« The Weeds

By the People: How to rig an election


Introducing By The People?, a new podcast miniseries on voting rights in the 2020 election, hosted by Ian Millhiser. Each episode will examine a specific obstacle facing voters in the upcoming election, and lay out various policy proposals and practical ways to overcome that obstacle. Our first episode takes a deep dive into intentional efforts to suppress the vote with historian Carol Anderson and voting rights lawyer Janai Nelson.

Relevant resources: 

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Legal Defense Fund Voting Rights Information


Carol Anderson, author of One Person, No Vote, professor of African American Studies at Emory University

Janai Nelson, Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund


Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser), Senior Correspondent, Vox


Producer/Editor: Jackson Bierfeldt

Editor: Elbert Ventura

Executive Producer: Liz Nelson

About Vox:

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Support for this episode comes from click up, we're losing out just three hours every day, switching between all our work apps, but you can get them back with clear up a flexible platform that brings all your essential tools into one place, where you can prioritize tasks, collaborate on docs chat with your team and track goals. So companies like uber and web flow use click up. Is their mission control Center, replacing every other app that we're using before click up even guarantees to help you save one day a week and get more done. It's completely customizable. It's free forever! So try click up today at Clickup COM, the weeds support for the so it comes from wobbly. You again worker or self employed. If so, this is, for you miss of self employed workers may qualify for up to fifty thousand dollars in one hundred percent. Forgivable ppp loans and Womply can help you access that support have helped over three hundred thousand small businesses, get a ppp alone and proudly serves more than six hundred thousand small businesses across Amerika funds are
did so now, wobbly dot, com, Slash box and see if you qualify for a ppp alone, w O m p l, why dot com, Slash, Veo Ex wife is not a lender terms and programme rules apply it only underscores how powerful the right to vote is that it requires such significant financial and human resources to keep people away from the past its apocryphal. But they say that Mark TWAIN. History may not repeat itself, but it showed a long walk into by the people. I mean you know how United Sixty five United States began. A great experiment. We decided have free and fair elections, voting Rights ACT of nineteen, sixty five
tried to put an end to the Jim Crow era and extend the right to vote to all. Americans was a sharp break with our racist asked half a century later, though, the faded that experiment is uncertain. The supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts, his descent until much of the Voting Rights ACT gerrymandering, let's politicians choose their own voters and Americans. Black and brown neighbourhood, sometimes wait hours. Just to cast a vote. Our grandparents rejected George Wallace's bid for the press Nancy. Our generation allowed Donald Trump to occupy the White House in the next several weeks in the special pop up, many serious for the weeds, we're gonna, take stock of America's brief fraying experiment with liberal democracy each episodes gonna feature to guest one's gonna, lay lay out a problem facing voters in the United States at another's going to explain solutions that can help are broken democracy. We are going to
over a range of topics: voters, suppression, laws to the pandemics impact on the election to how the Supreme Court looms large over the right to vote. I want to emphasise that the path forward is not despair we are still at the stage in America's democratic decline when that decline can be reversed through elections this election is in many ways a referendum on the experiment Lyndon Johnson began when he signed the Voting Rights ACT as you want that experiment to continue. I hope we can give. The tools to ensure that your vote is tat. My first guests Doktor Karel Anderson and I love this interview- that you're about to hear Anderson is Charles Howard Candour professed
of african american studies at every university she's an historian and she studies many the darkest aspects of american history, such as our legacy of racism and voters, suppression, among other things, she's, the author of one person, new how voter suppression is destroying our democracy. The subject matter of this conversations bleak: we talked about how Jim Crow style tactics never really died, and how the research in today's America. But despite all that, I was struck by the joy in the hopefulness that Professor Anderson brings to this heavy topic. So here's my conversation with Carol Anderson. Can I understand, welcome to the podcast? Ah thank you for having me Walker listeners through how the Voting Rights ACT is supposed to operate and then like what happened to it after the Supreme Court get its hands on it. So the rights. Act came into being in nineteen, sixty five at them. Ray authorized in several other several other times.
With the wave of the Voting Rights ACT in what made it so different that anything that had been done before in this area was that it was a pre emptive strike. The previous attempts had been, where states would implement of racially discriminatory voting law. Then there would have to a lawsuit. Then there would be all of the thing that lead to litigation and years would go by while elections based on that description, Shit are going on what, the Voting Rights ACT. It was it required pre clearance, so that states that had fewer than fifty percent of their age eligible adults register to vote and had used, one of the device is coming out of a thing. We called the Mississippi plan which was put in place to disfranchised black voters. So if they use the pole tax if they use the literacy test. It suggested this
then was really FAO in the way that they were handling their there their elections, and so it required then that any time that they wanted to make a change to their voting laws. They had to get the ok first from the: U S: Department of Justice or by the federal courts, indeed see what that did. Was it stop these nasty loss from being implemented and taking hold and shape can cauterizing the electorate and by stopping the bad stuff before it can happen. All of a sudden, you saw a change in Mississippi, for instance, prior to the Voting Rights ACT in early one thousand, nine hundred and sixty only five percent of black adults were registered to vote two years after the Voting Rights ACT. It was
sixty percent. That's the power of the Voting Rights ACT. So when you remove that kind of block from from these states who are trying to figure out, how do we stop black people from voting? How do we stop Tino. From voting. How do we stop asian Americans from voting when you prevent that kind of short circuiting of race So you can allow democracy to work, and that creates this environment that were in right. Now so. On that note, I wondrous read you a quote from Chief Justice Roberts that I think you're gonna recognise. He said that things have changed in the south of voter turnout, a red straight rates and hearing means between black and white voters. Now approach parity ah blatant. Criminal, tory evasions of federal decrees, are rare and minority can it?
hold office at unprecedented levels. Are. The chief would go on to argue that, because America just isn't as racists as it used to be so the voting rights measures we implemented to combat Jim Crow, are no longer justified. So what's wrong with the chief justice assessment of racism in America, There were so many things wrong with his decision. One about this. Somehow the the diminution of racism in America. Given the vitriol that the Obama's had to deal with, and in that time Then the rise of right wing militias in that time, given the fact that you even had over seven hundred proposed changes blocked by the? U S: Department of Justice because of racial discrimination and the Voting Rights ACT didn't just pick
the south. I mean that's a really nice narrative, but their rebellion and bail out provisions. So the bail out provisions basically said all you have to do if you're already under the Pre Clarence provisions of the voting bisect is not active full all you had to do what was it like ten years that you had just tell me, raise a try it you might like it right. That's all you have to do and you could get bailed out and and there were also bill in provisions so that there are areas California areas in New York areas in Arizona that we're getting bailed n b. Because they were discriminating against their population
it's a bail in means that it's a state that was it subject, pre Clarence I didn't have to get its walls approved by people in DC, but because it showed a pattern of races They said yes, what guys now you're now you're under pre clearances. Well exactly, and so they these worthies entire states. They were jurisdictions within the states like counties and things like that within California, because it was really clear that something really foul and wicked racially discriminatory was happening consistently, and so the Voting Rights ACT. Wasn't this kind of calcified archaic. You know you almost get this this. This Midge of of Grandpa on the porch. You know a hundred and nine year old grandpa on the rocking chair, whose our thridded can can't move anymore when you're reading John Roberts decision. But that's not the Voting Rights ACT in it. It was vibrate in it worked and the mole
at the moment that the Supreme Court got it. The pre clearance provision of the Voting Rights ACT. It it was bad. So we are now about a little more than five years out from shall be county. I can you tell me what that fall out looks like now that we ve had new states have had some time to not be under Pre Clarence. You may states have had the time to really active fool without having the Department of Justice go. You are, the full of so too. We two hours after the shall be counted beholder decision taxes implemented its voter I d law and it is a voter Idee law that has been back and forth in the court's deck same kind of litigation that we had before the Voting Rights ACT and the courts have ruled
that that voters, Idee law was Rachel. Discriminatory and that it had a racially discriminatory intent in this? The way that the law are our written it so that it sounds fair everywhere it, has an idea. I mean how hard as it to show an idea. I mean how many times have we heard this? Let me like so, if you know The show I d, there must be something wrong with you, but it's not is the way that they write. These laws were Is it about voter idea because, like I mean, I do think that if you're a middle class ass, American, like it. It's just so obvious to you that people have ideas that it takes some explain for a lot of people to understand how these things function as voters, suppression also walk, walk the listeners through that Asher will and I can go state by
state, so less take Texas first. So what Texas did in its law is said, you must have a government issued photo Idee, but your student, I d from a state universe. City doesn't count, but your gun registration does right right. You can see how you can begin to shape your electorate by shaping the kinds of ideas that are eligible that are viable to access the ballot box and the kinds of ideas that art the other thing that it did as it knew that one third of its count didn't, have a department of motor vehicles and, as the interval Lacy legal defence, fun identified that affected about one point: six May
million voters who were overwhelmingly hispanic african, american and poor Texas, originally in its law, that its draft law realise that, because one third of his counties didn't have a department of motor vehicles that people are gonna have to make about a two hundred and fifty mile round trip.
To get a voter a driver's license, and so they had reimbursement language in their before the bill passed? They drew a red line through the reimbursement. So now think about this, you don't have a driver's licence. The nearest driver's license bureaus is a hundred twenty five miles away, so you're gonna have to make a two hundred and fifty miles round trip, but you know DR, and yet I have public transportation that can take you two hundred and fifty miles. How do you get there? How do you get the driver's licence as an american citizen, for you to be able to vote sides unlighted draw out, I guess, distinction between racism and just partisan hackers here. So like a moon, he looks like student ideas. Actually I don't know I haven't seen data on whether black people or white people are more likely tat, students, ideas, but I do know that college students,
they vote or more likely to vote for Democrats and this is something I see over and over again is. I see walls that they have racial implications, But the purpose is it necessarily to disenfranchised black and brown people the purposes to disenfranchise Democrats, and I wonder I mean I might be asking you to practice law without a license here, but we have a constitution that forbids race discrimination. We have a voting rights ACT, what's left of it, that is bits race, discrimination there actually is it a provision of the constitution that says that you can't disenfranchised somewhat for putting a Democrat, so. I mean how how do you do to deal with? when you have these provisions that appear to be raised, neutral and sometimes our race neutral, but there still voter suppression. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for their quest it because this is not the issue
Hocker Full, but they say that Mark TWAIN said history may not repeat itself, but to show due rime and and when Mississippi in eighteen. Ninety is so. Yes, I'm taking us back to the arrears, no massive disfranchised meant coming after the civil war and in the Mississippi plan of eighteen. Ninety Mississippi said who we don't want black folks evoked but we cannot write a law. This is we don't want black folk to vote because we got this fifteenth amendment now the says you cannot ride Alaska. We don't wear black folks vote, so we are going to use these legacies of slavery. We're going to use these euphemisms and we're going to make these the access to the ballot box while I say we don't want black folk to vote, and so this is what you get the pole tax, which is based on wealth in it
had centuries of slavery, followed by the black coat, followed by sheer cropping, being able to spin two to six percent of farm. Family annual income is well nigh impossible in terms of being able to vote. But it didn't say we don't want black folk to vote. It just said we want people to be able to pay for the elections, So we ve got to understand that we ve dealing in a in a world where we ve- we ve, mastered the synonyms for race. Like the voter, I d, it sounds reasonable and, like everybody has an idea, but you take nor Carolina North Carolina looked at said: got data said who has what types of Idee by race and then we're going to privilege the kinds of ideas that White South and we're going to
exclude the kinds of ideas that African Americans overwhelmingly have. What we all we need to understand is that were in this moment, because we're looking at a lot of voter suppression. A lot of these techniques are coming through the Republican Party, and that is because again, history The southern strategy where, towards the late nineteenth sixties after Lyndon Johnson, has signed the Civil Rights ACT and the Voting Rights ACT. Southern demo France were apoplectic because they like wait a minute. Let me see if I get this right, we're not going to we're supposed to be in a party that has the federal government saying they recognize and will enforce the citizenship rights of black people,
and the Republican said come to me and the seller strategy would them an saying We have a home here then, what happen is that when the Republicans wool, that toxic of frankly pure uncut white supremacy in to the Republican Party, the Republicans thought that they could handle it, but that toxin was so virulent than what it's done as it has driven the moderates out of the Republican Party and the republic have moved further and further to the right, as America has become more racially diverse, and so then the question is: is that you get this weird linkage where, by going after, issues of say were only going after Democrats because the democratic, much more diverse as a party right that it?
looks like we're going after Democrats is so. This is really just a partisan issue when in fact, it's absolutely racial list, and we have to understand that one of the most remarkable legal briefs I've ever read was Texas was so food over racial gerrymander and what they said it. Their brief is, they said. Oh, this is interracial jet jerry, but we did disenfranchise these people. This is was Latinos. We did disenfranchise that because of their skin color. We just it shows that because their democratic right right of and the Supreme Court said, that's ok right. So I mean, when you think about the part that the Supreme Court did on extreme partisan gerrymandering up in Wisconsin, now that extreme partisan gerrymandering, what they were, arguing that this is political. That political, as the Republicans drew a map that a
eliminated as many competitive districts as possible, which was going to reduce the the voter turn out, but they also drew the map with like mass of some incredible powerful software? Like Cambridge Analytical Data about who lived where in the way and in such a way that they said regardless of the vote, we will always have the majority of the power. I mean think about that as a concept in democracy. Regardless of the vote, we will always have the mature of the power, and it worked so that that first time they that that map ran democrats received, I think, fifty two percent of the vote and thirty eight thirty nine percent of the seats and it got worse
sense. But when you looked at those maps where they were really doing was was just deluding the power coming out of, say Milwaukee, where seventy percent of the state's black population lives. So if you can dilute the power where seventy percent of the state's black population lives, you can do some damage in the Supreme Corset ACT. This really looks like a partisan That has nothing to do with. I don't know one person, one vote, one of your foundational principles in law, but I digress since I wanted for moment. Take the conservative arguments seriously here. So, like your what they hear over and over again is voter from that need a voter, Idee, lock, someone my pretend to be someone else at the polls we are.
Fraid of voting by male her. Someone might gather up a bunch of people's mallet valets and not vote for the people that they want to vote for. And so I how concerned, should I be that road or fraud is poisoning our elections. Thank you for that question. With a so first, I'm gonna talk about a study done by law, Professor California, just in love. It and he added up all of the votes cast between two thousand and two thousand and fourteen, and he found it a billion votes. As Carl Sagan Dish, a billion votes have been cast in elections in the United States and there were thirty one cases of voter impersonation fraud in that fifteen years bay. It with a.
Million votes. But if you don't believe a California law, professor less actually listened to the votes oppressors themselves when they have to go in to say federal court in their arguing for voter. I d be, we have to. We have over this massive rampant voter fraud. Gregg abbot, he's argue. We ve got massive rapid voter fraud. That's why we in the Just like how many massive, how many it, how many, how many and too two cases out of twenty million votes you take Chris callback out of Kansas, who is arguing that than the than the barriers that he put in place to access the vote and that led to thirty five thousand,
and people being pushed off and he's like. We got all these non citizens who did because all of this is about fear. We ve got all These non citizens, who are just point steal our elections. I said how many only how many mass at how many one so one problem that I think I hear about after every single action is that there's always some precinct where there's a five hour line and it seems to happen in one of two places. It happens in communities of color and it has on college campuses. So, like I gather for reading your book, this isn't an accident Add I wonder if you could walk me through how it happened in, and it happened in a minute later
the lad. I understand why Rachel sings Georgia sucking up up up up up. How it happens. It deals with resource allocation, so in predominantly minority precincts. You don't put enough working machines in you, don't put enough pole workers it and so it creates these lines that stretch from here to eternity by not having working machines by not having
pull workers by not having enough polling places for the density of the population, one of the things that happen after shall be county holder, is that Georgia closed over two hundred pulling places, seventy five percent of which were in minority and poor communities. So when you begin to to limit the number of places where you can vote- and you start fondling a population into fewer and fewer spaces, and then you put fewer machines if you are poor workers. I like in it too, is a couple of days before a big holiday and you
run into the store to get the groceries for the big meal right, there's supposed to be twenty, two cash registers open. Instead, there are four four: where they're supposed to be twenty two. What do you think that line looks like right look and you begin to start making these calculations as azure. Looking at these lines of wow, that line is stretching the way back into the other I'll. Maybe I don't need stove top this year. So, and this is how it works so here a recent report has come out that african Amiss
cows and Hispanics spend the most time in lie somewhere, and I don't have a figure in front of me, but is somewhere like forty five to fifty one percent more time than than white spent in line in their pulling places. We saw that here in the twenty twenty primary in an area in Atlanta that is very diverse, the lines were up but five hours in chess Dane which is a wealthier white, predominantly white neighbourhood The line was six minutes so five hours six minutes and in what that is designed to do. It is designed to say I don't need, top right. It is designed to dissuade people from standing in that line.
What we know from the research is that they then not only does it dissuade them, but they're telling their their community they're telling their families are telling the fence. You know I was in life of five hours and it has a depressive effect. That's what it's designed to do so one thing that I really struggle with as a journalist is- the research that I've seen online when people here a bow voters. Suppression is like the mere fact that someone is hearing this conversation that we're having can potentially deter someone from voting but, like I feel like we ve, got to tell this true because nothing will be done so like. Let's take this in a somewhat more hopeful direct absolutely Europe. What what do we want to people to hear? so that they know that, like despite all these obstacles. You know they can be overcome its not to me. The first thing
and one of the reasons I wrote the book, so let me limited, but the reason why I wrote the book and then move through there is that I was watching too many of the pundits after the twenty sixteen election. Well, you know black folks just didn't show up, you know, area only just stayed home cause Lou, they were filling Hilary. I mean you know, she's, not Obama, and an end. This narrative of this black folks just didn't show up so yes blackfooted.
Turn out, went down by seven percent, but this was the first presidential election in fifty years without the protection of the Voting Rights ACT in these states. Over half of the states in the United States had some voter suppression law in place, and so part of this is for folks to understand that there is a system that is doing this was so it's not just you that somehow individually didn't get your absentee ballot mail to you or got kicked off of the roles, and you thought it was As you know, between two thousand and fourteen and two thousand and sixteen, I believe the the Brenner sent her head over. Sixteen million people have been purged offer the voter roles. So the first thing is to understand: it's not a kind of individual thing, but that
there's something out there and once we know there's something out there, then we know how to attack it. We'd know what it is. We know how to go for it, and so I have in the book like the the remit special election in Alabama in twenty seventeen right This is their special election for the? U S in it, and it has done Roy more right who's got every. Is them drippin off of ill, but he's the front runner the post, so that here going to win. I don't even know whether its despite or because of his is lips and is coming up against a Jones, and that black community had had every method of voters. Suppression applied against them,
and civil society rose up. They understood how the methods worked and how to get around the over them through them. It was beautiful, it was beautiful, they win after the issue. A felony disfranchised went they. Whenever the issue of Paul closures, they went after the issue of of a wrong information. They did the heavy lifting of democracy and, in that election, John Marrow who's, the Secretary of State thought that voter turn out to be about twenty five percent actually was forty percent, but in the black belt counties it was forty five percent five percentage points higher. So the folks who had had the
well done against them rose up because of all of the grass roots, mobilizing at organizing. That was happening, and this is why we do not have? U S senator brought more. Thank you Jesus. And ended is and what happens then, in these elections we have to mobilise and organise, so that we get policy makers in place who actually believe in democracy. This is part of what we oh happening in Virginia Virginia had had all of these voters. Suppression laws in place, people organ eyes in mobilized Anne and turned out to vote Virginia started doing away with felony disenfranchisement started doing putting in measures dealing with our vote
registration in dealing with measures that really opened up democracy at so it can be done, and it means that we have to fight that initial battle of moving through all of this vote or suppression, and basically ridding our system of those who don't believe in democracy, who don't believe that american citizens have the right to vote and who treat them right to vote as a privilege that you have to earn by jumping, through all by bus figuring out how to go two hundred and fifty miles to go? Get
put driver's license or figuring out how to stand in line on a work day for five hours to vote. So it's it's. It's that's how we win. That's how we rid this system of this EC and getting people in Congress who believe in voting rights. Who will therefore pass the John Louis Voting Rights ACT, so we can begin to get the kind of protection we need. So that's a great place to stop. I want to ask you one more question which is this: is the question gas everyone at the end of the podcast? What is your plan that you have planned out in advance to make sure that your vote will be counted
I have decided to go paper, so I have requested my am. I requested my absentee ballad in July for the November elections, an I'm tracking it and tracking the status of that request online and I'm making a a screen shot of that request. So I have documentation. But I'm going, I'm doing it that way and I'm going to I'm not gonna. Do it the of the male I'm going to go to the drop box and put my absentee ballot in the drop by That is my plan. To vote be so I can ensure a that. My vote is counted, be that I could track it and see if all hell breaks loose there.
We have an audible paper trail of the votes. So that is is is my plan for voting and tactical. Thank you so much this is. Business has been great, Thank you so much. I love this conversation thanks again to Carol Anderson for walking through the continuing legacy of voters. Suppression in this country, one thing that stood out In that conversation is how everything old is new, again allowed. Any democratic tactics seeing and twenty twenty resemble tactics used in the Jim Crow era, as courts. Dismantle The laws we enact to fight Jim Crow, modern day votes oppressors can run a similar playbook to the one their great grandparents ran, but there's good news here as well: because we're seeing so many familiar tactics. We also how to stop those tactics we ve already done it once
which brings me to my next gas civil rights, We urge Nay Nelson, who will tell us about some proposed policy solutions to these poor. Bombs and ways they can be implemented after the break. If the last year's taught us anything, it's that we do What will happen next, but there's one thing we can all be sure the only future one we can all share and the charge in building that future his mercy core with over forty years of humanitarian work under its belt building together, is a mercy course DNA and as the climate, This increases their partnering with those on the front lines. Making resources more accessible to farmers across the globe, Anthony communities against escalating natural disasters and ensuring people have, tools, they need to thrive. Mercy cores the work that matters and do it alone- that's really I commend together we
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dot. Org welcome back as immeasurable. For the brake by next gases, Janine Nelson DNA is associate director. Council of the end, doubly legal defence in education, fun, she's, a civil rights lawyer, she's been a law professor, she's, an expert on voting rights and she's. One of many experts whose building a consensus in Washington around too aggressive pieces of voting rights, legislation that pass the house and twenty nineteen Democrats perform well in this election. These bills could become law very quickly and twenty twenty one Janine. I dive pretty deep into the weeds on these two bills. In this conversation,
And then we talked about how Americans can protect their own voting rights and help fight voter suppression in this upcoming election, so really practical conversation with a lot of tips for it's the end for individuals who want to protect their vote. I hope you enjoy my conversation with your name. Nelson. Today, also welcome to broadcast in her ear odds. It's great to get started on this arm, so I want to start with and fairly optimistic future. So imagine that its January, we have a different president and we have a congress that is really itching to pass a really strong voting rights bill. What should be in that? bill others agree question and I like that, we're starting there is it so important start with some optimism. It underscores How very high stakes are and was possible. We are able to vote in a functional Congress on the
as we don't really have to invent a bill out. I've whole cloth there too, comprehensive and transformative bills that have already been passed by the house and provide a really excellent starting point. To build a new, improved democracy. Those are the John Louis Voting Rights advancement. Ass, often ass each hour for and the fourth people, acts known as aids are one, and both of them should be passed. If we have a contrast, is able to do so, we have one now they're able than simply not willing as a whole a bit more about each of those pills. If you'd like give us much drill down a bit into them. So, like one perennial problem we see. Is that a stir? will pass something, a wall that already unconstitutional already illegal. Maybe too, she'll gerrymander, you know- maybe it's just a way of disenfranchised people, but it could take the court's years to strike that law down and in those years the states running away
actions under this law that should exist so how'd. You prevent that from happening. How'd you prevent All makers from conducting a law running several actions under that law and then maybe enacting something slightly different when the court's get around to striking it down, yeah we're losing that it happens. Time and again, it is probably one of the most pressing problems for voting rights. Advocates is the idea that elections can take place under a law that is later found to be discriminatory and the grating, is that the idea of the voting rights of ass, an act which has been named after the war, then legendary civil Rights Euro, Jean Louis, that bill it contains a greek clearance for him then that restores the power war that in the voting rights ass before the Supreme Court evil that in twenty first Sell states like Georgia and taxes
barely Louisiana and many others will have to seek federal approval before make a voting change and that's crook off too, as you say, prevent elections to occur under laws that should never have been in place in the first place that are illegal and that serve to this franchise communities and largely, communities gotcha sought. So when a drill down a bit more on each hour, want an age or and some other provisions in them. The first I was really old enough to pay attention to was the two thousand election and specifically the two thousand election in Florida. Let me do it was a nightmare of one of the things that made it a nightmare. Is that there is this purge list of voters were kicked off of the vote. We were kicked off. The vote, a roles we don't know how many people were purrs, you shouldn't have been purge, but bushes margin of victory was about five hundred votes, so there's a dead the likelihood that Al Gore would have become president, if not for this purge less.
Why is voter registration still a thing that can be used to two disenfranchised people like? Why is it the case that you're right to vote still depends on your name appearing on this registration lest and what does the legislation Congress is considering due to deal with that problem. So there are a number of issues that you raised. There are men and we must be somewhere orbiting around the same age, because the two thousand, the lesson was the lesson that really was privilege for me as well. In fact, it was the very first voting rights case than I ever litigated in the aftermath of that election in order to protect a black and hasten american voters in Florida who had been disenfranchise some because of the very practice that you mentioned. The voter purge so well, let's just start with virgin and then and then go back to voter registration issues in the two thousand election. There's something of this maintenance right into something that we,
want to see happen, in our states, where election officials ensure that the people who are ready There are still one alive still lived in a proper jurisdiction that they meet all the qualifications that we have for voting That's something that's perfectly legitimate and fair problem is that Many election of this all use? What, should be an innocuous process of just cleaning up the voter rules to urge people intention from the wrong to active we remove people from the walls and two targets, particularly that they don't want to vote. We saw that in the two thousand and lessons were added: the governor since you do a purse process that target people with felony convictions. If you happen to be a member of a community that has a disproportionate number of people with felony,
the tens. In that case, the asked anymore community. Also that nets community then use- a greater likelihood of being kidnapped. The roles as part of that sweet not only if you happen to have a felony conviction, but even if you don't, you may share a name of someone who has a felony conviction. You may be misidentified, as someone has a felony conviction, and that happened to the tune of one thousand one hundred people in the Florida, the large voting rules in advance of the two thousand elections who were wrongfully removed from the voters and, as you know, in the margins of victory in that credit a presidential election was a mere five hundred and thirty seven votes in Florida. If you look at the impact of that type of crime? automatic voter purge, it shows that it can potentially change the outcome of the elections and the entire trajectory of our country. Now, if we lose
at the question of voter ready listen. Why do we need to affirmatively? Have Citizens of this country bear such a disproportionate burden and owners to register. In my mind, is such an antiquated process. It so very last century require people off too have to fill out a form and bringing into a pressing to get online and and decide to do it. Neither one of the few democracies that places such a burden on voters to participate in our democracy, what many states, or with a growing number of states, doing now is alive, an automatic voter registration. So when you turn eighteen and you're citizen of this country, you can all about it be added to the voting rules and different states. Didn't you
the Ways Oregon was the first state to do it in twenty sixteen. But since then, we have roughly twenty states that have some form of autumn voter registration with has in Greece, the voting balls in many of those states, and there are estimates that suggests that in the first year alone, if we had national voter registration women? over the years something like twenty two to twenty seven million new voters to our voter registration rules, which could be train. Formative special, because it brings a lot of New York. Your voters into the electorates and many there are having to be people of color where we have the largest growing a graphic of young people in this country, I am churches there. It is showing like it states like or again that have that make it very easy to register that. Do it automatically. Do you see a shifted, the demographics of who actually votes
you have to draw down and look at the demographics of the state overall, but my understanding is that with automatic voter registration in it, People from the margins, who typically have a difficult times registering two votes, so it picks up analyze voices from alchemy the color of the elderly, he killed humanity, people who disabilities and young people who may recognize the importance of that civic duty immediately but when they are invited into our democracy by an affirmative action of the government, then they began to petition more robustly judge and if each are one passes it. What would it requires to have some form of automatic registration. Yes it's her one which is before the people ass? It would include. Nationwide automatic voter registration. It also
what is all important early voting two weeks of early voting in every state which taste the burden off our election system on a single day. I was still exist in some states. It also marks election days, a federal holiday which again easing the burden on individuals to persist in our democracy, in a holiday, in giving them the time that they need in order to cast a ballot and finally, for the people out also places some limitations on voter purges which again As for the reasons we discussed is quite is quite important gotcha. So let me switch to a different problem. Gerrymander, ah, here I mean gerrymandering, is, I think, a by partisan problem, but because Republicans happen to have a very good year in twenty ten, which was the year before the new maps were drawn. They got to do it
four sized amount of gerrymander it, and so we ve seen that in the elections we ve had for the last ten years? What can be done and like what specifically is Congress considering right now to deal with this gerrymander it all. It takes us right back to before the people ass each hour once also deals indifferent, the electorate, ministries and registration issues that we talked about, eight other for the people. That also deals with partners and gerrymandering it in the two non partisan commissions to draw electoral districts. There are no roughly twenty states that are already using either by party, said or non partisan commissions to play some raw in the process which helps to reduce partisan overreach there, curse. As you know, with Africa
the parties but has been exacerbated and just exponential growth in the hands of the Republican Party, enriched years, so we ve been talking so far about a fairly optimistic future, were not there yet and there's going to be an election and it's going to be wrong with many governor who want to engage and voter suppression with many laws that are already on the book that make it difficult to vote, and on top of that, there is going to be a huge amount of litigation. I think that the Trump team has twenty million dollar litigation slush fund. Ah, that's intended to make it harder for certain people to vote. So what can be done to combat what already on the books now and what is being done right now to deal with the fact that
people who don't want everyone to vote have a ton of lawyers and a ton of money that there be ready to ready to use to try to rescue the election. Well I'd like to think that listen, we're not naive about why. The array of resources are to suppress. The vote in this country and it only underscores how powerful the right to vote is that it Quires sets signals. And finance- all human resources and frankly malfeasance mischief to keep people away from the pause there so much power and the right to vote that it requires that, and I I I feel confident at least in some instances are we have the wherewithal to bring strong cases Bay
on strong legal precedent and principles of our democracy. That will yield the right result in Four cases. Of course, there have been cases that have gone the other way we talked about the shall become I kissed the citizens United case and many others that have been deeply concerned, we can only I hope that the dude Fury Wall Step in and still the breach and play an impartial, roar and interpret the law. Not through a partisan landsbergis. Lands of justice ended. Obviously Of course, we can't be naive about the the cash frankly of the judiciary in this moment, where we are seeing an increasingly high number of conservative and- and equally it experienced just
and judges who have deemed to be unfair and unqualified interferon judiciary with lifetime appointments, so So why is this continues. It will be difficult to rely on course for an impartial education. Have these issues so there's something that Stacy Abrams. The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate said that stuck with me, which is that allow These laws that are being enacted by state legislatures and upheld by the courts or written to make voter suppression, look like user error, so light you it's not that you were denied them to vote is that you didn't bring the right idea. It's not that you are denied. The right to vote is that you didn't say, and your ballot in the right place. You you you like what sea, going on now, I think, is different than what happened in It's a city in the nineteen fifty's in that it's not a whole.
Sale like why look the call of your skin, so you can't vote the ito. It's an attempt to make it look like it is the voters fault, I guess, given that framework? Does that mean that voters have more control? Did you notice to prove you can convey, take matters into their own ends? for that they don't get trapped by those sorts of things voice in this country. Is there such a significant burden in ensuring that they have opportunity to participate, obviously it is something were actively working to change because an unfair and unjust burden to place upon people who we I'll, be providing a welcome that too, in our to participate in the lessons and these civically engaged, that said, the reality is in this moment. Voters must be prepared to vote and that you know
today the name of our vote engagement campaigns, and so we we will see that there is a measure of control that voters can take to do everything within their power? To sure that they are checking your registry stands there there. Registration is up to date that they noted violets and officials if they move there they know when early voting starts, that they know, You know how they can cast a male and balance the debt. I for requesting a male and balance. All of that is information. That is readily available to voters if they seek it unfortunate that they have to seek it. There should be a means for voters to receive every possible entry into our are the tall system from state officials, but to defend it. That's happening here,
Asking that all voters eyes do whatever it. Things to ensure that they can cast valets this November. Stacy runs describes as something that is not at all new to those of us in the civil rights community, It really is a reflection of the latter's. Recognition of, power of reason. what's wrong: laws and practices to wreak asthma, have it and Often more than even most blatant intentionally discriminatory laws, we see that, not only in the area of voting. We see that a cross civil rights areas. Issues and It doesn't mean that we should ignore the fact that men of these, Throw laws were with an intent to discriminate against particular our voters at our electorate and often voters of color or that even if that intends is not present, that they have
a significant, disproportionate effect on those communities that is, Words are democracy, regardless of whether that was the intended out from view and see had a scheme where they recruited a bunch of off duty police officers and I believe they gave them armed bands identifying them as election security. With the apparent attempt intent of intimidating black and brown voters against vote and for many years they were on the currency was under a court order. Saying don't do that the court orders and now been Soft- and this will be the first presidential election without that court order and peace ace. So how worried are you about voter intimidation and what steps can be taken right now to make sure that voters aren't scared out of asking their vote? Water and sanitation is extremely concerning variants. Invasion is as old as this democracy and the entire.
These are black waters in particular, is as old as the fifteen member granting black men the right to work in eighteen. Seventy eight, as you point out. There has been. Something of a control, voter intimidation sentiment in areas where either you mentioned the off duty police officers. You not only were where blue armbands, but they were also armed with service, revolvers and days, swarms, Three things are many of which were in blackened possibilities in New Jersey, another neighborhoods like that to you and him them and to deter them from casting their it is now right to vote. Into the lawsuit disband this the so called task force. It was called the national ballots security forests and What you are saying is that
I think not so, coincidentally, now that consent agree has expired. Trumped state very recently that we are going to have sheriffs law enforcement. U S attorneys in attorneys general, at the pause in and of itself is voter intimidation. It's just that. You have to navigate MA Force may end up essential police force and people who to prosecute you in order to catch, The balance is, to Malaysia on his face and Recently, second border has received roll calls misinforming them there. Voting by mail, not expose their presence. Information to creditors into law enforcement, and even to the CDC for four, persons were forced vaccination Tat was misinformation that group like the legal defence than are combating by
voters to be discerning that if they have a question about a vote wall or law or barrier that they hear about the date shattered with a within its source, and there are many author, including including Us and our civil rights allies. But we know that there may be attempts to intimidate voters on the ground, which is why we are partners in election protection network. In force that will have people on the ground on election day. There will have people away a book by phone at eight It's our vote. In order to feel cars, complaints and hopefully get release and go to the court if necessary, to prevent Any further intimidation happening from the poles, but it happens to so many means and mechanisms and example being set by Trump who is using his platform to
evil and involved in those who might intimidate. Voters is probably the most concerning aspect of this off. So that number that you just at eight six six our vote so if I receive a call, telling me if I vote then they'll be some terrible consequence that The number that I can call to get credible. It Ice on whether I actually need to worry I will advise on whether that is a legitimate instruction and also very helpful for us to be able to track what entered Listen tactics are being used and there are many places to go for information. If you, if you want to know inside of you wonder your registration status there There are all sorts of Dublin and
well as civil rights, funded sites, backing give you that information and let you know, what's through an will enable you to test the book. Can you just name a few of those sites? Just so people who are listening? If they have questions, they know where they can go to get reliable information, all voters can go to your daddy. Usa, DOT Gov Slash, confer voter registration too and see if the register to vote and confirmed voter registration is separated by hastens confirm, hastened voter, hastened registration to that Usa, that does, and you can type in basic information about where your located in building and find out immediately, if you're registered to vote and The legal affairs found recently launched a I would say that is done. To voting and voting.
This information is a one stop shop for everything you might want to know about voting rights, including Sesar redistricting, which is all tied in to this. In Turkey the western system that we have voting site is voting and w C p, L tee ass dot, org voting, and a c p already after work, that's good remain that anyone listening who hasn't filled out their senses form go. Do that? Yes, that is critical. Count it. So one thing I hear over and over again is that voters need to have a plan so that they know where They're gonna go to vote or whether they're gonna get absentee ballot, and they're going to cast that ballot. So what is your plan to make sure that your vote is counted? how to say that I've already requested my absentee ballot here at my home state of New York really voting here begins October, twenty fourth and ends November first, and
intense you physically, in my ballot at a precinct during early voting period to ensure that it has received and counted and if the recommended plan that we have for anyone who players by now you request your ballot earliest. If your state requires that you requested and not receive it without any demand. And ass? You asked physically turn it into a designated local sudden drop off were present. That will take your balance, and that is best assurance that new have that it will be countered. Of course, if you are vote in person. You know Europe that day and be prepared to face whatever obstacles may come off it. With a long wait lines other issues ideas it as required in your states. There are so many important ways, prepare for this elections, but every
once it has a plan, a backup. Had a fail, safe Blair. You know it and then an emergency plan. If we have to draw up on that, but that is absolutely necessary and everyone to be reaching out to their networks sure that Everyone they know is also equally prepared to vote. And finally was in that of the legal defence. Fun is working on with the more than vote organization that was started by the brown genes is a pole worker recruitment drive if you the ability to service poor worker in this. Coming lessons. Please do We are in facing a shortage of all workers, you can go. The power to the polls that or and sign up to find out more about how to become a coworker in your jurisdiction. Ensure that everyone can cast
unequal, valid and receiving assistance that they need in this election today. Nelson, thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for having me thank you for joining us, like the show I'll be back next week with an absurd and how the pandemic is impacting the election and what can be done to ensure that it doesn't disenfranchise voters, my knee, is had no Heizer. You could find me on twitter at at I Milhouse. I wonder PETE some of the resources that your name share. Eight six six Our vote is the number that you can call for reliable information and voting and will place the two websites that today action insurance, the show was produced, Jackson Beer felt it was edited by Albert Venture, executive producers lives, Nelson and they show is part of the Vocs media cats network visit, vocs dot com slush tat to find more of our ships.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-15.