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tv   Brooklyn Historical Society - Ari Berman on Voting Rights  CSPAN  August 14, 2018 8:00pm-8:50pm EDT

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questions] >> tonight on c-span, author ari berman talks about voting rights, a panel at the heritage foundation examines judge kevin is rulings over the years and a discussion on the rights of publicity versus the rights of free speech. i had this week, a senate homeland security committee update on justice department effortss on the ongoing to protect unaccompanied immigrant children from human trafficking and abuse. that is live at 10 a.m. eastern on thursday. also on thursday, fcc chair and sheet i is joined by commissioners on a hearing on the agency's work curbing robo
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calls. live coverage begins at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span3. it also find it streaming online at or on the free c-span radio app. come look at going rights with mother jones reporter and ari berman., he spoke for about 45 minutes. >> it is my great pleasure to introduce tonight, ari berman . to talk about voting rights he is a senior reporter for mother jones, a. fellow at the nation institute he has written extensively about american politics, voting rights and the intersection of money in politics -- don't know what that is about [laughter] he was the first national reporter to cover voter suppression a during the 2012 election, earning widespread
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acclaim for his coverage in pushing the issue to the spotlight. his stories have also appeared on the new york times, the washington post, rolling stone nation. he is a frequent guest and commentator on msnbc, c-span and npr. in 2017, he won an award for a stunning achievement in independent media. he is the author of "give us the ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in america, about the history of voting rights in america since 1965. mater,uated from my alma northwestern university, with a degree in journalism and political science. he is also a new dad. [applause] yay! dad!
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he willspeak tonight, answer questions and, he has ,indly agreed to stay & books "give us the ballot," which is on the bookshop right there. thank you for coming. ari come a welcome. [applause] re: >> hi,, everybody. thank you for coming out and braving the heat. usually, it is opposite this days, but i am one of the last of the dying breed. iwas getting a tour before came up here of this building. stephen was telling me that this building was built in the 1880's. i was thinking about what was as iton in the 1880's a
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pertains to voting rights. and the fact is, a lot of people in this room would not have been able to vote at that point in time women can vote. african-americans couldn't vote. latinos can vote. couldn't vote.s the right to vote was very narrowly restrict it, largely to mail private property owners. it is interesting, but he think of history, you also think of the other side of american history, which is kind of how i came to this subject matter. me, the right to vote was something that i do not think a whole lot about for most life. . i didn't grow up in the segregated south, my parents did not meet marching in selma. i knew about the voting rights act and its importance, but it was an abstract issue for me. really for me.
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, my come to jesus moment, even though i am jewish, was -- [laughter] election,the 2010 when so many states flipped from blue to red, or became a whole lot redder. a wave ofn to see events to make it harder to vote to reedit things like requiring a strict from of id that you never needed in previous elections, cutting back on early voting days, reducing the number of polling places, or purging people from voting rolls. this is not an isolated occurrence. . from 2011-2012, there were 180 new voting restrictions introduced in 41 states. half the states in the country changed their election laws. so i view this as a very disturbing development for democracy and also a really important story to cover, which
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is how i first started covering this is a journalist. election, the supreme court heard a challenge to the central part of the voting rights act and then gutted the voting rights act, ruling that those states with a history of discrimination longer voting.lear their changes with the federal government that got me a lot deeper into the history. lawyers, academics, activists, very basic questions about the voting rights act. why was it challenged. was that it settled 50 years ago to my surprise, there were a lot of interesting historical articles about the voting rights act, buta we had writteng a book abouto? >>a and the present daygo? . aat is what led me to write book about the history of voting rights. the title of the book comes from the first major speech that martin luther king gave about 1957. rights in may of
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it is really a remarkable speech. he was only 28 years old at the time, 20 5000 people gathered at the lincoln memorial for an event called the prayer tilde freedom,ille pilgrimage for and it was just the beginning of what we think of as the contemporary civil rights movement. was he was saying in this speech, was that every right that the civil rights movement wanted to achieve -- the right to be able to go to school where they wanted, to be able to eat where they wanted the right to be in but to marry who they wanted, the right to be treated as full citizens under the law, none of that could be achieved without the right to vote. that was the one right that was going to make all of these other possible. that speech, in 1957, led to the eight year effort accommodated
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in the passage. of the voting rights act i always like to remind people what it was like before the passage of the voting rights act of 1965. you had situations in places only 2%ma, alabama were of african-americans were registered to vote. if you try to register in selma and you are african-american, you are told to name all 67 county judges to get on the voting rolls, something that i am pretty sure the judges themselves would never have been able to do when he asked that question. the 6.7ssippi coming on percent of african-americans in the entire state were registered vote. there were people from new york like andrew goodman and mickey schwerner who went down to never came back, because they were murdered trying to simply get people to register to vote. that was america before 1965.
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what the voting rights did that was so important was struck down the literacy tests, the ol poll tax, the grandfather clauses that prevented so many people from being able to register. so you never had to name all 67 county judges to be a will to register to vote. what it did over a longer. of time was say to those states with the longest histories of discrimination, largely in the south, but not exclusively -- there were present new york that were covered by this as well -- those places had to prove their voting changes with the federal government so they did not future.nate in the because the supreme court and congress knew full well that if they struck down one literacy test or poll tax, these states would just come up with anyone, unless he shifted the burden of discrimination from those faced with discrimination to those discrimination. and remarkable piece of legislation, one of the most
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successful pieces of legislation congress.d by in my view, it really made the promise of american democracy real for the first seminar country's history. that is the good news. hadbad news is that they been a 50 year plus effort at this point, to roll back the voting rights act and to roll more the first thing that happened after the voting rights act was passed, the law was unconstitutional. this went to the supreme court, a different supreme court than we had now, and the court said in an 8-1 decision, the voting rights act was constitutional but that it was basically meant to enforce the 15th amendment of 1870 which had been ignored for over 100 years. that should have settled the debate. the law was upheld as unconstitutional, let us move on. -- the law was upheld as constitutional, let us move on. then, when the first
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african-americans, latinos, asian americans and women were elected for the first time, you began to hear a new argument against the voting rights act. that it was a form of affirmative action in the electoral arena. that it was helping some voters, but hurting others. interestingly enough, this argument began to be made very aggressively in the 1980's with the election of ronald reagan. one of the people who makes the argument against the act must aggressively is a guy by the name of john roberts, who at the time, was a young lawyer in the reagan justice department. roberts was passed with weakening -- test with weakening the voting rights act. in correspondence with the reagan administration, in his words, violations of the voting rights act should not be made easy to prove. i think this is important, because it is not like john roberts workup 30 years later and decided, i will write a majority opinion in 2013 gutting the voting rights act, i
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suddenly feel very strongly issue.he this is something that he and others in the conservative groups have been trying to do for 30 plus years. and they were put on the supreme court processing for that reason. what is interesting, is that he fails. parts of the voting rights act were temporary and had to be renewed by the congress. and the congress actually renewed the voting rights act four different times in 1970, 19 75, 1982 and in 2006. each time it was renewed, it was overwhelming margins and congress, and every optimization of it was signed by a republican president, which is think is really interesting to remind people, it is something that used to have bipartisan support. to me the real breaking point when it comes to voting rights, was after the 2000 election in florida. i think a lot of people remember it for hanging chads, butterfly
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ballots, katherine harris, elderly jews mistakenly voting for pat buchanan in palm beach, but there was another whole part of that election. which is that florida is one of the only states in the country that prevents ex felons from voting -- something i will talk about later. the state claimed that all of these acts silence, even after they served their time, were on the voting rolls and needed to be. urged. so they sent to this list of suppose it asked felons to be be purged. but first off, the purge was discriminatory. african americans were 44% of the voter purge list, even though they were only 11% of the population in florida. secondly, the purge was inaccurate. what happened was, people showed up to vote on election day in florida in 2000, they were wrongly told they were felons, and cannot vote. after the election, the ncaa
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naacp sued the state and the state showed that 12th thousand voters were wrongly deemed felons and purged. that was 30 times the margin of election victory for george bush in the state. some people than one lesson after florida, which is that again.uld never happen other people under different lesson, which is that maybe this benefits as politically. inbe there is a benefit preventing people from voting. maybe it will help one party, and hurt the other. so, fast-forward to 2000 and eight. think what is really interesting 2008. not only is the first black president elected, but 5 million new voters cast a ballot. voters,,5 million new 2 million african american to me and are latino, 600,000 are asian-american.
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so there are most entirely people of color, and they vote 75% for president obama. let us say you are the opposition party, and the fastest growing segments of the electorate have just voted in overwhelming numbers against you, what you do? as a politicalit journalist, you only have two options, you can either change or policies to try to attract new people, that is typically what you would do in politics, to try to win an election; or, you would choose a different strategy, a very old and timeworn strategy in american politics. you try to prevent those people that disagree with you from voting in the first place. and, that is what happened. suddenly, when the other party got control of all of these key states after the 2010 election, whether it was texas, north
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carolina, wisconsin, pennsylvania or florida, we saw the same laws, basically identical, introduced in state after state after state. the efforts got a shot in the arm after the supreme court in an opinion authored by john roberts, who i just mentioned earlier, gutted a piece of the voting rights act. after that decision, a few things happened. first, the laws actually not as a discriminatory by texans voter id law where you could use a gun permit but not a student id, were allowed to go into effect. the second thing that happened, states passed more sweeping voter restrictions. a month after the supreme court decision, when john roberts said that initial discrimination in voting was largely a thing of the past, north carolina which is one of the most progressive states in the south, passed one laws. strictest voter id it eliminated same-day voter
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registration, illuminated citizens awareness month, where states encourage citizens to vote, all of this in one bill, one month after the supreme court noted the act. this was challenged in federal court in 2016, the court found that this law and -- in the courts words, targeted african-americans with almost surgical precision. but some parts of the law or as close as i smoking gun as you will ever see in modern times. they cited one piece of evidence ar this, north carolina was state of that allowed sunday voting. new york doesn't have early voting -- we will talk about that later -- that in states with early voting, sunday is a popular due to vote, because a lot of people don't work. it is also the day when african-american churches hold drives. so north carolina got rid of sunday voting. the court asked, why did you get rid of sunday voting? the legislature said, some
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people are using it more than others. [laughter] and the court said, ok, who was using it more than others? and the legislature said, counties that were predominately democratic and had large african-american populations. and the court said, you just admitted to us in federal court, that you passed this law to try to disenfranchise people, based on their party, but even more significantly, based on their race. which is why they struck this down. it was clear evidence after the supreme court said that discrimination was a thing of the past, of the very type of the discrimination that the voting rights act was passed to stop in the first place. . the third thing that happened, distressing to me as a northerner, was, voter suppression spread to the north. people think of it as a southern thing. that it is happening in southern mississippi, but not happening there.
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i spent the election of 2016 in wisconsin, one of the most progressive states historically for voting rights, that consistently along with minnesota since the 1970's, had the highest voter turnout in the country, and was really committed to good governance in a who was in control of the state. that changed in 2016 wisconsin adopted a strict voter id law that 300,000 voters did not have, according to the court. and i'm sure you're asking, what is a big deal? doesn't everyone have an id? don't you need it to buy sudafed , a beer, cash a check? what we cannot debate, is that there were people who not only did not have this id, but trying couldn' ids and i wrote about a 58-year-old african-american man who moved from chicago to milwaukee, with the name of eddie holloway junior. a chicagoeone who had id, had an id from illinois, that was not valid for voting in wisconsin. hit could use it to board a
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plane, purchase sudafed or beer, but he couldn't use it to vote in wisconsin. so he went after the dmv in milwaukee and said, i want to get mad for voting. by, they didn't give him an id, because the name on his illinois id, said -- eddie junior holloway, because of a clerical .rror that it was that he halloween junior so, same first name, same last middle.erical they told him to go to that records office in milwaukee and his birth certificate commended. he went down to records in milwaukee and said, how much would it cost to amend my birth certificate? they said, 400-$600. the set, you can go back to illinois and do it there. so he took a bus to illinois at the state capital and went to springfield and said, i want to amend my birth certificate.
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they said, they had to see his high school and vaccination records. he went to decatur, illinois where he was from and got his high school records. he went back to the state capitol and such, can i now i'm in my birth certificate? they said, no, we need to see your full social security statement. he went back to wisconsin, got all of his documents in order and said, can i am in my birth bytificate, sent it t fax or him mail question mark they said, you have to come back. at this point in time, this one voter, eddie holloway junior, gave up. he made seven trips to different public agencies, spent over $180 of his own money in two different states and was still 2016.le to vote in what really bothered me was that i heard so many stories in 20 about how people were not vote, how there was so much apathy in the country, and it was true.
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there were people who were not excited, but there was also an entirely different story. there were people who were excited to vote, that was too herculean efforts to try to vote, but were disenfranchised because of voter suppression. one of the things afoot at me as a journalist, was that there were 25 presidential debates during the primary election season, and there was not a single question about the getting of the voting rights act. he fact that this is the first presidential election and 50 years without the voting rights act. i did a story in mother jones about what happened in wisconsin. we find, based on academic studies, interviews, but tens of thousands of people were prevented from voting him a enough to tip the margin from hillary clinton to donald trump. the timeill ask me all
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committed voter suppression have an impact? i say, absolutely, it had an impact. i have documented it. even if it did not have an impact, the fact that one party deliberately made it harder for people to vote, was a huge political scandal that deserved far more attention and outrage. i would let to talk about where we are today. i don't want to sugarcoat it. i will get to some good news, but let us get to the bad news first. this last session at the supreme court was the worst that i have ever seen for voting rights. you have to go back to the jim wherera to find a term the supreme court so consistently voted against protecting the right to vote. voter purgingld in ohio, upheld racial gerrymandering in texas, it had two different cases before it
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could have ended partisan gerrymandering and in both of those cases, they threw them out. so many opportunities to protect voting rights, no decisions that did so. then on the last day of the vacation, i was on anthony kennedy said, i am retiring. when it comes to voting rights, anthony kennedy was not really a swing justice. i want to be honest here. he joined bush versus gore, he joined the gutting of the voting rights act, he authored citizens united, which allowed billionaires to buy american elections. he is only considered a swing justice, because the court has moved so far to the right. that said, his replacement is going to be worse. i was doing some research on brett kavanaugh yesterday, one of the first things that i found was that he upheld a voter id law from south carolina that the obama justice department blocked and said would disenfranchise
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tens of thousands of minority voters. intohat gives an inkling the kind of justice he will be. he will be someone who is hostile to voting rights, someone who will be hostile to civil rights, someone who was put on the court to carry out a very specific agenda of the federalist society, of the heritage foundation, and i think even more disturbingly, of the republican party. we don't just have a conservative court, we now have a republican court. which means, they are going to uphold the very laws that republicans are passing to try to rig the electorate, and this kind enshrine of election-rigging that we saw levels.nsin at federal this is disturbing, it is a 30-40 year project that the right has had and they are succeeding.
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i think what is unfortunate is that there are so much in his country we could be doing to vote.t easier to in fact, some states are doing this right now, there actually is some good news when it comes to voting rights. i will give you one example. , oregon became the first state to pass automatic registration. basically, if you go to the dmv and they can confirm that you are a u.s. citizen, over 18 and a state resident, you will be automatically registered to vote. ,his policy and oregon registered 300,000 new voters in the last election. eating a, despite not swing state, has the highest increase in the country in voter turnout. -- despite not being a swing state in the country, has the highest increase in the country turnout. 13 states have not passed automatic photo registration in
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just two years, which shows that when you actually put some effort into expanding the electorate, making an affirmative argument for why people should be able to vote, actually, a lot of people respond to it. automatic registration has not just passed in blue states, it passed by referendum in alaska of all places. it was signed into law in west virginia. to me, this is the wave of the future. i think that as a new yorker, it is really unfortunate that we laws.have these kinds of we are thought of as this progressive state in a lot of different respects, but we have some of the worst voting laws in country. when i was in north carolina covering the trial i told you about, the law that was blocked with almost surgical precision, the lawyer for the state of carolina, who has now been nominated by donald trump to be a federal judge, by the way, got up and said, why does north carolina need 21 days of early voting, if new york doesn't have any?
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and i was sitting in the courtroom, and you know, as a northerner, i was offended. i wanted to say, how dear you southerners lecture us on voting rights? but then i had to admit, he kind of had a point. that we don't have early voting, and we are not being invoked by some of the worst states for voter suppression, as an excuse to do this kind of thing. that last time i talked in new york, i had a cheat sheet about all the laws that the states have that we don't have, luckily i found in my pocket right before i came here. , 37 states have early voting voting. has no early 27 states have no excused absentee ballots, you don't need a reason to get an absentee ballots. new york requires a reason under penalty of perjury to get an absentee ballot. 15 states have election day registration, you can register on the same day to vote which increases water turnout mother any other reform. because so many people do not
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get. time.ether to register in we don't. 13 other states have automatic voter registration, the way of the future for voting rights. we don't have automatic registration. so as new yorkers, i think you absolutely should care about what is happening in wisconsin, north carolina and texas. it is outrageous. but it is also outrageous what is happening in our own backyard, that we haven't gotten together to at least become the 14 states do pass early voting. -- the 30th state to pass early voting. i am hopeful that that will change as well. i will just end with three thanks, three takeaways that i believe are important -- three things, three takeaways that i believe are important. as. somebody asks you about it, just tell them these three things. about is a right, not a privilege that. too many people have died in this country for the right to vote, for us to once again come
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it.ith new ways to restrict the second thing, i believe, is that democracy works better when more people participate. i have found to believe that it is no coincidence that new york has some of the highest rates of legislators going to jail, and some of the worst voting laws in the country. i think a lot of people have become comfortable with power here, and don't want to give it up. i think that the elected officials are more responsive to the electorate when more people show up. the last thing i believe, is that voter suppression is fundamentally tomorrow. of right versus left issue, not a democratic or republican issue, it is fundamentally wrong to prevent people from voting. if that is your strategy to win an election, you should get another job. so with that, i will and and i'm happy to take a lot of questions. thank you. [applause]
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host: thank you very much, for a wonderful talk. two questions. you voting should be compulsory? ari: it is an interesting experiment. let me contextualize it for a second. the question was, should voting compulsory? australia has had that since the 1920's. they had low voter turnout, and they came up with a radical solution. their basic idea was that the vote is not a right or privilege, it is the responsibility. that if you want to live here, do.s something you have to it is not like austin is a rose most functional democracy, they too.scandals but it'll have the kind of voter suppression that we have, where every election, you are arguing about voting laws, because everyone is able to vote. i don't think it would fly in this country, where you see "don't tread on me" flags, but
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it is a most interesting experiment. >> the other question i have is -- do you think that the people judges -- wholly participate in decision-making that suppresses voting, do you think that it is class prejudice, just a desire to win, what makes people like that? ari: that is a good question. what do judges think, who pass these kind of laws, who uphold these kind of laws? i think it is twofold. i think some of them are carrying out the agenda of the party that nominated them. it is very clear that some of them are doing the bidding and they realize it will benefit some people more than others. i think at the same time, they have developed an elaborate ideology to justify discrimination without seeming
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discriminatory. what you begin to see in the 1970's, something that was really embraced by john roberts in the 1980's, was his idea of colorblindness. yeah, discrimination was bad, but you know what, so was busing, affirmative action, districts that help african-americans get elected. we are against discrimination, but we don't want color to be considered at all. that was very communicative, it sounded great. of course, who wants to consider color if you don't have to? the problem was, they were making this argument at a time when there was a huge disparity between races when it came to her education, housing, voting. we weren't anywhere near a colorblind society, but they wanted to treat it as such and use it as an excuse to roll back the civil rights movement. so i think that you have seen basically every justice nominated to the supreme court of by a republican who believes in the study of colorblindness. they have convinced themselves that this is a morally superior ideology. that they are the ones freeing
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the country from discrimination when in fact only are doing is entrenching it. aboutld you like to talk prisoner disenfranchisement? permitted,tates that and we are also an outlier when you look at other countries. also, with miss being such an important issue, which election about how we are also being distracted when you're being told that the election was flying by other things that are less important? ari: i will stick to the first question for now. the question was about felon disenfranchisement, a big issue that across the country, 6 billion people cannot vote, because of the loan disenfranchisement laws. and varies state like -- because of felon disenfranchisement laws. state-by-state.
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there are a few states, most notably florida, which prevent extra loans from voting altogether. even after he has served your debt to society, you cannot vote. one of the most interesting campaigns in 2018 will be about this issue of overturning the felon disenfranchisement law and florida. it is critical, because 4.5 million people -- 1.5 million vote. in florida cannot . just think of emergence, 537 votes in 2000. and the last election, donald trump only beat hillary clinton by about 130,000 votes. one in five african-americans in florida cannot vote. that is staggering to me, and important swing states in the country, one in five african-americans is disenfranchised, even after they have paid their debt to society. so, this amendment is one of the
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most interesting things i am following in 2018. one thing i forgot to say about the courts is that, as the courts move further and further in the direction of not protecting their voting rights, i think mass voter mobilization and going directly to the people, is going to be important.y it is not just florida, in michigan this year, they're going to vote on election day registration, automatic registration, gerrymandering. in nevada, they will vote on automatic registration. this is one way where you do not have to rely on the courts to uphold your law, you don't have to have faith in the fifth conservative justice to try to rule for you. you can try to go directly to people.le, mobilize i think what is happening in florida is really important, because it will not just potentially transform the state's electorate, it will get multiple out to vote who care about criminal justice issues, whom may not otherwise vote in midterm elections, particularly
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a lot of young voters of color who may be turned of by both parties, but care about mass incarceration. both parties,by but care about mass incarceration and see this as a key piece of preserving that incarceration. >> could to talk about the arguments and alaska and west virginia that worked for voter registration? ari: so, it is really, really interesting. basically, in west virginia, they were going to pass the voter id law. the democrats said, ok, this is not basically a republican state. we will give you voter id, but we want automatic registration in return. they passed one bad law, and passed one other law which means that if you go to the dmv, you will get automatically registered. alaska was fascinating. it has basically, a reserve of money, based on how much or they
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have. everyone in the state sense of for that oil revenue fund. now, when the senate for that oil revenue fund, you will automatically be registered to vote. the kind of innovative policy that we could be doing in other. places we don't need a one size tos all solution, if we want get everyone registered, we can do it in this day and age. we can do it like in alaska, where you know people are signing up for oil money, you might as well get them registered to vote at the same time. >> i have two questions, maybe you can choose one. one is, you talked a little about john roberts and the ongoing project. if you could talk maybe about jeff sessions and the role of the doj, since alabama is such a favorite state on voting. than the other is racial gerrymandering, that is also a new battle. how do you see that playing out in the forthcoming elections? i think someone like
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john roberts has kind of tried to effectively make a new kind .f argument for discrimination i think jeff sessions made a very old argument for discrimination, which is that, i am a reconstructed southerner who grew up in this zero and still believes in those things. it was just something that -- one of the situations were donald trump is different than any other republican. . i think he would've had a republican president -- not saying that they would have nominated a good attorney general, but they would not have sessions.jeff he was not a remarkable senator, he had some of the most extreme politics, and despite trump bad mouthing him every day, he is driving the trump administration's policies on voting, legislation, along with miller.phan
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as you look at his record on voting rights, one of the things that jeff sessions did, which i think should have disqualified him from ever being considered as attorney general, when he was a prosecutor in alabama, in the 1980's, he prosecuted people that nearly died marching from rights invoting selma in the 1960's for completely bogus cases on voter fraud. what you would do is that you would go to people's houses and help them cast absentee ballots. why politicians did it all the time. when african-american politicians did this, they were charged in voter fraud. it was a very contentious issue in alabama and jeff sessions was actually blocked from becoming a federal judge, largely because case.s because the convictions were thrown out, because it was seen as such a black mark on his record. it obviously did not stop him on being elected as senator and
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attorney general, but we are at a place where history really here.s if you look at the background of similar jeff sessions, you understand what they are doing .he things they're doing today >> i don't have a microphone. how do we go about getting new york state to extend voting rights, other than perhaps asking cynthia nixon to take it on, in which case, andrew cuomo will adopt it -- do we start by writing and calling our a sentiment and state wraps? ari: the simplest answer, is a election different people. these elections are not decided votes. many if you would increase voter turnout by a little bit in some of these districts, you would have a very different legislature. it is really one branch of legislature blocking this from happening, the other is on board with all of these reforms. the governor has not always been the best supporter of voting way.s, i will put it that
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i think a lot of people who support the governor and voting rights, have not necessarily put a lot of pressure on him on this issue. to me, supporting the right to vote has to be a foundational issue, the same way that people care about a woman's right to choose, or a clean environment, a higher minimum wage. . these are benchmark issues. if you are not for these things, you will not be elected to the democratic york.or of new but somehow, you can be elected democratic governor of new york, and not want people to vote. i think it is very problematic. that governor has moved a little bit, but there was an opportunity to pass early voting in the last legislative session, died. again, this would make us at 38th state in the country to pass early voting. it is not a radical reform that we are talking about here. we are not talking about compulsory voting. we are just talking about being
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able to vote on the friday or saturday or the sunday before the election. i mean come i had that experience, where i was in wisconsin on election day, 2016. i liked voting in person. i have it three-year-old voter in addition to a two-month old daughter, and i really like taken the three-year-old to vote. she likes to get that "i voted" sticker. an absentee ballot, it was a ridiculous process and new york. i could have gone there, but i was really busy. i had to figure out where the board of elections was, said in a form to get an absentee ballot, get the absentee ballot in the mail, nick sure i got in time, signed under penalty of perjury what i needed a nasa team ballot, pay for postage to return the absentee ballot back. it was a lot of work, but it was for different states that i had
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to do, as opposed to taking a walk down the block from my apartment two days he for the election, if we had early voting. a lot of people are already look warm around voting, but if we could just remove one obstacle -- if you just add one obstacle -- a lot of people are already lukewarm aroun about voting in the country. that if you just add one obstacle, of a say, why bother? all of this basically serves as a deterrent. yes. i am going back and history, you mentioned the rights and privileges today. john roberts back in reagan -- wethinking, what is would have a better chance of blowing the rights versus privilege argument out of the water, if maybe we had a better inse of who the conspirators
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the 60's and 70's were. where the academics, politicians, or where they are group of guys in a smoke-filled room who said, let us know this voting rights thing down, so we can get it. done in our favor that is my basic question. who were the intellectual structure that the rights and privileges thing was based on? ari: that is a right reason to buy my book. [laughter] i talk about that extensively, in a way that is not easily summarized in 2 minutes. basically, what you had was an alliance between southern conservatives who did not like the act, and northern conservatives, former liberals who became conservatives rightly because of their antipathy toward what they viewed as what the civil rights movement had become in the 1970's. they were trying to rebrand their opposition to civil rights and not seem discriminatory.
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so it was kind of this odd coalition that was able to do it. obviously, there were also a lot of opportunistic politicians who latched onto it and said, we can benefit politically from not doing this. i think you raise a larger question about why have this rights t versus privilege argument? we have a lot of things that you cannot do in our constitution, theoretically. you cannot discriminate against people on the basis of race, prevent women from voting, prevent people from voting if they are over 18. all of these things that you cannot do what yo. but we do not have a line or constitution that says everyone should vote. a lot of countries do, but we don't. our funders, many of whom were slaveholders, made a conscious decision not to do this. and was not like it wasn't debated in the 1970's and 1980's, it was debated.
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they made a conscious decision not to make the right to vote a fundamental right, because it wanted to restrict that right. and we are still living with in many ways, with that history, today. two more questions? ok, that it, sorry. [laughter] i apologize. i am happy to talk afterward. thank you all for coming, thank you c-span, for filming it. [laughter] announcer: c-span, where history daily. in a 1979, it was created as a public service by america's companies.ision today, we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme and public policy events in washington dc and around the country.
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c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. saturday morning at 1030 a.m. eastern, book tv is live at the mississippi book festival for their fourth annual literary lawn party of the state capitol jackson. with a discussions on race and identity, southern history, u.s. politics and residential leadership. authors include sheryl cashin, author of "loving: interracial intimacy in america and the threat to white supremacy." jack davis, with a pulitzer selina zito, book, sticking with former mississippi governor, haley barbour. her book is "the great revolt." joinuthor, frank williams, us live saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. eastern for the mississippi book festival, live on book tv on c-span2.
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senators returned to washington tomorrow after a short and summer recess for continued work on judicial nominations starting at noon eastern. we have live coverage as always on c-span two. body takemay see the up opioid legislation, it water infrastructure bill and an effort to reauthorize the federal aviation administration. senators are reviewing 88,000 pages of recently released records from judge brett kavanaugh's stint working in the house. the supreme court nominee is scheduled to testify before the senate judiciary committee on labor day. senator chuck grassley, the committee chairman says the hearing could last three or four days. you can watch at all live on c-span, or listen live on the free c-span radio app. this afternoon, a panel at the heritage foundation reviewed


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