Melissa Harris-Perry | February 09, 2013
>> that was a great moment. that was president obama during his election night victory speech shouting out one of the problems that plagued the democratic process that dayment for many voters election day was an exercise and less in democracy and more like an exercise in endurance as they waited in seemingly interminable lines to vote. but some people in miami even fainting in the process. the average florida voter waited in line for 45 minutes, taand the longest wait time in the country and not the only state where voters had to stand for hours. in virginia, voters were still casting ballots well after the election had been called. poll observers saw people in pennsylvania and ohio walk away before they could ever vote. it is a problem that we know how the fix. and in a new report the brennan center for justice lays out a blueprint to do just that and i so happen to have both the repo report and the president of the brennan center with me at the table. all right. michael, how do we fix this since the president said that we have to do something about it.
>> and it was significant for him to say this on election night and in the inaugural address , because that is prime real estate . this is a visible symptom of the understood l underlying way we run elections, but there are solutions to generally modernize the way we run elections. the first is to modernize voter registration first, and a lot of the problems are ram shackled voter registration system of pap paper, that leaves tens of millions of voters off of the rolls and has errors and dead people 's names and so forth, and every election two to three million people cannot vote because of voter registration problems f. we had the voter registration modernization that changed the paradigm that the government took responsibility to make sure that everybody who is eligible ston rolls electronically, it would add up to 50 million people and cost less and for the people worried about the fraud, it helps to deal with it as well.
>> isn't this the model that you have for the draft, right, is that you have to opt out and not opt-in. so there is an exek ptation that at age 18 you go the register and vote, and there is a way in which we can actually generate a registration process that makes pit norm rather than exceptional thing to do.
>> yes, we think it should be opt-in but done easily and electronically and you will get many more people on the rolls and fewer problems causing the lines on the election day . so that was point one. the second thing that we could have and should have is minimum national standards for early voting . it varies widely across the country. and of course, we see how massively popular it s. it has inkre increased five times in volume over the last ten year, and imagine if apple said, oh, my goonsd, too many people are buying the ipad and we should cut back on the store hours. so that is not the way it works in the real world .
>> it is interesting to use the example of kind of private indust industry, because it almost feels like, because apple does for example wait for that day to submit so that you have to stand in the long line for the new ipad or the mini pad or whatever, and they do it to kree create this demand for the thing that is a consumer product , and that is not what voting is. voting is a much more fundamental democratic right, and yet, when we look at the racial disparities in the vote time and african-americans and latinos voting with vote wait time of 20 minutes which is almost double that of a white american , it is not that it is bad, but it is bad for specific people.
>> and people need to realize that there is a political cost to restricting the right to vote. looking at florida 200,000 people did not vote because of the long lines that. i showed up and then walked away. that was incredibly unpop ular and the governor rick scott and the republicans down there looked bad. so lo and behold, governor rick scott and the republicans in florida are supporting the very expanded early voting hours they opposed, because they realized a political cost to this, and that message needs to get through to the members of congress. if they keep pushing the voter suppression , there is a cost, and they should back sensible election reform and a bipartisan process and both parties were for early voting , and only in 2008 that early voting became a partisan issue, so no reason that we can't have a workable standard nationally on this with a bipartisan basis.
>> the only thing that we need national standards about is making sure that we have enough voting stations in the precincts. it affects people of color and urban communities and poorer community, but in ohio , the big mess in the election in 2004 in ohio really, i don't think that it was karl rove sitting in a room with a button pushing the diebold button, but because there were not enough voting machines , and people got disenfranchised because of it.
>> and the secretary of state made a decision to reduce the number of voting machines which leads in part to the question that why is this partisan at all? your point, ari, that there was bipartisan support in 2004 for the early voting , and these sound like common sense kind of thing that don't require a partisan point of view.
>> you make a good point and apple for example meets the consumer where it is, but the republicans do the complete and total opposite, because they are not interested in meeting the americans where they are, but in their restriction. it goes the show that my younger cow since live in florida and stood in line three hours and they are young, but when i think about my grandmother who lives there, did she stand in line for four hours? well, she did, because she a good democrat, but it paints a good picture of what the republican platform is about, and we have a big tent , but we don't care if there are chairs in it. we don't care if people fill it up.
>> that is a nice way to think about it, the elders in the civil rights movement who did so much work, what would they say looking at the lines where people are waiting and fainting trying to cast their vote?
>> they would say, are we still doing this? it is crazy. the whole just to point about being able to standardize the voting across states, i mean, i was involved in a voter registration campaign in los angeles , because i was furious that or not only the democrats, but the republicans were not reaching out significantly to the underserved community. so we had to go out with the barbershop and beauty shop campaign, because i figured that is where they would be and talk to people at least in los angeles the if you have been a e felon, you can still vote after your parole is up, and they didn't know that.
>> and you have a great point and we have talked about that and we will with the felon disenfranchise which has a multiplicative effect, because people think that they are e disenfranchised and they are