NOW with Alex Wagner | December 09, 2011
>> has there been widespread voter fraud in florida ?
>> i don't think we want to wait until voter fraud .
>> you're saying that you're doing this because you may think there may be fraud?
>> for credibility in the election, we have to have credible results in close elections .
>> the reverend al sharpton getting into it with florida congressman dennis baxley over voter fraud . if the electoral process ain't broke, why are there so many voter i.d. and restriction laws out to fix it?
>> well, in my judgment and the judgment of many people in the civil rights community that are gathering in 25 cities tonight with jobs and justice rallies and tomorrow we're marching in new york, we feel that it is to suppress the vote. the only results from these laws will be to suppress voters that are young, that are older, that are minorities. and the man that you just played was on my show who's a state legislator in florida . couldn't explain why we're doing. this in his state in the last three years there's only been 31 cases of voter fraud . so it's not a problem that we have to solve. it's a solution they're trying to find a problem.
>> that kind of voter fraud that we're talk about is almost never the kind of voter fraud that would be prevented by having voter i.d.'s. the brennan sent for justice has been some great work on this. they have a statistic in ohio in the elections in 2000 and 2004 , there were four instances of ineligible persons voting or trying to vote out of 9 million votes cast. i am not one with numbers but that is .00004%.
>> i think they should make the argument just based on numbers. i think you agree, every american agrees, we don't want to suppress voting in any situation. but you do want to try to eliminate fraud and have the election process improved, right?
>> yeah. but is it an improvement if any numbers of studies would say that various elements of society, significant positions, would be in a position where they couldn't vote because elderly people don't have passports or don't drive, or students don't. when you have any number of studies that say you're not talking here about in brooklyn or phillie where a politician beats the system. you're changing a whole system of people being able to vote. and it's an adverse result.
>> i don't doubt that it would suppress some voting because some people don't have i.d.s. but without i.d.s how do we try to improve the system?
>> improve it where, though? improving it from what?
>> aren't you breaking something in the name of improving it?
>> the point is there is no problem to which this is a solution.
>> you don't think there's any voter fraud problem in this country?
>> i don't.
>> i disagree.
>> but think about how many votes are cast. think about how many votes are cast. think about for a second.
>> 4 of 9 million.
>> 4 out of 9 million. that's not even a rounding error. think about this. let's say that you want to influence an election through ill-gotten means and you're sitting on $10 million. what exactly would be the plot by which you would engineer this from voter fraud ? you would take time and the organization to go out and find people who are not legitimate voters and then you would somehow get them to the polls and get them rigged i.d.s or you have them showing up? if you have money and you want to effect election there are simple ways to do it.
>> super pacs.
>> and buy tons of ad time.
>> and also you're talking about ending early voting . you're stopping sunday voting in florida .
>> same day registration.
>> what are you mixing there? so people that are in churches can no longer go do that, what fraud was involved with that?
>> reverend the system always has time prove and change to adapt to the times. i'm not saying all these legislators are make the right case. but think to turn a blind eye to voter fraud and say it's not happening.
>> not a blind eye . there are studies that show the detrimental impact. if we were not being able to document and give you the numbers it would be a blind eye . a blind eye would say let's improve it in the name of improvement even though there's nothing time zbloouf and let's talk about those numbers. when we look at who doesn't have government issued photo i.d.s, 25% of african-americans, 20% of asian americans , 19% of latinos, 18% of citizens 18 to 24 and less than 15% of citizens with less than $35,000 annual income. to your point the system has to change. sure the system can change and adapt over time . but if you were effectively talking about maybe a paint chip and demolishing a building in the name of the paint chip.
>> i disagree. i'm a reporter. in every election cycle there are always questions about the numbers that are coming in about certain states, about whether things are rigged. i just think if state legislators are looking into the problem they shouldn't be reprimanded for it. there should be a healthy debate.
>> not saying they shouldn't look into the problem. we're saying when you come out, how does changing voter i.d. laws, changing early vo changing sunday voting answer any problems?
>> they're not preaching for a whole revolution of the system. i'm just saying that i.d.s can sometimes work.
>> if i say to you let's go wash your shirt and you say it's already clean. let's wash it, anyway. what are we doing?
>> but this to me is all a part of how the parties are trying to protect themselves against the people in so many ways. like if you look at the effort to get a third party on a ballot, do you know that there are states that basically throw you out? in california americans elect had to get 2 million signatures. you know how much that costs?
>> i agree with you with you. that's wrong, too.
>> all that is wrong. there are high barriers of entry to anyone who's not part of the system. and that's wrong.
>> i agree with you.
>> we talk about the voter i.d. laws, we talk about the gerrymandering that goes on in redistri redistricting. a number of things to disenfranchise the american voter from taking part.
>> the reverend's point to hammer this hope again, let's separate out voter i.d. from the other policies. i think voter i.d. laws are terrible. i think they're a solution to something that there's not a problem. but even if you are in favor of voter i.d.s, why are they racheting back same day registration when it happened and there was no evidence it was promulgating any fraud?