NewsNation | October 02, 2012
>> we mentioned at the top of the hour a judge in pennsylvania put a temporarily hold on a tough voter i.d. law ordering it not be enforced in this year's presidential election. there's another large group of potential voters, 4.5 million people according to a new report, who are not allowed to vote. their felons who served time in jail. almost half of those affected are african-american. the naacp is launching a campaign to restore voting rights to those felons. joining me right now is the naacp president. a lot of african-american lawmakers, but this came up during the fox news debate, january 16th , the republican primary . rick santorum actually took it on governor romney . let me play what happened during that time.
>> the bill i voted on was the martin luther king voting rights bill. this was a provision that particularly targeted african-americans, and i voted to allow them to have their voting rights back once they completed their sentence.
>> governor romney , 30 seconds to respond.
>> i don't think people who have committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again. that's my own view.
>> rick santorum was calling out romney on that saying he changed his position there. this is not just kept in the confines of black community or within the democratic party .
>> no, that's right. rick santorum is for this. jeb bush and charlie crist made it happen in florida . governor scott turned the clock back and took the right to vote back from formerly incarcerated people. it's outrageous. this is a kuncountry where we believe voting is a right and we believe all people should have a second chance. the notion that a sigts governor like governor scott would undo what his republican colleague just did, roll the clock back and take the vote away from tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people who could stroet vote in two-thirds of the states in this country are outrageous. that's why we push this issue here and across the country.
>> florida , virginia, iowa and kentucky are the only states where former felons don't automatically get their rights back after serving their sentences. we were looking at pennsylvania, and you had elderly people there, and in wisconsin came out and said i've been voting my he whole life. i'm 88 and 90 years old, and now i can't vote. latino voters say i'm put under this requirement possibly that cannot be obtained. i cannot get my i.d. under these circumstances. is it harder to get people to support felons in some cases who have been convicted of obviously violent crimes? is that part of the roadblock at all or not?
>> yeah. what helps here is for folks to really focus on just what a wide swath of people and month gets impacted. you know, we heard from charles dutton today on the tv show "the rock" back in the '90s who for 31 years after he got out of prison could not vote paying millions of dollars and talking about how he was subjected to taxation without representation even after he served his time. it helps folks to focus on the history. these laws were put in place for a reason. they were put in place as a wave right after the civil war . in states like virginia you talked about earlier it said quite plainly the person that made the argument for this law in 1901 made it very plain. he said because of this law, the darky will be zeroed out as a factor in our state's politics in five years and he said how he would support white supremacy as a norm across the state. these laws were never about ex-felon bans but affecting the black vote. here's in florida the first governor to expand the use pushed it in 1865 . it was for him about pushing off negro suffrage. that's what we're dealing with here, is a vestage of jim crow we have to get rid of.
>> thank you so much for your time. greatly appreciate it, ben.