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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  August 8, 2015 1:02pm-3:01pm EDT

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from happening. ms. karam: i'm not so sure they are happy with the deal, to be honest. first of all, they are not happy about having all these inspectors talk to iran, and inspect military sites and nuclear facilities. iran has been insulated since 1979 from these kinds of western officials going there. they have also made a lot of money elevating sanctions, and getting money from the black market to find their activities. all of a sudden now, you are seeing a new trend in iran, and perhaps questions, where will this money go? they have to answer the iranian
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public, and that does put the hard-liners in a tougher spot. mr. gutman: on the hard-liners they really are the losers in this whole deal. they are being disempowered. all the people, also, who have been engaged in smuggling -- this is probably pretty big lobby -- are going to be hurting. you have official trade, and they have no real role. we shouldn't underestimate the role of the hard-liners being dealt a bad hand, but we shouldn't overestimate the ability of the others to change things. it is a very dynamic discussion they have in iran. the nuclear deal -- there are issues that everybody understands have to be worked out. is the iranian government going
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to manage overseas operations of the revolutionary guard, or will it report to the supreme leader? how can you have these two parallel tracks? we know where the hard-liners come down on this decision. i would not expect any immediate answer. mr. serwer: let me conclude by noting that there is a solar lining of sorts. that is think about where we would be if iran were headed for a nuclear weapon. think about where we would be in two or three months from now iran could be expected to have enough highly enriched uranium for at least one nuclear weapon. that would be a much worse scenario for the world, for the region, for israel, for everybody than the current
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situation. i want to thank joyce and roy and i hope you will join me in doing so. [applause] >> "the new york times" reports that the decision by chuck schumer of new york to oppose the iran nuclear deal has rattled democratic supporters around the accord, and bold deals opponents in both parties and set off a wave of condemnation. supporters of the accord said on friday that the democratic defections would not be enough to bring it down. to scuttle the deal, opponents have too high hurdles. they will need 60 votes in the
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senate to overcome a filibuster. if opponents get that, the president will veto the resolution. the opposition would then have to secure two thirds of the votes of lawmakers in both chambers to override a veto. the house and senate are in recess and will return after labor day. thursday march the 50 year anniversary of president johnson signing the voting rights act. the american bar association held a discussion over the law. among the participants, maxine waters. this is one hour and 15 minutes. following the discussion, we will have the president's remarks on the voting rights bill. later, we will take your questions and comments. rep. waters: a common truth that we have all heard is that history tends to repeat itself and that someone who has served as elected official for 30
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years, i can attest that if you are around long enough you find that rings very true. there are few better examples of that than the recently renewed fight for the voting rights act in the united states. the story of the voting rights act starts not at its passage, but with the short-lived era of reconstruction, and the passage of the 14th, 13th and 15th amendments. while the 13th amendment freed the slaves, and the 14th amendment gave us citizenship, the key amendment was the 15th which gave male slaves the right to vote. these new laws immediately enfranchised more than 700,000 voters, which instantly became the majority in southern states. as you can imagine, their enfranchisement revolutionized the area.
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they were felt in the polls and extended to the state and federal legislature. many scholars have identified over 1500 authors during the reconstruction era, including blanche ruth, the united states senator from mississippi, hiram rebels, and the first african-american elected to the u.s. house of representatives. with the influx of black legislature came new policies that addressed the needs and interests of the new southern and african-american electorate. for example, newly implanted policy changes such as creating state, instituting property tax, directly served to address the needs of an african-american
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community high in numbers but short on wealth. in response to african-american enfranchisement, opponents throughout the south engaged in the determined, brutal and violent campaign to suppress the black vote. in an effort to redeem the state, black legislators were killed, threatened, beaten or jailed. in their place arose white supremacists who, joined by that ku klux klan, or who were klansmen themselves, to suppress the black vote through additional violence. we are familiar with these tactics where blacks were held at gunpoint to keep them away from the polls. crosses were burned and people were beaten for not acquiescing to these demands. as a result, black legislators and voters were silenced and conservatives quickly retook
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control of the south. within 15 years of civil rights and, reconstruction was a distant memory. without black legislators to stand in opposition, what follows was the era of jim crow. plaque legislators to stand -- without black legislators to stand in opposition, what follows was the era of jim crow. the poll tax and other state sanctioned things that continued to block the black vote for decades. at the heart of these policies and tactics was not just the desire to win elections, but also the deep-seated ugly, racist, hatred against african-americans. in response, starting with the ruling of brown versus the board of education followed by the most significant events in our century, such as the killing of
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imitative, the stand taken by rosa parks, the little rock nine and the transformative leadership of dr. martin luther king, the civil rights movement began. the movement's left eagles were to combat this hatred against african americans -- lofty goals were to combat this hatred against african-americans and secure federal detections guaranteed by the constitution. as we all know, the movement led congress to finally pass the civil rights act. once in 1957, and again in 1964, which extended several protections to african-americans in the context of education, employment and public accommodation. in an effort to attract bipartisan support both pieces of legislation contained weakened voting provisions,
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largely leaving the poll tax and literary test in place. as african-american some progress they still found their voices largely unheard. recognizing this shortcoming, on sunday, march 7 1965, a day known as bloody sunday, 600 marchers assembled in selma, alabama, and led by my colleague john lewis and others crossed the bridge over the alabama river in route to montgomery. just short of the bridge they found their weight blocked by alabama state -- they found their way blocked by alabama state troopers and local police who order them to turn around. when they refused, the officers shot tear gas and waited into the crypt -- waded into the crowd and beat the peaceful organizers with clubs and hospitalized 50 people. in response, dr. martin luther
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king jr. called for civil rights supporters to come to selma for a second march. king led the second protest two days later on march 9 1965, but was forced to turn back facing the same hatred and violence. finally on march 21, only after being armed with federal protection were activists able to successfully march to montgomery. at the march's conclusion, dr. king directly pressured president lyndon b. johnson to pass comprehensive voting rights legislation. however, president johnson initially denied the request reminding dr. king he had just passed the civil rights act claiming that law sufficiently addressed african-american civil rights. of course, dr. king persisted
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explaining a sentiment that rings true today. that without comprehensive strong, and fully enforceable voting rights registration, all of the protections in the civil rights act were done in vain. dr. king's persuasiveness eventually took hold. five days after the march resident johnson announced a joint session of congress -- announced to the joint session of congress that he would bring them an effective voting rights bill, and on march 6 1965, johnson signed into law a voting rights act held by many. the title was rightfully earned, the voting rights act of 1965 contained the extraordinary measure, section v, which required seven states with histories of black disenfranchisement to undergo
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free clearance. which means to submit any future changes in statewide national, and local voting law for approval by federal authorities. not only was it extraordinary it was effective. by 1968, just three years after the voting rights act became law, black voter legislation had increased substantially across the south, to 62%. this served as a clear indication that the legislation was not only needed, but was at work. by protecting certain states from additional scrutiny, the lot was deemed the ultimate affront to states rights and continued to face political attacks. despite these attacks, the voting rights act was reauthorized on a bipartisan basis. in 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006.
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african american progress has been very evident. the black community has made voting and voter registration a top priority. in 1994 and 1998, when jesse jackson ran for president, his campaign registered thousands of new voters. i worked in that campaign with reverend jackson traveling across this country did not get home at one point for six weeks. i know about the registration that he did and all the new voters he brought to the polls. these black registration drives and black campaigns helped elect hundreds of new like legislators in local state and congressional races. today there 43 members of the congressional black caucus, which i once chaired by now
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continue to serve as a member of the caucus who aims to advance the concerns and interests of the african american community and maintenance commitment to ensuring voting rights and enhancing voter protections for everybody. we can attribute the voting rights act to the changes in this country that ultimately led to the election of president barack obama, the nation's first black president. has was the cause and the case, during reconstruction, with the advent of american electoral progress, came great opposition in the years that followed president obama, we witnessed a resurgence of tactics designed to erode followed president voter suppression tactics that originally started in the 2004 bush-gore presidential race. in 2004 we can all remember florida where there were too few
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polling places long lines and a disproportionate number of minority votes not being counted. four years later, president obama won his first election largely based on voter turnout at attracting a new base of minority and young voters. in response, in 2010, several states began attempting to rollback early voting, to eliminate same-day registration, to disqualified ballots filed outside of resets, and created new demands for photo id at voting places to discourage and prevent this new base of voters from getting to the polls. fortunately, through the persistent and tireless advocacy of civil rights organizations black leadership, and efforts of eric holder, section v of the voting rights act was invoked and eliminated the
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implementation of the majority of these harmful voting laws. in 2012, for the first time in history, black voter turnout exceeded white voter turnout by two percentage points and the nation reelected its first black president for a second term. yet again great backlash followed in 2013. the following year the supreme court dealt the voting rights act its heaviest blow. in the case of shelby versus holder which directly shut down the section v authority of the voting rights act, chief justice john roberts junior writing for the majority declared -- because the voting rights act works so well, assumptions of voting rights description or no longer valid and the lot was no longer needed. with section v behind them, republican state legislators in meeting we proceeded with a new
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round of even more restrictive laws. since the passage of shelby, 31 states have introduced a total of 82 bills that restrict voter access to the polls. states have plummeted statutes -- have implemented statutes that limit early voting or require voters to present voter densification. all of these -- to present voter identification. all of these statutes have the effect of limiting -- of literary -- literacy tests. they are implemented without any review or approval from the federal government. as a result, the 2014 voters in 22 states faced tougher voting requirements and the most recent midterm elections the same elections that saw declining minority voter turnout. unless congress acts, the 20
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16th election will be the first in 50 years where voters would not have the full protection of the -- the 2016 election will be the first in 50 years where voters would not have the full protection of the voting rights act. black leaders and congress are continuing to fight to restore the voting rights act. as i have done every year for the past 20 years, this year i along with 100 of my colleagues, traveled to selma, alabama to commemorate the anniversary of what he sunday and the march in -- of bloody sunday and the march in selma. history has repeated itself, and we find ourselves once again without full protection of our right to vote. currently led by congressman
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john lewis ranking members of the judiciary committee, and the longtime advocate and members of the black caucus, three pieces of legislation have been introduced to resolve this urgent problem. hr855, known as the voting rights amendment act. hr12, the voter empowerment act. as we look at these bills, we see history repeating itself. the first bill -- the voting rights amendment act was a so-called bipartisan piece of legislation introduced in 2014. similar to the voting rights act, which had weak protections the voting rights amendment act faces the same problem. at the time of its drafting, members of the black caucus were not happy with this bill.
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since 2010, we have been struggling against the republican majority. strongly influenced by their most conservative arm -- the tea party. it has been difficult to get support for legislation of any kind in particular for voting rights legislation, strong enough to overcome the damage done by the shelby case. when then republican majority leader of the house, eric cantor promised in if they kept the bill limited, it would come up for about. men accepted it leaving that some voting protection were better than none at all. therefore, my colleagues introduced hr855, which introduced force compromises such as an exemption for voter id laws and enabling some to be automatically covered.
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despite these major compromises the republicans never kept their word and the legislation was never voted on. fed up with republican refusal to keep their word, this your democrats decided to introduce legislation that was fully -- that would fully restore voting rights protection. with that led to was hr2867, the voting rights advancement act. it restores section v by requiring states with 15 voting regulations -- voting violations over the past 20 years to submit future election changes for federal approval. this would initially fully cover 13 states including alabama arkansas arizona california, florida, georgia louisiana mississippi, new york, north
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carolina, south carolina, texas and virginia. this new legislation was decidedly better than the previous legislation which only covered four states. georgia, louisiana, mississippi and texas. the 13 states account for half of the united states population and encompass most of the places where voting is commission is most prevalent today like florida, north carolina and texas. this formula includes the southern states that were initially targeted by the voting rights act where discrimination against african americans remains a problem. along with diverse coastal states like california and new york, which have more recently discriminated against ethnic groups like latinos, and asian-americans, reflecting the continuing changing them at
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graphics of this country. additionally hr2867 does not contain any carveout for discriminatory voter id laws, and requires states to get free clearance for changes that often target minority voters today. states would need to get federal approval for things like new voter id laws, and proof of citizenship requirements. hr2867 currently cosponsored by 88 democrats, but has not secured one republican vote. no republican support. lastly, congressman lewis has introduced another piece of voting rights legislation that could work to strengthen both of the previously mentioned bills. hr12 the voter empowerment act serves as a cover hence if proposal to modernize the way that we vote. -- serves as a comprehensive
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proposal to modernize the way that we vote. it would assist voters with disabilities and ensure the equitable distribution of polling place resources. our voting system is in much need of technological improvement, and there is no reason why congress has not acted to pass this legislation. this bill has no republican cosponsors. congress is now in recess, we will be away for the full month of august, without strong voting rights legislation in place. the right wing conservatives are exercising their extraordinary influence over the entire congress and country. we are up against mean-spirited states rights conservatives who resent the growing power of minorities and who are intent on creating laws and policies to curtail it. congress, under the leadership
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of the congressional black caucus must do everything possible to pass & into law a credible -- past and sign into law a credible bill. this is no small matter. this is not just another ordinary piece of legislation that we are dealing with. we are dealing with the right of the people who demand and deserve justice and equality in this country. after the years of construction, african-americans and -- reconstruction african-americans -- while the tactics may no longer be ku klux klan and forced, there are no less important -- enfor cced, they are no less important. there has been a decades-long
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attack to ensure certain people are in power. certain voices are heard and certain voices -- interests are favored. we are up against people like the koch brothers and world citizens united who build support to fund right-wing elections and preserve the conservative agenda. voting rights are set up in pretty packages. history demonstrates that at their heart is the desire to prevent african-americans, and other minorities, from participating in the electoral process. this is unconstitutional, undemocratic and un-american. i, and my democratic colleagues, college students, student rights activists, progressive women's organizations, lawyers and ava
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will not accept any erosion of our rights. we are prepared to engage in whatever is necessary and will not quit until we can restore voting rights protection for all. [applause] >> thank you congresswoman waters. i think it is time to get our panel involved in this. let me give some brief introductions. to my left is hans spakowsky. he is a graduate of m.i.t. and vanderbilt. he has written for the washington journal and -- for the washington post. he was counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights. he has been a member of the
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federal elections commission, and he is a senior legal fellow and manager of the heritage foundation election reform institute. next to hans his tom. he taught civil rights at the university of southern california. e clhe clerked for judges at the court of appeals. here certain the los angeles department of education. he is a commissioner and the aba commission of hispanic rights and responsibilities. one of our co-commissioners with the diversity commission and is carly president and general counsel to the mexican american legal defense and education fund. finally, for a medical reason
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soledad o'brien was not able to be here but we are very fortunate to have andrea. she received her bachelor's degree at harvard university. she has been a partner at major law firms. she has held executive positions at corporations including sears sara lee, and epsilon. until recently she has been the chief executive officer of the chicago urban league, and she recently announced her candidacy for the united states senate from illinois. hans,m let me start with you. you have heard next one nation that the voting rights act is still very much needed and in the two years since shelby county there have been tremendous abuses and voting rights, what is your view? hans: i will be the dissenter in
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the room. but let me say a couple of things. the voting rights act was the most important piece of legislation passed in the last century. more important in the civil rights act. finally helped and the segregation and lack of political power for black americans. when that law was passed, blacks are registered at a rate of only 27% in georgia. and mississippi less than 7%. by 2004's election, the year before section v would expire in many parts of the southeast blacks were registering and voting at higher rates than white voters. everyone has been talking as if the voting rights act has ended. that is not the case. it has a number of different
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sections. the most powerful tool against racial discrimination is section ii. it is permanent and nationwide. we also have section xib-b. what was at issue in the shelby county case was one provision section v. it was originally supposed to be an emergency provision to last five years and it only covered a small number of jurisdictions. the reason for section v is a justice department would go to court and get a court order against a piece that was discriminate against black voters and that would evade the court. the idea was they could not make changes in voting laws without
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making -- getting permission of the justice department. the symptom of the de discrimination going on was low voter registration and turnout. congress cannot with a coverage formula. if you had less than 50% turnout of all voters, not just black voters. in the 1964 presidential election if you had a prior test advisor in case, you would be covered. after that, they never updated the coverage formula. they didn't do it in 2006. the reason for that is if they had looked at it not a single state would have been covered because the systematic, widespread official discrimination was ended.
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just a couple things. black registries in and turnout was higher in the covered states than the rest of the country. there were far more black officeholders in the covered states than the rest of the country. the states with the fewest black elected officials were states that had previously not been covered like illinois and delaware. the court was fully justified in saying history didn't stop in 1965. there was no evidence that states like georgia were so different still today from places like massachusetts that georgia needed to be under special protection. the point was if it occurs, not
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only can the justice department sue under section ii, but they can even get folks under a preclearance regime. of thing that is not often mentioned is section iii. if you can prove a section ii case and you go to the judge and you say we have evidence this will -- they will try to evade this court decree, you should put them under a five-year regime with a have to get an okay from you to make a change to voting rights, the judge can oppose it. that is a much more equitable way of putting in a preclearance requirement, based on actual evidence in that jurisdiction, than a blanket covering of all the states. shelby county -- the alabama county where they filed the suit the county government has never had an objection filed in
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the entire history of the voting rights act. i want to show you this. you cannot see this map but it is a map of the united states. this is from the 2013 census report. ecb's green areas -- you see these green areas? those are states where the census bureau says, black americans outvoted whites by anywhere from -- up to 6% more. those of the states were conditions are best today. there has been no evidence that a new sectionv needs to be applied and if there is a problem you consume under section ii and get remedy from the court. >> tom, let me turn to you.
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one of the lines of majority opinion and shelby is that the voting rights act imposes significant current burdens and so it needs to be justified by a showing of current need. is that not correct? tom: i think the premise that there is some significant burden from preclearance is unproven. what the court majority talked about at length was stigma and equal sovereignty. in many ways it is the quintessential states rights case. was not given new attention are a number of things. with respect to the burden of section v preclearance, there was a ready mechanism that could have been used by shelby county or entire states, if they could prove they had complied, and not had a change over a period of
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time. they could bailout. that is what the supreme court had in an earlier district number one case rested its decision upon. the was a mechanism used to get out of the tremendous burden of preclearance. let's talk about what the burdens maybe. hans is correct that the main provision is section ii, does prevent the federal government or private litigants to challenge practices. there are two problems with section ii, often you need the evidence of implementation to demonstrate the discriminatory effect. that means you have to suffer through a number of elections with folks denied their vote, before you have a chance to realistically go into court and have that overturned. second, as lawyers understand,
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section ii is a notoriously inefficient way of adjudicating these matters. since 1982, when congress acted to reauthorize the voting rights act, and 9086 when the supreme court upheld what they did, the operative test is " totality of the circumstances." a lawyer in any. of the law can understand what must be involved in satisfying a totality of the circumstances test. there are experts on both sides and hundreds if not thousands of hours of lawyer time on both sides. that great expense before you have an opportunity to overturn what may be clearly discriminatory changes. that may give you the quintessential example. while shelby kept it was being
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decided, the supreme court had two cases. one involving redistricting the other involving a voter id provision made much more draconian. in those cases the supreme court chose to bypass the administrative process of preclearance and went to the district court in washington dc. there was presented tremendous evidence of not just discriminatory effects but intentional discrimination. intentional discrimination by the texas legislature to prevent the power of latino and african-american voters of -- from increasing. the judges concluded that was strong evidence of intentional discrimination, but as a result of shelby county, those cases are still being litigated with those provisions potentially in
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place. fortunately, on redistricting there was legislation that resulted in new maps being drawn, but there could still be in place even though a judged included there was intentional discrimination. that is a demonstrable difference between section ii and section v. lawyers in the room should understand that in addition to being the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted, the had one of the earliest and most effective alternative to dispute resolution mechanisms ever put into federal law. that is how we should see preclearance. it is an effective way of timely resolution. and prevents them from being implemented and having an election occur. once the right is denied, you
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cannot unring that bell if a judge later decides it was his commentary you need -- decides it was discriminatory, you need a rule to prevent that. the department of justice in the vast majority of cases would improve the change and it would be implement it. it would send section two under the totality of the circumstances test. >> we mentioned a room full of warriors, and have students from the st. real catholic high school. where are they? we would like to welcome them into the room. [applause] as well as illinois state
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representative amalek reese harris of chicago. [applause] andrea, let me ask you from your perspective until very recently ceo of the urban league what impact has the voting rights act had and is it still important? andrea: of course it has had significant impact. we heard statistics on the increase in the number of people voting and the number of african-americans voting and an office. there are some real things you can understand. the first is -- i want to remind people this argument about
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states rights and the importance of states rights, how that argument was levered against the civil rights laws as well. that has been historically the idea that balancing states against civil rights. it is important to rub a the role of the federal government in overcoming the and recognizing -- important to remember the role of the federal government in overcoming that and recognizing it. something that troubles me little bit, the argument that hans made,l look, the voting rights act worked, african-americans are being elected. it's like, we have an african-american president. that is great. we are good now. [laughter] the idea that pay it is all good we do not need those protections is the false understanding. we are good because we have
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those protections and preclearance. the immediate response to shelby which was states like texas, north carolina -- immediately pursuing restrictive voter id laws would indicate that the protections of the preclearance reviews were critically important. the other thing to remember, about the voting restriction that preceded the voting rights act, that the voting rights act recognized voting is a very local activity and the restriction is a very local activity. congresswoman waters, touched on it but the idea it is you say we will have equal voting rights, but at the local level there is the opportunity to restrict voting rights.
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that is why we put in preclearance. to set you cannot just change it as we cannot get to every single one of the thousands of jurisdictions where you can be discriminating so we will not a lie you to change anything. it is that protection we are missing. as pointed out, we all know as lawyers, litigation takes a long time. while that is happening elections are occurring where rights are being limited. >> justice ginsburg said if you have an umbrella in the rain keeping you drive that is not the time to close your umbrella. [laughter] rep. waters: if you're going -- hans: if you're going to say that a certain number of states have to be under federal protection then you have to provide evidence of current, systematic widespread
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discrimination that would justify it. that is not been shown. let's talk about voter id. it is a myth that this all occurred after shelby county ester decision. i would -- shall the county's -- shelby county's decision. i would remind everyone that georgia's law has been in place since the 2008 election. indiana's law since the 2008 election. they have at election after election. the data on georgia which has a large african-american population shows that after the voter id law went into place the turnout of black and hispanic voters went up dramatically. at a higher rate than the turnout of white voters. the same thing happened in the 2010 election. in 2008, when indiana's voter id
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law was in place for the first time there case went all the way to the supreme court 6-3 decision. justice stevens a stalwart liberal wrote the majority opinion. barack obama was the first of a win the state of indiana since the 1964 election. folks have also complained about cutbacks in early voting. most states do not have early voting. it is a new phenomena. on friday, you probably know, it was a last day of the trial in north carolina, over the fact they had changed the early voting days from 17 to 10. the justice department had a lot of trouble in that case. you know why? they had put experts on more than one year ago when they tried to get a temporary
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restraining order to keep that change from being in place for the 2014 mid-election -- midterm election they had experts in places said if this early voting is in place the turnout of black voters will go down because the experts said -- which i find unbelievable, because they said " that black voters were less sophisticated voters" and " it is less likely to imagine these voters can figure out how to avail themselves other forms of voting." i find that to be a patronizing and bigoted attitude. so the cutback in early voting times was in effect for the may primary and the general election in north carolina. in the may primary, black turnout went up 30% over the 2010 riemer he -- primary when the change was not there and
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white turnout only 14%. in the general election, the black share of the vote went from 38.5% in 2010, to 41.1% in the election. remember, the midterm congressional elections this year, turnout went down all across the country. one of the only states in the country in which turnout went up was north carolina, where these suppose it voting changes had kept people from voting. all of the data from these states, the turnout data, as opposed to experts connections voter id does not keep people from voting. changes to early voting do not keep people from voting. in fact, you can google this, the university of wisconsin and several professors just put out a study on early voting.
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the conclusion is, early voting hurts turnout. they conclude that it may decrease turnout by 3% to 4%. the reason being that the campaign spent the majority of their money on get out the vote efforts. if they spread that money out over 2-4 week period, it is not as intense or effective. apparently people who would normally vote on election day keep saying, i can vote tomorrow or the next day. apparently it is enough to hurt turnout by a small percentage. that is not me saying this, this is the study by the unit -- university of wisconsin professors and another study that says it may hurt turnout. >> the headline i will be taking from today is that apparently voter id restrictions are better to increase turnout.
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[laughter] >> [indiscernible] [both talking at once] >> that is my headline, but i think you would have to say thanks but no thanks to that. i do want to talk about the double standard used in these discussions. we are always asked to produce current evidence to support the need for prophylactic measures against discrimination. we have 150 years of evidence that demonstrates the need to keep that umbrella, that justice ginsburg talked about, in place.
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>> there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in this country in the last 50 years. [applause] >> if anybody could produce such evidence, there might be justification for these measures being put in place. that is if they actually spark greater turnout. when you have data with voter id in place, and you have no data from what might have occurred with the drawing populations new candidates appeal to minority populations impressions that voters do cap. maybe -- impressions that voters do count. of course these measures were not put in place to increase turnout.
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they were put into place to prevent certain people from voting. they do not only prevent those who are engaged in voter fraud because that number is a most nonexistent. in fact, the people who get prevented from voting are the people who have every right to vote. the burden on an individual who has to obtain an id to vote is in many cases extraordinary. we are talking about people who may lack a birth certificate whose birth the certificate may no longer exist, even in the county where they were born, either because it was never created in the first place because they were born with a midwife outside of a hospital or because the records in that county may have been destroyed by flood or fire, and before they were digitized. what am i talking about? i'm talking about older voters. who else will have difficulty obtaining voter id?
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to obtain the idea you need there are a huge number of counties that don't have a single place in the entire county that you can go to obtain what you need to vote. i know many of you have been to texas or are from texas. you know what it means than to go from the county you are in to a neighboring county or even i county two or 30 way to obtain what you need to vote. that is hundreds of miles. let's talk about that burden being placed on people who have every right to vote. compare it to the burden on those poor states that are required to submit to the department of justice electoral changes and projections of what the effects might be. it is an easy calculus. i am tired of the double standard. if we apply the same standard
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this would not be an issue at all. >> you said you were misquoted so clarify yourself. >> i never said voter id would increase turnout. for the last eight years, they have been saying it would depress turnout. the actual certified election return data from states with voter id shows that is not true. if you would like some examples of voter fraud, give me your address and i will send you a copy of my book which shows cases of prosecution, and i believe you said there has been no voter fraud for the last 50 years. >> no. >> one or two voters. i will be happy to send you a copy of the publicly released -- i will be happy to send you a copy of the federal grand jury report released by a federal grand jury in chicago in the
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mid-1980's about the largest voter fraud case ever prosecuted by the u.s. department of justice in which the estimate was that 100,000 fraudulent ballots had been cast in chicago. it was that case and the many convictions of that case and the observers that the u.s. the puppet of justice sent into the next election the a lot of people credit with chicago of electing its first black mayor ever. >> that they say two things about that. note that hans went to the 1980's to come up with voter fraud. the evidence that we have to present to overturn it has to be current in the media. also, let me know that illinois now has one of the most
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expansive opportunities to vote in the country. the point being that in no more recent cases like we had in the 1980's. in light of that case in the 1980's, illinois choice not to -- chose not to restrict voter rights, but to enhance them. the fallacy that -- and this is the point i think comes was making -- because we jump through the hoops you create to vote we found ways to make sure that people could get registered to vote. we found ways and we did. many organizations including the urban league helped people jump through the barriers created by legislators to restrict those votes. the fact that we were successfully able to do that does not mean that the discrimination was not intended
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or did not occur, it means -- the question is why is the barrier there in the first place? there is no justification for it. why in a country that is founded on the constitution that we have we would not be pushing everywhere to enhance, not restrict, the right to vote is a question that hans simply does not answer. he says it is ok because we restricted it and it did not really matter. the truth is that it did matter. minorities and older voters had to jump through hoops that others did not to vote. that is the issue. that is the discrimination, not that they were able to finally get through it, but that they had to go through an effort that others did not. that is discrimination, and that is the problem. [applause] >> so i think you made a fair
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point win you said an example from the 1980's might not be relevant to 2015. would you and the congresswoman as part of your remarks addressed this, one of the points in the decision was that before their is going to be an intrusion on state's writes there should be a current fact-finding and turned over to congress to do that. isn't the ball and congress's court? if there is a problem, isn't it in congress? >> i can answer -- well, i think we have touched upon it. of course, there's a problem in congress right now. [laughter] >> the answer is a very partisan problem, and that is a significant issue.
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there are three bills you talked about, even the bipartisan bill that the democrats came to -- but, in the spear that does not exist in congress. we will compromise for something that we do not think it is the best bill because it is better than no ill, and we will work to improve it over time, even that [called. the challenge -- even that bill got called. the fact is, and this is the problem with undercutting the voting rights act to begin with and the problem with the decision, clearly there is an issue in congress. >> one additional dimension to the problem in congress. the problem is we have leadership that will not allow the evidence to be heard. they refuse to even hold a
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hearing about that more water down voting rights amendment act because he personally does not believe there is a reason to have preclearance in place. that is well and good. that is something for him to take up with his constituents, but that is not how congress is supposed to work. there is a hearing scheduled, they listen evidence -- the last reauthorization super majorities in both the house and senate voted for that. >> congresswoman? >> the first thing that i would like to address has been adequately addressed. talking about and reminding about that when states -- cause us to have to have id, we have to work hard to help people to get the idea that they need.
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we have to travel long distances. we have to try and raise money to assist people. and so, i don't know what that study was. i have not seen it. the study you alluded to does not address the fact that we worked very hard to overcome the fact that the state had made a law to say that you had to have certain kinds of id, not just id, certain kinds of id. that should not be discounted. of course, i did speak to the difficulty we have in congress. it is played out every day in every way by the tea party activists who are now members of congress who are in almost control of what they call their conference, the republican caucus. they threaten the leadership. as a matter of fact, one of them
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attempted a coup before we left. for a lot of reasons, it did not take place, but this is what we are confronted with every day. and so, i'm not even optimistic that after we go back after the august break that we can get these right wing, conservative activist tea party types to be decent and to recognize that shelby needs to be fixed, and so if you are wondering why, it is because those who know believe that we have the right to vote and all of this business about how look, how blacks outvoted whites. there could be more if we are not prohibited from doing it. what is wrong with that? >> sometimes with regard to one of the issues, there was a loyola university soon very best
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survey where they found -- where they found 31 cases of voter fraud. >> we created a database that is just a sampling of cases from across the country that is already up to 250 cases. >> wow, across the country, 250 cases. [laughter] >> the point of this is that as the supreme court said voter fraud can make a difference in a close case. there are close connections -- elections decided all over this country at the local, state, and county level. the saddest thing about all of this -- and i outline this in my book -- is that the communities are the targets of this kind of voter fraud, poor, black, urban
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communities. i site to cases in my book, one from the 1990's prosecuted by the justice department, one from just three years ago prosecuted in new york, in which the targets of the vote thieves were poor black, democrats whose votes were stolen, and why were they targeted in these cases? because one of the people who was convicted, one of the guys in new york said that they are the people the least likely to complain about it. the saddest thing about one of the other cases in the 1990's in which 11 people were convicted of stealing the votes of african-americans in the democratic primary in a democratically -- democratically controlled county. these were young african-american democrats who were challenging the incumbents
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in this very corrupt county government. when they called the naacp asking for their help because they set our election has been stolen the end of a lacie p did not come down to help them. they came down to help the vote steelers those convicted by the clinton justice department for doing it. kudos to janet reno who refused to drop the case despite meetings in washington with the heads of certain civil rights organizations who wanted them to drop the case. my point here is that this idea that voter id is a big problem well, the american people don't agree with the people. you can check the polling. you can check the polling on rasmussen and you will find that the majority of americans majority republicans, democrats, defendants, that a majority of whites blacks, hispanics all
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think voter idea is a commonsense reform. i suggest you google it and you will find the polls that show the american people support this. >> let me ask in the couple of minutes that we have left. each of our panelists kind of give their view about what i think has been a very spirited debate about this issue. >> i have to say thanks, but no thanks to the assertion that these protections against voter fraud are actually protecting minority communities, who are the victims. if that is the case, let's allow the communities that are the victims to decide whether voter idea and the burden placed primarily on those communities of the solution, or whether vigorous prosecution as you have described is enough of a deterrent. i think i know what the outcome will be, regardless of what the
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polling data may show. there is a campaign of misinformation and disinformation out in the nation around voter id provisions and around the existence of voter fraud. if the polling question was if there is no indication of widespread voter fraud, do you think the voter should be burdened by having to obtain identification that they do not have, and in many cases would have to go through great efforts to obtain, i know what the results would be. there is misinformation and disinformation out there that we in this room have to take our part in combating. we have to combat the fraud that is the notion of voter fraud. we have to combat the notion that there is such a burden on those poor states by having a mechanism in place that ensures that we can protect against both of those serial vote killers the states and jurisdictions with long histories of voter dissemination, and the copycat
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vote killers, the new jurisdictions that use the same old tired electoral change that the others used to suppress the turnout and decrease the growth in voting power of new minority communities. we have something to do in this room about ensuring that folks understand that our choice is an effective and timely efficient mechanism of resolving disputes around voting or the totality of the circumstances are our only protection after the fact, after folks have been denied the right to vote. >> so, i would simply say -- i would note a couple of things. when pushed on data, he went to the 1980's, then the 1990's, we are in 2015. also, as someone who prosecuted voter fraud cases, i just inc. the idea -- and he said there are samples -- there are 200 and
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50 k -- 250 cases with millions of votes cast. none of that is an argument still for restricting the right -- the fundamental critical right -- to vote. as someone who's that countless hours encouraging and reminding people how important it is to go vote in a state very fortunately where we do not have the strands of restrictions, it is just a point to me -- a board that we are still talking about restricting and how we overcome these restrictions. it has been pointed out the fact that when these restrictions are in place, they are significant people. the fact that we have
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communities that fight hard to overcome those restrictions does not make them right or correct. and so, i think we have to continue as representative waters has stated and, stated, and everyone here is to understand, to fight against these restrictions, understand exactly what they are, which are efforts to take away the right to vote, restrict the right to vote, for people, minorities, young people. the idea that many of these laws do not allow you to use your college id. in texas, you can use your your firearm owners card, but you cannot use your college id as your voter id. how can that be if your objective is to do anything other than limit young people's right to vote, and how can that be right in the country we live in.
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>> look, don't get the wrong impression, i think the voting rights act is the most important legislation passed. it is essential and still in place today. it should be in place. it has powerful tools to prevent discrimination when it occurs. how much discrimination is occurring in this country? the last six years under eric holder and the obama administration, do you know how many files have been -- cases have been filed under section two claiming discriminatory practices? section 11b, not a single case file. this idea that voter idea keeps people from voting, the data shows that is not true. as lawyers, you will appreciate this. the indiana and georgia laws were challenged on their face
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back in 2006 and 2007. in both cases, the courts throughout the cases saying there were no evidence that they were discriminatory or unconstitutional. absolutely nothing has prevented either the u.s. just apartment -- justice department or civil rights organizations for filing an as applied challenge in those two states in the last seven years if they actually could find individuals who were unable to vote because of those laws. no as applied challenge has been filed. just a year ago i wrote an article in which i went and looked up the name of the witnesses that were put forward in the georgia case, all of whom is were under oath that they didn't have an id, would never be able to get an id, even
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though georgia was providing a free idea, and i checked the voting records with the official voting records of the secretary of state. all of these individuals who have they would never be able to vote, including a number of elderly voters, had all been voting in election after election in georgia with the id in place. the idea that that is a problem is not true. we are one of the only western democracies that does not uniformly require an idea -- id to vote, even mexico requires a photo id to vote, and they have had no problems with it depressing turnout, just like the states here who have had the id in place. >> that me just say that mr. h ans has made arguments that we
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don't know what is in our best interest, and they are looking out for us, whoever they are. that we are to unsophisticated to appreciate that early voting dates are not in our best interest and we don't know how to use it to. there is so much fraud, we ought to be ecstatic that they would have voter id laws, because in the final analysis, they protect us. where you have found fraud well, those arguments don't hold water. and so, while he has a book with all this information that he is sharing with us today, we must understand that no matter these kinds of representations, we have got to organize, work hard, do everything that we can to get
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congress to do what it needs to do, and the fight is on. we do not buy any of his arguments. [applause] >> we will try to ask our panelists if they will join us in the riverside room downstairs where the expo is. you have a chance to talk. i don't think any books are being sold. you will have the opportunity to get a -- secondly, our real goal here was to have a full and spirited discussion of every aspect of this important problem. i think we succeeded. let's think our panelists for that. [applause] >> august 6, this week, the 50th anniversary of what every single person who you heard from today identifies as the major civil rights legislation that we have
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passed. take this opportunity on august 6 to celebrate the importance of civil rights in america. thank you very much. [applause] >> on thursday president obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the voting rights
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act by calling on congress to update the act and calling on citizens to exercise their right to vote. the president's remarks are about 20 minutes and after that we will take your calls and comment. >> it broke down legal barriers at the state level and the local level that were keeping african-americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote. all of us have a great debt not just to john lewis but the thousands, many of them unnamed who were courageous enough to walk up and try to register time and time again that were threatened because of their
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efforts to register. sharecroppers and made -- maids and ordinary folks. had it not been for them, awakening the conscience of the nation, the president could not have mustered the political support required to ultimately get the seminal law passed. we have the opportunity to honor some of the sacrifices made earlier this ear in elma -- this year in selma. it was heartening to see the bipartisan attendance. it signified that in the abstract at least, everybody today believes in the right to vote. conceptually. [laughter]
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everybody is in favor of the right to vote. [applause] you will not hear anybody defend the notion that the law can discriminate against persons because of their color or their faith or their ethnicity when it comes to going to cast a ballot. that is huge progress. a normative shift in how we think about our democracy. everybody in theory is supposed to be included. a part of the reason we are here today, part of the reason it so important for us to focus attention on this right is because in practice, we still have problems.
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on the ground there are still too many ways in which people are discouraged from voting. some of the protections that have been enshrined in the voting rights act it else -- itself have been weekend as a consequence of poor decisions and interpretations of the law. state legislatures have instituted procedures and practices that although on the surface, may appear neutral have the effect of discouraging people from voting. may have a disproportional
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effect on certain kinds of folks voting. and if, in fact, those practices , those trends, those tendencies are allowed to continue unanswered, over time, the hard won battles of 50 years ago erode. and our democracy roads. -- erodes. and that means the decisions made in the corridors of power all across this country begin to reflect the interest of a few instead of the interests of the many.
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so, we have got serious business to attend to hear. one order of business is for our congress to pass an updated version of the voting rights act. [applause] that would correct some of the problems that have arisen. [applause] i said when i was in selma that we are glad you are here members of congress but we will be even more glad, even more celebratory if you go back to washington and reaffirm america's commitment to what was fought for here at this bridge. so far, that hasn't happened.
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john lewis was right to do it. there is legislation pending. there are people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle who are prepared to move it. but, it keeps on slipping as a priority. part of the reason we are here is to reaffirm to members of congress, this has to be a priority. if this is not working, then nothing is working. we have to get it done. [applause] at the state levels, we have some outstanding members of state legislatures, california florida, who have been championing mechanisms to get more people voting. early voting. online registration. but sadly, too many states are making it harder for folks to vote.
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instituting photo id laws that on the surface sound good if you pull the average american, they will say yeah, you have to show your photo id. in practice, it turns out that for seniors and poor folks that's not always easy to do. by the way, it does not actually address the real problem because there are almost no instances of people going to vote in somebody else's name. [applause] it turns out it's just not a common crime. [laughter] folks might think about shoplifting.
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attorney general you know more about the crime system then i do but i am certain the -- because we have actually looked on the data on this that almost nobody wakes up and says i'm going to go vote in somebody else's name. it doesn't happen. the only reason to pass this law despite the reasonableness of how it sounds is to make it harder for folks to vote. you have state legislatures rolling back early voting. i don't understand why anybody would be opposed to spreading out voting so that people can arrange to vote depending on their schedule. it's hard. if you are working the midnight shift and you have to get your kid to school and have to travel by bus and you are a single mom.
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it may be difficult for you to be able to vote precisely in that window that's provided. there is no evidence that as a consequence of early voting fraud has increased. that people somehow have become less committed to democracy they don't feel that same sense of civic pride as they do if there is just one day of voting. there is no evidence of that. the reason to roll back early voting is because to make it harder for folks to vote. -- you want to make it harder for folks to vote. so in syria, everybody is in favor of the right to vote. -- still in theory in practice, we have state legislatures that are making it harder for people to vote. some of them, frankly, are not
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that shy about saying so. think about that. think about that. how can you rationalize making it harder for people to vote? how can you rationalize penalizing people because they don't have a lot of money not being able to vote? that's contrary to who we are. that's not what we believe. that's not what john lewis fought for. the united states of america should have no patience and no tolerance for laws that aim at disenfranchising our fellow citizens. we have to keep pushing. at the federal level, we need a
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new voting rights act passed. at the state and local levels, we have to fight back against efforts to make it harder to vote, and we have to embrace those legislators that are prepared to make it easy to vote. but there is one last aspect to this and that is the job of citizens in actually exercising the franchise. this isn't always a popular thing to say in front of aggressive groups. everyone is fired up and rightly so. -- progressive groups. the reason the voting rights in the last midterm election was thirtysomething percent is not attributable to a photo id law.
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the fact of the matter is that far more people disenfranchise themselves than any law does by not participating. by not getting involved. so yes, we have to be vigilant in pushing back against laws that seek to disenfranchise people, yes, we should be fighting back against loss for example that they excellence, no matter how long they have been living a correct life, no matter how well they have paid their dues, they can never vote again and that dave -- state. there are all kinds of battles we have to fight your it -- fight. but we miss the forest for the trees if we don't also recognize that huge chunks of us, citizens
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, just give away our power. we'd rather complain then do something about it. we won't vote and then we will talk about the terrible political process that is in doing anything. -- that isn't doing anything. i like grumbling and complaining. i can't always do it in public. [laughter] but what i know is it doesn't get anything accomplished. the groups that are here today want things that we are looking forward to is how do we mobilize, galvanized, get people focused, not only on laws but also on habits. our habits of citizenship. how do we instill in people a
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sense of why this is so critically important? that is why we are proclaiming september 22, national voter registration day. [applause] september 22. and we're going to have groups fanning out all across the country and on september 22, we are going to try to get everybody to register to vote. we probably won't get everybody but we are going to try. i want to thank so many of you who were involved in this including the maa's ep -- naacp which started their journey to justice earlier this week. you are shining a light on this issue and i want to make sure that we are fully mobilized across the country on september 22. the bottom line is, everybody here has a part to play. members of congress, they need
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to do the right thing. state legislators and governors they need to do the right thing. businesses, make it easier for your employees to vote. do the right thing. universities, other civic institutions, help register people to vote. provide civic education. do the right thing. most of our citizens sees the power that you have -- seize the power that you have. make this democracy work. do not succumb to cynicism. hiroki things happen when people get involved. herr rohit things happen -- h
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eroic things happen when a young man without any official title joins up with a bunch of other young and not so young people of every color and every persuasion in march -- in a march across the bridge. that is the power that is in all of us. we have to take advantage of it. thank you very much, everybody. god bless. thank you. [applause] >> president obama on thursday marking the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act.
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president lyndon johnson signing the voting rights act into law on august 6, 1965, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. today on c-span, we would like you to tell us what you think about the voting rights act. is it still needed 50 years later? should be updated as the president suggests it be considering some of the state's voter id laws and the supreme court decision from a couple of years ago? the numbers are on your screen. let us know what you think about the voting rights act today. of course, you can always tweet us and you can join the conversation on facebook. many of the calls to update the voting rights act come from the
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various states attempting to an active voter id laws here it -- laws. in 2013, the supreme court effectively striking down what am said was the heart of the voting rights act of 1965 that freed up nine states, mostly in the south, to change their election laws without advanced federal approval. that was the part of the voting rights act that the supreme court acted on. this week, we had a voter id law struck down despite the freedom for states to make election law changes without preapproval. a texas state law requiring prospective voters to show a state id was overturned this past wednesday. a federal appeals court ruling that it had violated the voting rights act. let's go to the calls and see what you have to say. oscar joins us from california on the republican line. >> i think that everybody should
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show id to vote because if they don't, they are going to vote once or twice. i think it's right that people should show id because we have to show an id to buy liquor or anything at the store. if you go any place, you have to show an id. why not show an id to vote? i think that's the correct thing. >> you may have just seen the president talking about that saying it's not an issue. people are not getting up each day and saying i'm going to go out and vote in somebody else's name. you think that is an issue. >> yes. i am hispanic and i know that is an issue. i have seen a lot of people that have voted that are illegal in this country. so i think -- if you don't have id anybody can vote.
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>> earl in alabama on the line for democrats. >> i think that the voters lights -- voter rights law should be updated and i don't think you should have to show id to vote. if you are a college student your college id should be sufficient. that rule was put in place to hinder people from voting. i think the early vote should be brought back. >> michael is an independent voter. are you a voter michael? lacks yes. >> what you think about the voting rights act and voter id laws? >> i think it's good to a aspect but we need to get back to the basics, to the individual like the president just said. when we have things such as the electoral college, i am in michigan and my vote only counts as popular for president and it all falls on detroit. you have to live in detroit to count. that's wrong.
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that's taking away everybody's constitutional right in this country. we need to get back to the basics, the fundamental right that the little man counts and to hear his voice. there is more of us than there is of them. >> janice in michigan, republican caller. >> thank you. i watched the president speak and he sure knows how to speak to his base. when he addresses a group of african americans, he drops the jeeves -- g's on his words and uses the cadence of a black preacher. i am thrilled the voting rights act passed in 1965, but i wanted to dispel the myth that the president is referring to everyone that there is no violation if you don't have a picture id.
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he diminishes it. he diminishes the id requirement. some people don't drive, but there is a state id you can get with your picture on it. college ids, that one gentleman that called on the democrats line is totally correct. college ids have pictures on them. i agree, college ids, it does not have to be a drivers license. you don't have to bring your birth certificate to your precinct to vote. i think that the problem is just being thrown way out of proportion. what is so difficult about following the law and getting an id and making your vote count and making my vote count to because i don't want someone without an id to just walk in and affirm that they are who they say they are? they are going to take my vote away.
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everyone have a wonderful day. thank you so much. >> the texas voter id law was struck down earlier this week. greg abbott tweeted that texas will continue to fight for its voter id requirement to ensure the integrity of elections in the lone star state. hillary clinton's campaign meanwhile talking about some of their proposals regarding voting. add your name if you agree with hillary, we should make voting easier not harder. this tweet referring to for solutions that the hillary clinton campaign recommends ensuring all citizens are automatically registered to vote when they turn 18. pass legislation to fix the damage voting rights act, expand early and mail voting, and set nationwide entered of 20 plus days of early, in person voting. next up is james in new mexico on the line for independence. >> good afternoon.
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two short comments to make. ultimately, controlling the demographics of the voting population is voter fraud. in a political manner. i would suggest the easiest way to resolve this would be to take multiple departments and ids such as our birth certificates, social security cards, drivers license, immunization cards medical cards, and consolidate to one state photo id that is in national conformity and would use endorsements on the id for voting driving, even purchase of alcohol and other such things , school identification. in the consolidation we would reduce these cards we carry around as an average citizen. i carry a dozen cars around in my wallet may be down to three or four. i believe it would result a lot
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of these issues and stop the controlling of the demographics of the voting population which is what i believe is happening in america behind the scenes. >> this week of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the voting rights act. the picture on your screen there, president lyndon johnson at the signing ceremony with martin luther king. next caller is on the line for democrats in alabama. is the voting rights act still relevant? does it need to be updated? >> good day to you. it is very much relevant and needed today. there have been some cases where you have covert and overt discrimination. i think we are seeing a lot of covert discrimination at this point because the policy, we support a program to have everyone vote. on the other hand, there are
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other subtle ways of doing it so that you discourage people from voting. i would contend that there are unsung heroes that marched for voters rights here in this state of alabama. those voices should be heard. one of those voices is doris. she left school to march and demonstrate in selma alabama. her right should be protected. one of the things that really bugs me is young people not taking advantage of the voting opportunity. as well as many of the adults and i think we have gotten too comfortable in the fact that things are happening and we can't see what is happening in
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terms of our ability to have rights taken away from us. >> gym in atlantic city, new jersey. -- jim >> i am looking at this as a world war ii veteran. i served with men wanting to protect the great freedoms we have. anything that is in protected or preserves like a strong military would hold true to that privilege. anything that chips the way -- chips away from that, i can't understand. how hard is it to take a card out of your wallet, out of your
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pocket and show your id to preserve that? freedom is not free. it has to be preserved at. i just don't understand that liberal view of usurping someone's privilege or rights in this great country to not have to show id. they should be proud to show their id. >> frank in tennessee on the line for democrats. grexit the way i see it is can you -- >> the way i see it, you have government employees who have state issued ids. however, college students cannot use their ids to vote and
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government state employees cannot use their state id to vote. but you can use your state issued gun permit to go vote. if they are really serious, they should allow college students to use their id. same thing for state employees. >> we are going to move on now. more discussion about the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act. from today's washington journal. >> we are talking about the voting rights act with celebrate -- which celebrated its 50th anniversary this week. we want to know is it still needed? we are speaking with the senior legal fellow covering electorate law reform. he served on the federal
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electorate commission here it -- commission. we are also joined by nicole austin hillary. scheer is -- she is here from the bar association. can you tell us exactly what the voting rights act does and how the supreme court decision in 2013 changed the law? >> this is probably the most important piece of legislation congress passed in the last 100 years. in 1965, there was systematic, widespread discrimination that was keeping african-americans from being able to vote. this law basically ended that. it is probably one of the most successful pieces of legislation ever passed. the main provisions were section two which prohibited discrimination in the voting context. other important permissions -- provisions 11b band coercion.
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-- banned congress but these into be permanent. the only provision in the law that was supposed to be temporary was called section five and this was a piece of the law that was aimed at the worst states. these are the states in the south where jim crow was present. in those states, they were told they cannot make any changes in their voting laws without getting the preapproval of the federal government, either the attorney general or the court. congress intended that to only be temporary. it was an emergency provision. it was because of the conditions that were so extraordinary, so bad there. it was only supposed to last five years. tigress kept renewing it until the spring -- congress cap to renewing it until the shelby county case in 2013.
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if you are going to have a provision like this with such an extraordinary remedy, basically federal supervision, you have to base it on current conditions. the last time congress renewed it, they didn't do that. the states were still covered based on 45-year-old turnout and registration data, all of which was out of date. today, blacks vote and register at the same rate and in some state hires -- higher rate than whites. >> i would like to hear from you about what the response has been from state since this portion of the law was discarded. >> unfortunately, some states became far more bullish in terms of attempting to institute laws that would have the effect of actually making it harder for some americans to register to vote and indeed engage in the electoral process. on the very day that the shelby county decision was brought down
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from the supreme court, the secretary of state of texas was on the news saying now we can move forward with implementing some of the changes that we wanted to implement here in texas, notably, the very strict voter id law. what you sow or like texas north carolina, that were previously covered under section five attempting then to move forward without any checks and balances in place because that is indeed what section five provided. we have now seen several states move forward without those checks and balances to institute laws that we found, if enacted would have the effect of making it harder for some americans to engage in the electoral process. >> there was a development in the court challenge to the texas id law. >> on wednesday, the court of appeals determined that the
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texas voter id law was in fact discriminatory in terms of its effect. the court sent that decision back down to the lower court in texas. they did not determine whether the intent of the lawmakers in texas was indeed discriminatory. that is something the lower court has got to wrestle with. but the court of appeals did indeed say that that law had a discriminatory effect. here is what's so important about what we lost in the shelby county decision when the supreme court is a serrated section five. if we had section five is still in effect, that decision or that law that texas tried to implement what have been judged by either the department of justice or a federal court of appeals in washington and that law would have been determined whether it was just commensurate or not before it actually went into place. it would not have gone to court.
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advocates of litigators would not have had to spend the time and money in order to fight this out in court. section five ensures that the department of justice and the highest federal court in washington would make determinations about these laws prior to them taking effect and that's what was lost and that's what's so important about action five -- section five. >> du agree? >> i do not. we have had voter id laws in some states like georgia and indiana since far before the shelby county decision. in fact, those cases -- those laws are in effect. we now know the effects of them because we have had election after election in states like georgia and indiana and they did not have a discriminatory effect. the turnout data itself shows that it did not prevent anyone from voting. we are talking now not just
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about voter id but for example changes in early voting times. the claim was made that because north carolina reduced its early voting dates from 17 to 10 that that would somehow have a discriminatory effect. the law was in effect last year. the turnout for example of black voters went up in comparison to the last election. all of these discriminatory effects that organizations like the brennan center have predicted, we have gotten years and years of data from states and it shows that they did not have discriminatory effects. they did not keep people from getting out and voting. >> you can join the conversation as well. we are dividing the phone lines up along political lines for this segment. you can send us a tweet.
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we are on facebook. or you can send us an e-mail. as we said at the start of the segment, this is the 50th anniversary of the voting rights act and here is some footage of former president lyndon johnson describing the provisions as he signed the bill. >> this law covers many pages but the heart of the act is plain. wherever by clear and executive -- objective standards states and counties are using discrimination, they will be struck down. if it is clear state officials still intent to discriminate, federal examiners will be sent in to register all eligible voters.
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when the prospect of discrimination is gone, the examiners will be immediately withdrawn. under this act, if any county anywhere in this nation does not want federal intervention, it need only open at polling places to all of its people. >> that was president johnson discussing the provisions of the voting rights act. we are turning out to your phone calls. the first one will come from jeff and indiana on the democratic line. >> thank you. here it is 2015, -- if they continue down this path of denying blacks and latinos the right to vote in things like north carolina and texas, you guys lined up like the whigs --
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extinct. if you have no faith in your own ideals, why'd you feel the need to set up all these rules to keep people from voting? in europe, australia, and canada, you pay a penalty if you don't vote or it i think we need to have that policy here. republicans won't allow it because you guys would get obliterated at the voting booth. >> requiring a voter id is not keeping people from voting. in fact, if you look at the polling on this, a majority of americans who are white, black, hispanic they all agree that the voter id is common sense. if you want to vote in south africa you have to show a voter id. we are only

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