The Daily Rundown | June 04, 2012
>>> republican governor rick scott says florida 's voter purge is aimed at clearing registration rules of noncitizens. critics say it's nothing more than an effort to disenfranchise poor voters who tend to tilt to the democrats. a small number of ballots could tip a presidential race. a federal judge seemed to agree and issued an injunction for parts of the measure. michael walletman joins me and brian darling , who is a senior fellow at the heritage foundation . thank you both. michael , i want to start with you. why did you file? your group has been part of fighting these laws in a lot of states, particularly in florida . why are you cheering the decision by the federal government to step in here?
>> well, chunk, first degree has moved forward on a number of different fronts to make it harder for people to vote. so this is about two things in the past week. on thursday, a federal judge blocked the law that governor scott signed that made it very, very hard for groups like the league of women 's voters to do voter registration , that shut down voter registration drives. it shut down the operations. the judge said this was clearly something that had no legitimate purpose other than it seemed to make it harder for constitutionally-protected activity to occur. that's happening at the same time the justice department said, wait a minute, this voter purge looks like it's going to heavily impact minority voters. 58% of the names on the list were hispanic. and you don't want people being on the rolls who aren't eligibility to vote, but to do it without secret or input saying it's not working well, that's a recipe for florida 2000 -style disaster.
>> brian, you have been fighting on the other side of this. it feels like a lot of the laws are solutions in search of a problem. they are done hastily so whether you believe that there's a reason to do it, that you have some evidence, that your side isn't searching for the evidence, they are putting the laws in place and saying there's voter fraud .
>> the states are reasonable to try to get rid of voter fraud . there have been examples of it. if you look at florida , "the miami herold" said voters shouldn't have been voting. so there's 180,000 people they want to investigate to make sure they are registered.
>> so why not just investigate that instead of changing the law? particularly, when you are doing this in the south, it brings back some bad memories.
>> sure, but this law what the court did in this court said 48 hours that's too short a period of time to get a signature and get it into the state.
>> so you believe the judge is right?
>> no they said voter registration drives do not implicate first amendment activity. they are saying the government doesn't have any role in voter registration drives. people can disagree and probably 48 hours should be extended more, but i don't know if it's constitutional issues.
>> michael , let me ask you about the voter i.d. fraud. at some point, and i understand we still have roughly anywhere from 5% to 10% of older populations without i.d. without a government-issued i.d. that's going to change in the next five to ten years. are you going to be more open to voter i.d. laws?
>> i'm very open to voter i.d. laws if they are about kinds of i.d. that people actually have. there are states where the kinds of i.d. are broad or where there's a fail-safe if you don't have it. the problem is we estimate as many as 10% don't have it. a lot of it is seniors and more poor people . that really goes to the tragedy of the whole thing.
>> but they could still vote provisionally.
>> but that means that a senior who is old and doesn't have their driver's license has to go back a second time, stand in line and prove who they are. that's not democracy and that really isn't how we ought to be running elections. we could make this so easy. everyone who is eligible's name on an electronic voter list. that would add tens of millions of people to the roles and guarantee whatever problems there are won't recur.
>> that sounds fairly reasonable.
>> maybe. but as you know, these voter laws are constitutional. voter i.d. laws were held to be constitutional in 2008 in the indiana case. it was a 6 to 3 decision. you can't argue it was on partisan lines. so what the state of florida is doing is perfectly reasonable and constitutional.
>> you're perhaps a little jumbled in what you're saying. we're not talking in this instance about voter i.d. laws. unfortunately, florida and other states are moving forward with every different kind of law they could come up with it seems to make it harder for people to vote. and so again, the league of women voters is a very respected organization doing good work for years. they may be in a position now to move forward. the tragedy is right now 4 out of 10 eligible voters in the state of florida , eligible voters, are not registered to vote.
>> let me ask you this. it does seem that you're seeing the two parties break and the republicans want more rules in place to make it harder to register to vote. why?
>> they want to make sure to get rid of voter fraud .
>> but where is the fraud? we're talking about one or two people here. we're not even 100% sure.
>> we just had a michigan congressman resign and not run for reelection because his campaign gathered signatures that were invalid.
>> but that's petition signatures. that's a different law here.
>> but it's very hard to catch voter fraud . james o'keefe didn't have any i.d.
>> did he vote?
>> but you're proving the point here. the fraud didn't take place because they prevented it.
>> but it's hard to catch the fraud. that's why you have to do it before election day .
>> chuck, listen to the absurdity of that. it's so hard to find it must be everywhere so let's make laws that make it harder for millions to vote.
>> why is it so bad to do it now?
>> what's so wrong with the state of florida taking corrective action before the election? there's nothing wrong with that and it's constitutional.
>> the problem is when you take actions that have a risk, more than a risk of kicking out from the rolls eligible voters, veterans, people who served the country. we ought to be able to make the elections secure without disenfranchising millions of americans.
>> this is a debate that's going to take place in 50 states , i think, and for a few years to come. thank you both. thank you for the civil discussion.