PoliticsNation | December 07, 2011
>>> as we've been telling you this week, there's been a wave of new voting laws across the country this year. 25 new laws in 14 states. tonight we focus on one of those states -- florida . in 2008 , president obama won the sunshine state , thanks in large part to surging numbers of black and latino voters. two weeks of early voting helped that turnout. also many voted on the sunday before election day , thanks for the souls to the polls drive after church. all that and president obama still won by less than a quarter million votes. but now a new voting law passed by the republican state legislature is putting a spot light. it cuts the early voting period from 14 to 8 days . it eliminates voting on sunday before election, good-bye souls to the polls, and forces voters to cast a provisional ballot if they moved across county lines. some of the most severe new restrictions are on third-party registration groups, which now have only 48 hours to submit rental 12r5i registration forms or submit fines if submitted late. this is so severe, it prompted the league of women voters to suspend all registration efforts in the state of florida after 72 years. joining me now is deidra mcnabb, president of the league of women voters in florida , a nonpartisan organization. deidra, thanks for joining me.
>> a pleasure. thank you, reverend, for covering this important story.
>> you recently said because of this new law, quote newly registered voters could become an endangered species . those are strong words. what makes you say that?
>> well, what we have seen over the years in florida is that minority voters, young voters are twice as likely to use third-party voters registration groups like the league of women voters and other organizations. so when you put into place new rules that are so broad, so confusing, and so terrifying in some cases, i have a piece of paper with me tonight that is the form that someone would fill out who wants to register new voters. and right in the middle of the page is talking about five years of imprisonment and possible fines of $5,000 third-degree felonies. this is --
>> five years of imprisonment and $5,000 fine for what?
>> for what the form says is misrepresentation of voters. it is very broad, it is very vague, it does not explain precisely what is involved in terms of being charged with that, and those kinds of vague charges of very frightening to people. this was a process that is as american as apple pie . my two sons did it when they were in high school . we have teachers across the state that do it. our volunteers do it. it's our single most popular volunteer job. it's what people do who want to play a civic role in our government and help bring new eligible voters in. these new laws frighten people from registering voters with these kinds of language. when you start having to take an oath of office and you have to read language twice on one form, that talks about a third-degree felony and up to five years of imprisonment, i could not tell my two sons to register their fellow students at high school . we've seen two teachers already in the state of florida that have been trapped in what is a very vague and very burdensome confusing and frightening new set of regulations with no clear explanation of what was wrong with the previous set of laws.
>> deidra, thank you for your time tonight.