The Rachel Maddow Show | November 08, 2012
>>> underappreciated news about this election, they are still counting ballots in arizona tonight and nowhere near done. they have more than 630,000 ballots to count in arizona , more even than they thought they had when they started reckoning with this mess yesterday. in mira cope pa county in arizona basically phoenix, more than 30,000 not counted tonight. in pima, tucson, more than 50,000. the real problem is the provisional ballots you have to use when there's a hiccup with your registration. vote now and go back later and try to prove your provisional ballot shouldn't count, a crazy system. more than half of latino neighborhoods got pushed into using this ballot. that means arizona still has a lot of provisional ballots still left to count. in greater phoenix alone, 115,000 provisional ballots waiting to be counted. in tucson, more than 25,000. still tonight. counting these special ballots can take as many as 45 minutes apiece for 172,000 ballots. that's really bad math. 45 minutes, 172,000. that will take forever unless you throw a large portion of them out which is what happened in 2008 in pima county , arizona . the aclu named pima county the worst place in the nation for disenfranchising voters because they decided in 2008 they would throw out nearly 1 in 5 provisional ballots , not count them. that makes everything go faster. people are marching in the streets of arizona over this, this year. look at that. protesters now stationed at the maricopa elections station and will stay there until the election stops whenever that is. there are enough votes to swing fwabby gifford's old seat and conceivably that ann kirkpatrick is projected to win and sinema and it is nowhere near decided and nobody knows when it will be. they're also still counting ballots in florida . they have until saturday to report results to the secretary of state and have even longer to figure out what in the name of ponce de leon went so terribly wrong in florida this year. people ended up standing in line eight hours to cast a ballot. isn't there something wrong with that? official explanations range from long ball lots that caused jams at the scanners, some precincts too big and some didn't have enough scanners and some power outages. my favorite explanation is in broward county where the election supervisor tells the " miami herald " all of us know when voters are interested in candidates and issues, we are going to have long lines. so the reason things went so wrong is because people wanted to vote? we are not prepared for that. that was the november surprise in florida that screwed up florida 's election so badly. turns out people wanted to vote. nobody saw that coming. they were not prepared. in pinellas county , florida , robocalls were telling people they had until wednesday to vote. they're still arguing how it happened. at first the elections chief blamed the robo call company. no, it's not their fault. somebody in the pinellas elections office collntrolled it and today the elections office said they did not realize they were going out and did not want them going out telling them they could vote after election day . it does not help that the officials are partisan with a d or r after their name. the pinellas clerk is a political actor in a political calderon. if those robocalls were sent out by mistake, that is a really serious mistake. if it's not a mistake, that happened on purpose, that is a scandal. in either case, maybe it needs fixing. today, a former mayor of tampa said she was ready to work on reform in florida , her name is pam iorio , considered a possible candidate for governor in 2014 and said she will convene a nonpartisan task force to propose resolutions. things like limiting the length of the ballot and expanding early voting republicans cut last year. she says about undertaking reform, think the deposit should do it. if he doesn't, i'm going to do it. that's a start. our nation has problems running elections for complicated reasons. some of that is that it's partisan election administration , why you see republicans cutting early voting in swing states . some of our problems are just problems. we don't have qualified professionals running these things or antiquated machines that break down or fancy new ones that break down and nobody knows how to fix them. a tangled mess. after this debacle of an election isn't this a good time to try to untangle this and try to start working on this. joining us is the senior fellow of the brookings institution and author of "our divided political heart." freight great to see you.
>> great to see you. i'm really glad you're on this and hope you stay on this.
>> the thing that has emerged i didn't expect since the election is a little bit of lessening of the partisan discussion around this and heightening of the technocratic discussion of this. i think we might be getting close tor a bipartisan consensus it shouldn't take you eight or nine hours to vote in this country and it ought to be fixed. do i have rose colored glasses on or are you seeing it?
>> i think you're seeing a little bit of it. the whole election administration has been politicized to a degree it probably hasn't been since way back in the days of machines when cheating used to be where you put a rubber band on the lever and pull it down so it doesn't register the vote. that was old-fashioned fraud. now you have it systemic by trying to keep people from voting. i was thinking of that romney slogan you cited at the beginning, smaller, simpler, smarter, something like that, this is an area all the conservatives slocans and even legitimate complaints come into play. they say, you don't need multiple levels of administration. look what happened in huo. y -- in ohio, you had guys that want to make it easy for people to vote early, the secretary of state says, no, you can't do that. excessive regulation that costs people unnecessary money. that's what voter id laws do. why would you want that? or making people's dealings with government more difficult? that's what the long lines do. there are all kinds of traditional conservative reasons to streamline this system. you'd like to think after this brief, we hope, period, of passing all these crazy laws to limit voting, republicans could go back to their own tradition. these are the guys who fought for the voting rights bill? why would they want to walk away from that tradition?
>> is there a sense of embarrassment on the right about the voter id stuff, getting rid of early voting stuff, is there a sense of embarrassment this is a plainly partisan thing and maybe unseemly for the party going forward. i don't ask that to get a definite no, i don't think republicans are so craven they're incapable of shame and i have to look at rick scott getting rid of early voting and the eight hour lines and think it's not a kosher way to play this game.
>> follow you go in the right direction, i was going to give you a cynical no. i don't see a lot of shame. when you see the effect of it. there are principal conservatives out there who have to look at this and say, this isn't the right thing to do. when you heard that mayor talk about a task force . commissions are often a dodge. this might be a case you could pull together republicans and democrats no matter how you slice it, what's going on in arizona , the long lines, this doesn't work. the federal government does have the power to do something. i'd like to see -- they passed the motor voter law , the help america vote act and help for the local election administration so you don't throw it all on localities where you have two weeks of guaranteed early voting everywhere in the country. why should you have more rights to vote in one state than another where you might beef up the number of people at the polls on election day and not always easy to hire people. make sure the machinery works. i even have a way to pay for this. the supreme court says we have to live with superpacks. let's tax the superpacks to pay for an election system .
>> that is a great idea to try a transactional tax for every donation used for an ad and say some of that will go into the administration of elections. i love that idea!
>> e.j., thank you very much.
>> thank you so much.
>>> i have to say, after elections, i get all civically tingling, you know, you get my civic geek thing on. i feel like elections administration is one of those things we talked about as a partisan standoff for so long. i believe this kind of thing is possible. i believe fair-minded people on both sides of the aisle believe elections should not be administered in a partisan fashion. that is an american viewpoint, not left or right viewpoint. there actually is way more middle ground than we've been willing to concede before. i think progress could happen. i know, call me naive. i think it could happen. we'll be right