of women, people of color, and LGBTQ people to represent them in this chamber. 
 
There are people—like my erstwhile opponent, the former President, and far too many others in positions of great responsibility—who refuse to face this reality. 
 
Their denial of the truth is incompatible with the democracy we all swore an oath to defend. 
 
A few months ago, we endured a violent insurrection here in this building—an all-too-real manifestation of this widespread assault on reality. 
 
We survived that attack, but we’re still in the midst of an insidious erosion of norms and policies that threatens our democracy, including by sowing distrust of our elections and other democratic institutions. 
 
Mister/Madam Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to join me in rejecting these attacks on our democracy by living as though the truth were true.
 
I yield back. 

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