PoliticsNation | December 20, 2011
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>>> we are back. we've been talking on this show about fighting the coordinated right wing efforts to suppress the vote. this year, the number of states requiring a government-issued photo i.d. to vote quadrupled, jumping from two states to eight, and one state we're really watching is scott walker 's wisconsin where an estimated 475,000 voters don't have proper i.d. to vote. they tested the law in wisconsin during the recall election for nine wisconsin state senators, and it was a disaster. voters found long lines, confusion and massive glitches, but the fight is on. the aclu of wisconsin just filed a lawsuit against governor scott walker calling the law unconstitutional. joining me now is john sherman , the attorney leading the aclu lawsuit against governor walker and rita platt, a wisconsin teacher struggling to get the proper i.d. she needs to vote. thank you both for joining me tonight.
>> thank you for having me on.
>> thank you for having us.
>> rita , let me start with you. what happened when you tried to get your i.d.?
>> well, let me tell you, first, i live in a rural part of the state, and the nearest dmv that's open with any regular hours is about a 45-minute drive south, so i knew that i needed to get an updated wisconsin i.d. i've voted in every election since i was 18, including three in wisconsin in the last year and a half, so the first day i had off work which was the day before thanksgiving i went down to the dmv . i had contacted them and asked them what documents i would need to update my license from iowa to wisconsin , and i was told i would need proof of identity , citizenship and residence. i brought with me my iowa driver's license, my social security card and a pay stub , and when i got to the dmv , i was told that that was not adequate identification but that i would need a certified birth certificate or a current passport, neither of which i had with me, neither of which i had at home.
>> so you drove 45 minutes. you had these valid pieces of identification. they told you that was not enough. then i have a statement here where john wolf, when i believe was your boyfriend.
>> he also ran into problems say when he went for photo i.d. , let me show you what he said happened to him.
>> i walked in there with a current state of iowa driver's license with my name and my date of birth, you know, all that was on it as well as a social security card , as well as proof of residence here, a bank statement , a paycheck stub , you know, and so, you know, i figured i was good, and -- and they just explained no. they said that doesn't count as proof of your identity because an iowa driver's license is not adequate proof of who i am.
>> john, you're listening to both rita here, and you're listening to her boyfriend. driver's license, bank stubs, social security card , not i.d.? i mean, this almost sounds bizarre.
>> this -- this is the most systematic attack we've seen on voting rights in america in generations, and i think the fact that they are forcing voters through this obstacle course proves it. take, for instance, one of our plaintiffs in the aclu lawsuit, barbara oden. in order to get a state i.d. card she needs to prove her identity and so needs to get a social security card . she shows up at the social security office , and they tell her she needs a photo i.d. to get her social security card , so she's not a trained lawyer, and she's stuck in a catch-22 and goes home and thinks i can't vote. well, you know, that's simply not fair, and anyone who would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters like barbara in the name of of legitimacy and integrity, well, they should probably look up the definition of those two words.
>> well, rita , let me show you why i agree with john, and we've been fighting this on the show, and my work with the action network. look at the data. the republican national lawyers association says, and this is -- they are defending this, since 2004 out of 11 million votes cast, there's only 23 cases of fraud. so they are not solving a problem. there's no problem. they are creating the problem in undermining people's right to vote. this is 0.0002%. you're a teacher and treated like you're doing something wrong just by exercising your right to vote.
>> you're absolutely right. in the only for me, i will get my voter i.d. on time. already got my certified birth certificate . i have the means to get down to the dmv . i will vote in the next election, but when you consider the other folks being disenfranchised, the students, elderly, african-american voters, latino-american voters and folks who are in poverty, it's not going to be as easy for many people to go through the rigamarole that they are asking us to to exercise our right.
>> you're trying to make this lawsuit so that you can alleviate the pain for so many elderly, african-american, hispanics, you're trying to deal with this. quickly, what do you think the forecast is on the success of this lawsuit?
>> i think we are going to be successful. i think we have very strong claims that this law imposes unconstitutional burdens on voters, unconstitutional poll taxes , and that it arbitrarily excludes certain photo i.d.s from the list of accepted photo i.d. such as veteran identification cards and technical college i.d. cards. what i would say is we -- you know, we have almost 6 million people in this country who have been out of work for six months or more. who is going to pay for their certified copies of birth certificates ? who is going to pay for the gas it takes to drive in rural wisconsin to get it?
>> well, maybe they don't want them to vote because they are certainly not trying to get them jobs to go to work. john sherman and rita platt, thank you for joining me tonight. we'll be