Martin Bashir | November 02, 2012
>>> the president is speaking live at this very moment in lima, ohio . his third stop in the battleground buckeye state where every single vote is sure to count. the republican plan to win the white house is now in its third and final phase. first they wanted to depress voter registration among democrats, then they moved on to encouraging states to create new and unnecessary voter i.d. laws, and now they're planning to intimidate voters even if they turn up to pledge their votes. for more on this issue i'm delighted to welcome ari melber, a lawyer and correspondent for "the nation" magazine and karen finney, a columnist for the hill and an msnbc political analyst. karen , in virginia the election officials are caught warning residents about anonymous callers who are saying things over the phone that are intimidating. in florida similar tactics targeting black and hispanic voters but there are also deceitful actions at actual polling stations.
>> absolutely. there have been reports in colorado and also earlier in nevada of people also tearing up voter registration forms if you didn't register republican. you also have people coming up to individuals who are trying to do early vote asking them for their i.d. even though they have no right to ask them for their i.d. there have been reports of people filming people going in and out of polling locations. we have heard some stories about both during the voting reg strak process and we're hearing it's going to happen again on election day of intentionally starting fights, intentionally creating a ruckus so if you get there and the line is long and there's a fight going on, you know, anything they can do to make it harder for to you stand there and vote.
>> from your perspective, how does an he will telderly person who shows up without formal photo i.d. copes when a young person who appears to be professional approaches them and starts asking them questions about i.d.?
>> that's part of why the democrats we call our folks who go to the polls vote protectors and the republicans call their folks vote challengers. there will be volunteers to try to monitor and make sure that stuff isn't happening. one of the key messages we will tell people over the weekend is if you get there and you get in line, you have a right to vote. there will be lawyers on hand that are making sure if there's a problem, we'll get you a ro provisional ballot . we'll get the polls kept own later. we'll figure out a way if you're in line, you will get to vote.
>> the battle over voter fraud laws are likely to continue. but i had a sense when i was talking to you earlier that some see very positive results coming from the supreme court 's decision on ohio early voting . is that a view you share?
>> i think so. people have given a lot of attention to the fact that originally the supreme court did allow voter i.d. which we have seen causes all of these problems. on the other hand, when ohio republicans tried to do this year, as you're pointing out, is stop early voting in ohio . when a federal judge told them they couldn't stop it, the republicans took it to the supreme court and the supreme court unanimously shut that down and basically said you have to keep the early voting open and it was unanimous. that's pretty significant. we think of this court as being polarized and on many key issues it is, but i think on early voting which is where voting is going from 33% last cycle to upward of 40% this cycle which is a way to deal with problems, if you vote early and you run into problems, you have more time left than on voting day.
>> many viewers may be saying what rational argument is there for stopping early voting ?
>> well, if you think it's going to be close in a state, right, we just heard yesterday some reports that absentee ballots in ohio mysteriously disappeared. we know a lot of things go down in ohio and ohio may very well be another place where we're fighting it out.
>> what i would add to that though, i think for a lot of people, there was a lot of excitement around barack obama 's first campaign and there was a feeling that they tried to stop him and failed. this time it's personal. this time they're trying to stop all of us. so i would just echo what karen said which is for anyone in terms of news you can use, if you are at the polls, if someone approaches you as you're on your way in or in the line, you don't have to engage them. you can find your own help, your own support. keep your phone on you. if you have a twitter or other things you can document while you're there, you can use those, and figure out your way to stay and get in line before the polls close. if you're in line, you have the right to stay in line and cast your vote no matter how long. bring warm clothes, bring water, and keep in touch.
>> and the law protects you.
>> yes, it does.
>> karen , it's not just voter deception, also voter intimidation because we learned this week that a wisconsin venture capitalist, a man who has given money to dick armey 's freedom works is behind billboards in poor areas of ohio and wisconsin warning residents they could be arrest fd they commit voter fraud . why would he be doing that?
>> i can't imagine. yet here we have been hearing all these interesting predictions about how romney is going to win in wisconsin and how romney is going to win in iowa and guess what? both iowa and wisconsin we've also heard that romney poll watcher volunteers were given misinformation about what kind of i.d. you need to have when you go to vote. they will actually be doing the job incorrectly when they get there. it's all a coincidence though, martin. i don't want to you think there's any kind of, you know, right wing conspiracy to any of that.
>> i feel -- listening to karen finney i just feel better. but i do think this is bigger than this election. this is the oldest battle in american democracy. if you define democracy as everyone being able to technically vote, we are a very young democracy from just the civil rights era . if you define it as being able to vote without barriers, it's still indanger.
>> i wish we had more