PoliticsNation | July 30, 2012
>>> welcome po "politicsnation," i'm al sharpton . tonight's lead, 99 days until the election. it's exciting. election day is just around the corner. it's when we start to hear the fancy music. i love elections. i love voting. and no matter who you plan to vote for, the fact that millions of americans are voting is a victory for our democracy. except this year is a different year. there's a shadow over this election. since 2010 , 19 states have been enacted laws designed to make it harder to vote. the vast majority of these were driven by republican governors and republican lawmakers. even as many of them admit there is little or no evidence of voter fraud at all. and some of their actions, some of their justifications are getting desperate and down right weird. in south carolina , attorney general allen wilson is defending his voter i.d. law by pointing out it would not stop voter fraud .
>> if alan wilson goes in and uses a fraudulent voter i.d. card in the name john smith and then i leave the polling place . you cannot go back in time and prove the negative. it is impossible.
>> i think he'd like to go back in time and make that answer make sense. what's he saying? that we need voter i.d. laws to stop fraud even though voter i.d. laws wouldn't stop fraud? this is the same guy who insisted that hundreds of dead people were voting in south carolina . of course, the state election commission later said all those folks were in fact alive. today there's a growing -- also a growing concern about florida . the state that made hanging chads household phrase. republicans have had their slew of bills designed to limit voter turnout and participation. a movement even the state 's former gop governor charlie crist criticizes.
>> in florida , we have a history of having some pretty close elections . i think everybody remembers 2000 and how close that was. and so every single vote really matters. and the notion and the idea of making it more difficult to exercise this precious right that so many people have fought and died for for our fellow americans and my fellow floridians is unconscionable to me.
>> and now the chair of florida 's republican party is saying that officials held meetings to talk about depressing the black vote. more on that in a minute. but perhaps the most blatant attack on voting rights is in pennsylvania . where right now governor tom corbett 's voter i.d. law is literally on trial. accused of violating the state constitution for that trial which is now in its fourth day, state officials have made a stunning admission. they acknowledged quote, there have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in pennsylvania . respondents will not offer any evidence or argument that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in november. in the absence of the photo i.d. law. folks, voter fraud is the entire rationale. why are they doing it? we don't have to guess. there's one top republican in pennsylvania who accidentally let the truth slip out.
>> voter i.d. which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania , done.
>> joining me now is christopher broach , an elections inspector in pennsylvania who says he'll refuse to ask voters to take their i.d. -- or had he will refuse to get this i.d. at the voting polling place even if it's upheld in the court sessions. also with me is rod smith , chairman of the florida democratic party . thank you both for joining me tonight.
>> good to see you.
>> chris , why are you taking such a firm stand against this law?
>> reverend, sharpton , this goes to my core beliefs in values that if a government can ask citizens to violate a law which is a civil rights act in order to enforce a law, then that law is no good.
>> so you see this as a law that is really a law you have to stand up against because it violates voter rights and civil rights ?
>> now, what is interesting to me is that when you look at the fact that the governor of your state in march claimed that voter i.d. laws would not interfere with people's right to vote -- let me play to you what he says.
>> contrary to some claims, this bill does not interfere with anyone's legal right to vote. it prevents people from cheating in our election. some have argued there is no evidence of voter fraud . i don't necessarily agree with that. this is a law of prevention. it is to prevent voter fraud .
>> it's a law of prevention, he's saying. which is conceding there has not been widespread voter fraud . we can't find any. but now in court they're saying they don't expect voter fraud . so what are they preventing? and when he says it doesn't prevent people from voting, we have as a fact that 758,939 voters in pennsylvania don't have the voter i.d. that they have this so-called voter i.d. law for. that would impact 9.2% of the voters that voted in the state . that is, to me, amazing, chris .
>> well, it's actually more amazing to me, reverend sharpton , that this same governor who can make all the statements that you just mentioned actually did not know himself what forms of i.d. were required to go vote. how could he make a claim this is going to protect voter rights and protect voter fraud when he himself didn't even know if he had the right kind of i.d. to be able to go vote?
>> so let me show the country what you're talking about. when the governor was questioned about the initial claims of voter i.d. fraud being no big deal . he said quote, studies show that 99% of pennsylvania 's eligible voters already have acceptable photo i.d.s. when the fact is as we just showed you, it's 9.2% who don't. which going to you as a chair in florida , when you look at that figure 9.2% of the voters in pennsylvania don't have the voter i.d., will you look at it and find out 758,939 people don't have the i.d. in a very key and critical swing state , this could make a big difference in the presidential election in november. and then when we come down to your state of florida where we see the same kinds of problems, this could be decisive and undermining the democratic process in this election.
>> absolutely. the numbers are going to be close in the number states. florida being one of them. it is always close in florida . if you can move the numbers just that much and that's what the republicans have plan to do. they've been planning to do. that's what they're trying to do. then they could make the difference in the election and ultimately who becomes president of the united states . but obviously we're trying to prevent that as quickly as possible and using some tactics that i think will work and strategies that should work.
>> now, i know of a lot of those strategies. i've been on the ground in florida . i'm coming back this week. let me tell you something that really caught my eye. former florida gop governor jim greer. in a deposition that has gone public, he says and i'm quoting from the deposition that he stated under oath, political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting. he further states about not letting blacks vote and minority outreach programs were not fit for the republican party . this is a very significant statement for a former state chair republican party of florida to make under oath. i understand there's questions he's facing legal questions and all. but to say it's under oath is extremely troubling, wouldn't you think so?
>> it's troubling. most troubling thing is it's consistent with what's actually happened. there has been -- this chairman was there at a time when he observed people making those kinds of statements. we know that's likely to have been the case. since 2010 there's been a consistent effort in florida to suppress the vote particularly aimed at the groups he's believed at the time were being discussed and says were being discussed. so if you see the results and they're consistent with what he said, i find it highly credible and troubling. troubling in the sense that anybody would sit down as a party and talk about ways in which they could suppress votes or eliminate people who were otherwise qualified voters. that's a sad commentary on politics.
>> you know, chris and rod, we watched the olympics all day here today. let's go to the data. everything is down to numbers. in your state of florida , rod, out of 37 million votes cast, 179 allegations. that's 0.0005%. and in your state , chris , we have 13 cases out of 31 million votes cast. that's 0.00004%. so we have a solution looking for problem. we have some real attempts to undermine in my opinion the democratic rights of all voters. white, black, asian, latino in those states. and i think it has to be resisted.
>> i absolutely agree with you. in fact, one of the things nobody has been talking about that i'd like to bring some attention to is the fact that no one's questioning how one is to submit an absentee ballot . myself, i served six years in the united states military and i've got a son right now just came back from afghanistan. he's stationed in colorado. he'll be voting absentee ballot this year. how's he going to do that without identification? so i'm wondering if there is a sub blimal message that says if they're going to get away with this, are they going to get rid of absentee ballots also?
>> it's a good question. i don't understand why didn't they have i.d. laws in the republican primaries we had a couple months ago. oh, but there was no fraud. christopher broach and rod smith , thank you thank you for your time tonight.
>> thank you, too, reverend sharpton .
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