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tv   Washington Journal Susan Minato  CSPAN  October 2, 2021 12:23pm-1:07pm EDT

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peter canalis, tells us about the great dissenter. >> he dissented in all cases that took away the rights of african-americans because he knew the post-civil war events, that were added to the constitution and ratified as a price of reentry into the union for the south, and ratifying it under the normal process, that was intended to preserve the rights of african-americans. and when his colleagues, for reasons that were very suspicious, basically tried to keep peace with the south -- when they began to retreat from that it was the right of the supreme court to say that this was not really in the constitution and not really what was intended. harland stood up against of that. announcer: peter canalis, sunday night at eddie clock p.m. eastern on q&a.
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you can listen to q&a and all podcasts on our new c-span now app. ♪ announcer: washington journal continues. host: we are back with susan minato, copresident of unite here local 11. she is with us to talk about her recent piece in the nation urging congress to pass the freedom to vote act. susan, good morning. guest: good morning. how are you? host: i am doing just fine. for our viewers, tell us what unite here local 11 is. guest: absolutely. we are unite here, the union name, local 11 designates that a southern california and arizona. we represent about 32,000 people in those areas and our members work in places like hotels, and convention centers, event centers like dodger stadium,
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airports, theme parks and are predominantly women and people of color and immigrants. the kinds of positions we have baristas, bar keeps, cleaners. we have members from all over the world and our international union, unite here international, covers the entire united states and canada. host: you wrote a piece, co-wrote a piece for the nation, that is pushing for a bill called the freedom to vote act. first of all, tell us what the freedom to vote act is and tell us why you thought this piece about your union fighting for the freedom to vote act needed to be written. guest: ok. the freedom to vote act is the newest name of a bill that is in congress that started off, i
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think, called senate 1, passed the house, and then morphed into the four hour freedom act. it has been changed because there has not been agreement on being able to pass it. in the newest iteration, the freedom to vote act, it is really enabled us, for the federal government, to have a little bit of say, to be in the background in case there are inequities that happen in the state. for example, if there were a discriminatory voting law passed in a state, it would allow the federal government to have some purview over that. that is really important to us because, as you know, our voting history in the u.s. has been very up and down. we are very concerned because that is a basic, basic right for
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every person in the u.s. but it is a basic right that must be preserved no matter what is happening. host: susan, you pointed out this is a pared down version of an earlier bill called the for the people act. why is this a pared down version and why didn't the original bill passed and what block to that one? guest: well, you know, it is pared down to some extent but it covers still all of the basic things, like making sure there is not discriminatory gerrymandering and to have full disclosure on donors with one of the earlier pieces that may have dropped off. the most important thing to know -- because there is no detail that will stay exactly the same anyway -- but the important thing to know is that right now
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congress is just, you know, they cannot find agreement on pretty much anything in it right now. senator schumer and nancy pelosi have both really backed the bill in all iterations. really what i think we need at this point is people to realize that is sort of like a higher level kind of bill. it is something that really touches on democracy as opposed to what is happening in any given year in our country. our big hope is that president biden, who has done a fantastic job so far, we would like for him to lean in on this just because this one is super basic. bernovich, which was just
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passed through the courts a few months past, named after the arizona secretary of state, really dismantled parts of the 1965 voting rights act. this is helped to restore part of it. so many things in it are so practical. like make an election day holiday so everyone can vote so working is not a problem. having extended periods of time to vote and make sure everything gets counted. so many things are super practical and not just to the democrat or republican. it applies to everybody. it is kind of like a lot of very practical things in the bill. so it seems like it has become kind of like a i think that is super sad
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because the people of the country need our political leaders to care about democracy and to care that everybody's vote really counts. host: who are you working in congress with to get the bill passed? is it a bipartisan group or only one side? guest: we have tried really hard to be very open-minded. because of the filibuster, people have to work across the aisle. we have primarily worked with democrats mostly because there is enthusiasm from democrats wanting to pass it. there has been little or no enthusiasm with republicans. we have senator schumer who has been extremely responsive and positive about it.
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we have kelly from arizona, many others -- we have senator kelly from arizona and many others. we have been open-minded about wanting to work with others but there is little to no interest from most. host: i want to look at some of the provisions in the freedom to vote act, and i want to talk about why y'all are pushing these. here's some of the provisions. it would make election day a public holiday. it mandates every state have an automatic voter registration. it requires at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections. it cracks down on the spread of misinformation about elections. restores voting rights to formally incarcerated people upon release. bans partisan gerrymandering and protects against unlawful voting purges. those are the key provisions in
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the freedom to vote act. why does election day need to be a public holiday? eedom to vote . why does election day need to be a public holiday? guest: we represent a lot of working-class people. to the employer, election day is just another day. if it were a public holiday, and i don't know the exact percentage, but i think a good percentage of people would be available to go vote because they would not be working. not all businesses close on a public holiday, but a substantial number do we think that would increase voting so we are definitely in favor of that. host: why do we need 15 days of early voting for a federal election? guest: i am not sure if your implication is that is extreme,
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but if you are a working person who sometimes works two jobs, has a few kids, running two different schools, and you're doing the carpooling and making dinner and packing lunches and all of that, a single if you have just if you expend a highly -- if you expanded, you have a higher likelihood they will vote. i think the goal should be to try to get as many people as possible to vote. that is why. host: let me remind our viewers they can take part in this conversation. we will open up our regular lines. republicans, your line is
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202-748-8001. democrats at 202-748-8000. independents, you can call at 202-748-8002. you can always text us at 202-748-8003. we are always reading on social media, twitter, and c-span and on facebook. susan, some people may ask why is a union chapter located in california and arizona talking about voting rights all around the nation. what is your union's concern with national voting rights when you are representing a chapter in southern california and arizona? guest: i am glad you asked that question. we consider ourselves to be expert in the field of voting. part of that reason is because we have been working to turn out
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the vote. that means going to people's doors, that means mailing people information. primarily our expertise is going in -- is in primarily going door to door. we have been doing that since the 90's. we feel we are able to help determine what kind of laws get passed at the city level, the county level, and the state level because of our participation. we started doing that in the 90's. we have continued that in arizona. we have continued that in orange county, california, and we have helped other areas of the country in addition to that. the main thing we learned was in 2018, we helped to elect kyrsten sinema in arizona. in 2020, we flipped arizona to
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the democrats in the 2020 presidential election. that was during the time of the pandemic. we felt confident we could go on the field and talk to voters in a safeway even though covid was raging. we were proud to say that during that period we had more than 500 people going door to door during that time and we had no cases of covid due to our canvassing. we decided we would pick up and go to georgia and help stacey abrams, to help win the runoff basis for ossoff and worn off -- and warnock. number two, the more important point, is that what laws get past -- get passed by elected
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leaders, that is part of democracy. that is the detail of democracy. whether or not there will be equity out there, whether or not there will be representation, whether or not people will be able to make a decent living if they work hard gets affected by laws. that is why we decided it is our constitutional duty and our duty for our membership to push harder. we are looking at broader voting rights as well as laws that affect their day-to-day lives. host: we have to point out that some liberals and progressives are not on board with this bill because they said it does not go far enough. i will read some of their criticism. "the measure has critics who think it does not go far enough to protect voting rights and fair election.
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they note that the bill liens out provisions that would mail ballots to voters and establish financing for elections and allow voter roll purchases to continue. decrease uniform standards for voter id which critics say plays into republican efforts to exaggerate voter fraud and implement id requirements which have a disproportionately negative effect on african-americans, women, and young people. -- latinos, women, and young people." what you say to these people? guest: first i say i agree with them. i would say if we passed the voting rights act i would be thrilled and let's go back and get the rest. host: we will start with kathleen who is calling from
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maryland on the democratic line. good morning. caller: i agree with susan about universal one-day voting or two days, but it has to extend. i am 85 and i was in a situation where lived in baltimore. i don't know who was running. it was people who were supposed to check on people working there , but they were so abusive to that black community. i watched them. i asked them, but they were very disrespectful to the community. i watched them the whole time i was in the line. one-day voting for two days, i am all for it. host: what do you think about that? guest: i am in agreement with
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her. in places like baltimore, we had our sister local in baltimore come out and send some of their members to arizona to help us. because they know some of the abusive tactics on the ground. i agree with her 100%. host: let's talk to david who is calling from englewood, new jersey on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning. i want to make a comment about the voter id and then i will make two comments. black folks can get any id as well as anybody else. one thing i noticed the liberals do is everything they want is radical. they simply don't like the country. it is that simple. everything they do, they say we are fighting for black folks.
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maybe we don't need you to fight for us because most of your policies have helped to destroy the black community. i want to ask about this bill, two provisions. does it have ballot harvesting? does it make that legal? second of all, what about gerrymandering? i live in the district represented by william has brown -- by william brown who has a heart condition and is still running. is that district gerrymandered? my third point, because it is totally gerrymandered. he lives in patterson and they skipped so many times to get to englewood which is heavily democratic. i bet she won't say anything about that. host: go ahead and respond, susan. guest: first, on your point that
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liberals don't love the country, i think liberals do love the country. i personally do. and i love the state of new jersey because that is where i am from. on the issues you're referring to, especially gerrymandering, i don't think anybody who wants a fair election believes that gerrymandering is a good thing, especially when it is discriminatory or it seeks to deprive a good part of the population proper leadership they want. i think with the freedom to vote act does is protect against extreme behavior and discriminatory behavior. i can understand being very angry about the fact that maybe
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somebody has been able to hold the seat for many years. is it from gerrymandering? is it because the person is popular? i don't know the answer to that specific one. participation -- that sounds like you have been looking into the voting rights act and the freedom to vote act, so i commend you. the point is not that we have to agree on everything. the point is that we have things that are fair and equitable to everybody, including republicans and independents and green party and democrats alike. i'm not in favor of something that is just fair for one. host: since this caller brought it up, anything in here about term limits for members of congress were supreme court justices. guest: no.
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host: let's go back to our phone line and talk to diana who is calling from halifax, pennsylvania, on the democratic line. good morning. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. i would like to make a comment about getting any kind of bills passed through congress. i have been closely watching what has been going on in the house and the senate recently. in the senate, especially, it is just a crime what has been going on. the bills that are coming up that are the best for the american people, it is just a power struggle. that is all it is. it does not have anything to do with what is good for the country.
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it is which party is going to win. until the american people start speaking out against this, i don't think much is going to be accomplished. host: go ahead and respond. guest: diana, i could not agree with you more. that is partly why we do the work we do. we want to hold political leaders accountable once we help to get them elected. if they were to really hear from the people, regardless of what party, they would hear that people don't want to see all of the fighting and want to see progress for people, not whether or not it is some game in the congress. to give you an example, we helped to elect kyrsten sinema from arizona in 2018. we had hundreds of people on the
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ground going door to door. the people of arizona, it is a very changing state. that is how we were able to win for the democrats. we were able to win for the democrats for joe biden and kamala harris. she, i don't think is the sending to the arizona people. i don't know why she is doing that and is not in any way helping to move the voting rights act. we are upset by it. i don't know what other goings-on are affecting her support of it and really putting her effort into making it go forward.
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host: there was a poll done in 10 battleground states on the freedom to vote act and i want to read some of the results of that poll. 553 point margin, voters support -- by a 53 point margin, policies that were in the voters right act -- support for the policies crossed party lines with a strong majority of democrats, 95% support to 2% opposed, republicans, 55% support to 34% opposed, and independents, 71 percent support to 20% oppose. do you think there will be any action in congress soon pushing this forward or is it stuck in the political mess that is our
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congress right now? guest: i am afraid it will be stuck. the filibuster sounds on its face like it is a really important protective mechanism. we are in local 11 a student of reverend james lawson who was the architect of nonviolent direct action with martin luther king. he has been historian related to the filibuster. he has told us, and it is in history books as well, that the filibuster was really started to keep suppressing the vote, especially the black vote at that time. once again, the filibuster is
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being used in the same way, not targeted solely at black people but targeted mostly for people of color. it is being used in the same way. i fear you're stuck in the morass, is probably right. everything is about political gain. it is kind of sad but we have no intention to stop fighting. host: we are seeing a lot of comments on social media asking about voter id. i want to read you one of my comments and then read something from the washington examiner. "only citizens should vote and everyone needs to present a photo id and mat signatures.
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that will preserve our democracy. it is a privilege to be informed on issues and vote." in the washington examiner, christopher writes this, "democrats try to spin voter id into a race issue because that is what they do when they like reasons for their positions and decisions. they claim many black people like the transportation to get an id yet they have those funds and transportation to get to a polling location. how is that supposed to work? ids are needed for every aspect of daily life for the rich and the poor. they are required to apply for welfare benefits to borrow money or to buy or rent a home." where are we in voter ids in this bill? guest: i think the controversy around voter id is that in the
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context of what was happening, meaning we cannot get a basic voting rights bill act passed -- putting rights bill passed, having election day be a holiday , in the context of the most basic rights being blocked, then a voter id looks suspiciously like it is another impediment. i don't have every detail around what is being set on the voter id the second. but i think that is part of the difficulty, being questioned because of timing and in relation to everything else going on. host: let's talk to wes who is calling from washington on the republican line. good morning. caller: good morning.
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i think the democrats are lost. like you just said, you have got to show your id for everything. they are lost, they are trying to pull this crab over your eyes -- this crap over your eyes. pull your head out and watch the brown stuff off of your neck. like i said, i have to show id for everything and they don't? give me a break. that is all i have to say. host: go ahead and respond to wes. guest: like i said earlier, if that were the real issue, then i think it could be dealt with. the real issue is that the post -- the most basic of the voting rights are being oppressed. we can choose voter id is a hot
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button and people can get angry about that one issue, but it is in the context of really smashing other pieces of other people's voting rights. i don't want to engage in a discussion related to one tiny little element. i think it is fair to engage in
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and >> she said it is a suspicious impediment for voter suppression to have ids. wouldn't it be like an impediment for vaccine if you needed an id for vaccines and they were wanting to get everybody vaccinated, wouldn't that go along the same lines? guest: what i meant by that comment is a lot of people are really hung up on voter id.
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but what is happening is there are a number of issues all at once that we are dealing with. if everything were put into place that made things more equal, like you said, holiday, illegal purchase of the ballot roles, two week early voting, if those were already in place, then it would be simpler to talk about voter id. i don't think people would feel as suspicious about it because it is just sort of a hot button right now. that is what i meant by that. host: one of our social media followers wants to know why this is even before congress at all. "voting laws are state's responsibilities. next to constitutional ignorance, none of this is the federal government's business. why are you pushing this at the federal level and are you also pushing these at the state
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level? guest: part of what the voting rights act of 1965 did was to allow for the government to intervene if there were bad or illegal actions. if there was a discriminatory law that legislature might pass, the federal government would have some purview to jump in. they would not always jump in but they could. it would restore some of that. i will give you a good example in arizona. on the last day of the legislature, the arizona legislature passed a bill that
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along with those to a third party group, chosen by the legislators themselves. to me, that seems like an invasion of privacy. that seems like a real problem in our age, where sometimes you are asked to corroborate your own identification based on the last four digits of your social security number. i think it subjects you to hacking, so that was to pacify arizona. that doesn't seem like a really smart thing to do, and i think they are facing lawsuits related to it. so a lawsuit, per se, is an intervention by another body for
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the wrong action. in this case, i think that is a really smart thing. it related to the arizona state voting rights? yes it is. did they cross a line? it would seem so. voters may agree they crossed a line and may go to court. court, in that case, is an outside way to protect yourself if a state legislature is doing something wrong. that is similar to the way the voting rights act is, for the freedom to vote act is. it is to enable an outside group to come in in the event that voters are being the subject of, you know, may be inappropriate behavior by the state legislature. but it does not take the state voting rights -- i'm sorry, the state election rights away from the state. host: before we run out of time, i want to ask you about --
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attend general question, but i want to ask you about members of your union. using your article that 90% of your members lost their jobs last spring. how is the employment situation for the union going now? how are your members doing? guest: getting a little better. we are up to 50% right now, and it is still pretty rough going, because the convention centers were the businesses hit hardest, so that's conventions coming into a city. that drives a lot of other kinds of business, restaurant business, etc. we are still down a good number of people. so, it's rough going.
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we passed some laws to help avoid a recall of governor newsom, and recently signed a recall bill. many city entities and county entities passed the same, which is helping a little bit. people who have been around for a long time in their jobs are being recalled back, but sometimes employers abuse it too, they want to call back people who they don't want to come back or they bring in new people. so it's tricky, with everything going on, but as long as people continue to get vaccinated, we believe the business will come back soon. host: let's talk to tina, calling from kansas city, missouri on the democrat line. good morning. caller: good morning.
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i was calling because i like everything that you all stand for and what you are doing, because my concern was with in arizona, taking machines and getting all the information, i think the federal government needs to be involved in all that. that is not just the republican information, that is democrats, independents, everybody. it's not fair, it shouldn't be happening, and just because they have the control of the legislature doesn't mean you can go and look through people's voting, who they voted for, where they live, where their names are at. that is something that needs to be stopped and stopped immediately. guest: i couldn't agree with you more. the cyber ninjas have experience with this kind of audit, and in
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arizona, we have nicknamed it the fraudit. the secretary of state was vigilant about it and saw that they were interfering with the voting machines themselves, so i think she has chosen for the integrity of the future of voting to throw out all those machines, because she feared possible tampering, i believe. you know, i think if i started up a business and i wanted to do this kind of work, i think it would not be appropriate. that's what the cyber ninjas seem to be like, an organization that does not have a lot of experience with government work. but any third party like that, we do not know their true experience and bona fide to be able to do that type of thing. it does concern me, and that's
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why the law passed in arizona that allows for those kinds of third parties to get the last four digits of boat or social security numbers in addition to voter information, you know, that's a real problem. > we would like t -- host: we would like to thank susan minato, on her article, and the copresident of united local 11. thank you for being with us this morning. discussing your piece, urging congress to pass the freedom to vote act. guest: thank you very much. host: we would like to thank our callers, guests and social media followers for being with us on "washington journal." keep washing your hands, stay safe, everyone, and have a great saturday. ♪
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