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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  October 15, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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inside story is next. you would like the latest information from all the stories we've covered in this news hour we invite you to head on over to our website. www.aljazeera.com. www.aljazeera.com. see you back here in an hour's time. lap >> texas' new i.d. rules for voters will be allowed to stand. the court said it's too close to election day to change it. in wisconsin the exact opposite. the court said it's too close to election day to allow new rules to go into effect. confused? that's why we're here. that's inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. we're just a few weeks away from the midterm elections but the
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dust has not settled in state by state battle over what you have to carry in the polls to prove you're you. when indiana's i.d. law made it to the supreme court of the united states, the justices ruled there is no clear evidence that demonstrating that those laws harm voters. those who push to change voter i.d. requirements in state after state say that the measures are meant to prevent voter fraud. what those same legislature has not provided is the evidence that voter fraud happens very much. but sponsors of the legislation say that the evidence is sparse not because fraud doesn't occur but because it's rarely investigated or prosecuted. voter i.d. and the changing voter land cape is our focus this time on "inside story." as midterm elections loom, rules on stricter i.d. laws have
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volleyed back and forth. in a form of poll tax intended to discriminate she wrote that the court holds that the law creates an unconstitutional burden in the right to vote, and has an impermissible discriminatory effect against hispanics and african-americans. this week the story was put on hold for the fifth circuit saying there is not enough time to retrain election workers. unless the supreme court steps in, this law will be infect in texas on election day. it reduces the types of i.d. at the polls. licenses and gun permits are okay but student i.d.es are not. republicans supporting the law say it is critical from stopping voter fraud. that case opponents say is
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unfounded. >> it's always the same argument. voter fraud that they're unable to produce but the fear of voter fraud. >> wisconsin is going through a similar battle over its new voter i.d. law. the state legislature passed new rules on eligible i.d.s. opponents say the law will directly impact many minorities and low income voters who don't have valid i.d.s. u.s. attorney general eric holder spoke out on the issue in june. >> by restricting access and decreasing voter participation laws such as those in wisconsin would shrink rather than expand access to the franchise. this is inconsistent. not only with our history but with our ideals as a nation. a nation founded on the principle that all citizens are entitled to equal opportunity, equal representation, and equal rights. >> last week the supreme court ordered a block on wisconsin's new law also citing a lack of time to train poll workers.
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>> with such a short period before the election it could wreak havoc. >> an estimated 300,000 wisconsinites don't have valid photo i.d.s to be eligible to vote under the new law. in texas, more than 600 registered voters will be impacted, and those hurt will disproportionate will be people of color. >> the race to impose or challenge new voter i.d. regulations as we march closer to election day this time on the program. in ohio, north carolina, wisconsin and others states have hesitated in imposing new higher bars to the voting booth. giant texas looks prepared to put it's new law into full effect. joining us to talk about the battles over voter i.d. from you washington, president of rock the vote, an organization which works to build political power
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for young voters. from new york, windy wiser, director from the democracy program at nyu's school of law. the center is representing the texathose in the texas law. welcome to all of you. horace, let me start with you. what does it tell you that appellate courts have looked at different ways of the same set of issues? are we far from being of one mind of how to proceed? >> i guess it tell us that we're far from an unified position. but we do know what the ultimate outcome is because the court has already looked at this in 2008, and has answered that question. and the real question is what new statutes or old statutes will people identify as their
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way of getting around that indiana ruling by the supreme court. that was 6-3, by the way. >> wendy wiser, does the ruler give anyone who is on your side of the question a tougher road forward? >> actually the indiana ruling was a very narrow ruling, and doesn't apply to this new species of idea ideologue in texas and wisconsin that we're talking about today. these laws are being challenged under a variety of provisions including that they're discriminatory on the basis of race. that's what we found in texas. the court held that the law was actually passed for the purpose of discriminating against certain groups of voters, and making it harder for them to participate. the fact that the indiana decision was very limited and to the record. and the facts on the case on the broader claim of voter right to vote in these cases. >> on the indiana indication,
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correct me if i'm wrong, part of the you that these laws do not harm the voters. in the case of texas the lower appellate court did find that they had discriminatory purpose in these laws. but that at the higher appellate level they didn't find that. is this at the supreme court to be decided once and for all? >> the supreme court then asked to reverse the you fifth circuit ruling. the district court blocked the law and the fifth circuit did not actually say that the circuit court decision was wrong in any way. they just blocked it because it was too close to the election, they said. but they felt that that might cause confusion. we actually think there is going to be greater confusion were
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trying to implement such a sweeping and sweeping law for the first time before a major federal election at this time. >> horace cooper, what are these laws for? >> well, the purpose of these laws are part of the legislature's responsibilities to see to it that the constitutional right that they have to layout the election rules are carried out in a way that brings confidence in the minds of the citizens of that community as well as the state legislature as well. blackhawks, whites,s browns, america supports this between 60 and 70%. >> what is the law for? >> well, a lot of people-- >> as i said, the purpose of the law is to provide the kind of assurance that the legislation has to carry out election rules
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that they're going to be carrying in a fair, above board process that is free from the kinds of concerns that a lot of americans identify. they say one of their biggest reasons for not participating is that they don't believe that their vote will count and this measure, when they're told about it, encourages them to go in and participate because it means that their vote will be more meaningful. >> wendy wiser, go ahead. >> we can all agree that it's important to protect the integrity of our election. but we should agree that we should not make it harder for hundreds of thousands of citizens to participate. there is absolutely no evidence that these particular new restrictions increase confidence in elections in any way. in fact, there have been political science studies to that effect. a lot has changed since the indiana decision in 2008. that was wherever any of these laws were put in affect. now there are a lot more effects
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that warrant that were not available to the courts. 600,000 eligible and registered citizens in text currently don't have any i.d.s that would be accepted if this law is allowed to go into affect in this election. that's 600,000 people. 300,000 in wisconsin. these are huge numbers. we have seen recent studies come up from the government accountability office showing that these new strict i.d. laws, which have never been put in place before, these are much different than the i.d. laws that people are used to. >> we'll talk about the efforts to get people those credentials that are found to be wanting at the moment, but i want to bring in ashley spilane. you work on behalf of first time voters. you say this will both encourage and discourage them. which is it. >> we find it to be discouraging. this is a very complicated situation made even more examine complicated by all the recent
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developments. these laws across the country, not just the i.d. laws, are all specifically targeted at reducing turn out amongst young people and people of color. and it is really disconcerting. we are outthere on the front lines fighting to protect young people's right to vote and to participate. it is an opportunity as a country to encourage participation. reducing the number of people who are eligible to participate is not going to encourage greater participation. >> it's a widespread rite of passion to get a driver's license in much of the country. barring the access to a driver's license, a lot kids go and get state i.d. that looks like a driver's license license because they want to be able to drink once they're legally able to do
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that. they need to show who they are from time to time. who are these kids who don't have any form of government-issued photo i.d.? >> well, in urban areas in the country where you don't need a driver's license people use public transportation. people who can't afford to go out and spend money on either identification. kids say if i need an i.d. to drink or travel, i should be able to have it for voting. but that's not what voting is about. it's free and fair access to everyone. not just people who choose to get identification to participate in the voting activity. >> we'll have more from "inside story" on al jazeera america. we'll take a closer look at age, class, of i.d. registration. stay with us.
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>> welcomic i'm ray suarez. the battles over voter i.d. laws are heading down to the wire as we approach election day. will the zero tolerance eliminate rarely--will leaving laws alone give us election results that can't be trusted? wendy weiser let me bring you back in at this point. there were states that were in the vanguard of passing these new requirements.
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have they been an election or two now that we can look at the results and see what worked and what didn't work? >> you know, we have seen recently results of the government accountability office just issued a report looking at the impact in a new strict i.d. requirements in kansas and in tennessee. in both case it is found a marked decrease in voter turn out attributable to those strict photo i.d. requirements. it's important to keep in mind the i.d. requirements and the i.d. requirements. the new environment requirements that we're seeing in wisconsin, texas, kansas, these are not the i.d.s that we've been using for years. these are much more restrictive, and provide no opportunity for voters who don't have limited forms of i.d. to find another way of identifying themselves.
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as judge richard posner one of the leading conservative injurist and one of the judges who upheld in the seventh circuit court of appeal indiana said these laws are more restrictive. they're not justifiable. they're impacting votes for no good reason. >> i covered the pennsylvania voter i.d. case at some length. it's interesting that the government there was willing to keep revising and moving the target in order to make the law stick. they really wanted to get those new laws into place, and with each new impediment they would say, all right, we'll send around moving vans. we'll send people into neighborhoods. we'll bus people into places to get their photos taken. what was billed as a
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money-saving measure in some instances ended up putting the state on the hook for potentially millions of dollars before the law didn't go into effect. it's hard to see--you talked earlier about the validity of the vote and restoring confidence, i don't think there is anybody who disagrees with that. >> i do, but go on. >> there has to be some suspicion that it's being broken in the first place in order to make sure that you stamp this standard into place, to make sure it's not being violated. >> that's a made-up standard, and i would love it if that was the standard if they stood at the door of the united states capitol or state legislatures across the country who said let's not have this new law because we have not demonstrated that it's even being violated. the truth is let's take something like felony kidnapping, a federal offense. there are fewer than half a
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dozen federal offense as year in each state. if that was an argument that because there are so few that we shouldn't have that particular crime. let's take income fraud prosecutions. yet they are fewer than a thousand in a year. nationwide. let's talk about the big bank fraud that we saw american people have to bail out the banks for, there haven't even been a dozen prosecutions from all of that, is that really the standard that we're supposed to be living by that if we only see a few of these things happening, we need to go ahead on and shove that out the door. that's not the standard. that's never been the standard. the bigger point is this, there are a lot of criticisms that i hear that are kind that should be presented to a lawmaker, not to the courts. these are policies apartments, not legal questions. >> well, since you credited me
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with inventing a standard, i will point out that i didn't invent tax fraud, which goes on and has gone on since there have been taxes. kidnapping, which has gone on since time immemorial since that was the way people got married, frankly, and the idea that these things only--because they happen rarely there shouldn't be laws against them. i don't think either of us believe that is true. >> i hear that all the time. >> in order to pass a law that puts the state on the hook sometimes for an entire institutional remake in order to get these heavily-impacted populations i.d.s, well, doesn't there have to be a predicate? reason in the first place to pass a law like this? >> when i was a kid the county that i lived in banned paper bags and told us to go to plastic bags. now it's let's ban the plastic
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bags and go back to the paper bags. the policies are important to hear. my organization, the national center, sent to the justice department, we asked them to send election openers to new orleans, to wisconsin, milwaukee, we asked them to go to philadelphia. we sent seven places where we identified media reports that were current and asked them to investigate, to see to it that election fraud was not occurring. they said no. they did not send those people, and they were unconcerned about that, but this policy issue they're concerned about. it is all about who's ox is getting gored. it appears what we want to say is that this does not help democrats. this does help republicans. now we have johnny come lately when a partisan advantage appears, that's something that the courts are supposed to get
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involved in. that's absolutely not something that the courts should get involved in. >> well, ashley spillane, how do you respond to these laws? can you help young voters negotiate them as we move closer to election day? >> we're trying to. they're tough, and the courts going back and forth are not helping anything right now. our mission is to build political power for young people. we are nonpartisan. we do not care what party you are voting for. we just want to make sure that young people's right to vote is protected, and that they have access to all information that they need, and so right now our main focus on this election is making sure that they have up-to-date information despite a changing frequently at this point to make sure that people have what they need to go to the polls. it is disappointing to us to
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continue to see evidence that people will be disenfranchised by these stricter laws, and to have them continue in the system, but we're optimistic about encouraging young people to persevere and fight. >> we'll be back on "inside story" after a short break. this story is far from over even as states head to election day. will appears and maybe a trip to the supreme court many that voting in california won't differ from voting in texas or michigan, stay with us.
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>> we're back on notice story.on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. people don't vote in oh more than one state. at least they should not be voting in more than one state so there is no issue of confusion for any one voter as it is hitting one target. inevitably people will show up
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at the polls, places they've voted for decades, and not be allowed to vote. we go to our panelists ashy spillane, and wendy w e weise r and horace--wendy, you heard once we pass the threshold of bringing partisanship in the conversation, and it was felt that it was meant to reduce the youth vote. is this in your view an attempt to shake the electorate? passing these laws in various states around the country? >> the think a lot of concern here is overpoliticians
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manipulating the rules of their game for their own political benefit. before i discuss that i want to push back on what i think it was a troubling point that horace made before the break comparing laws restricting voting to laws banning paper bags. there is a real fundamental difference there, and that is our fundamental constitutionally protected right to vote. that is something that courts are charged with protecting, courts should not be coming in and policing every policy issue, but if a law i a impermissibly interferes are that core right, that is a critical role that court have and have been playing in our system. >> two data points. one, in rural communities all across america people without transportation find that it is harder for them to get access. they tend to be overwhelmingly
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white and higher age middle age or older. yet, there has been no movement afoot to see to this that's those people get the election access justice they deserve because they don't vote the way people want them to. two, gerrymandering, for over 40 years the congress of the united states has controlled by one particular party largely by politicians manipulating the election process as a way to do it. in my state, and i'll rap up, in my state, that's texas, when the legislature finally got control and attempted to reset the rules so they could recognize that this state is a red state, not a blue state, and it should have a majority of its members representing that in congress, the progressives and opponents of this process came out and said wait, wait, wait don't do that. again, it's whose ox is getting
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gord and not political protection. >> since this came out years ago talked about elderly voters period, not ones that voted for republicans or democrats, they tend to have less access no matter what color they are or what party they are registered in. >> no national effort is made to guarantee that there are more polling sites that are closer. it's only when it serves this useful purpose to claim that parvule new jersey groups are targeted. i would love to hear about the states where black and latinos actually voted in lower numbers after this occurred now that we've had six years since that decision came down. >> we have very short time left, ashley, will you be able to get your voters out? the people that you want to create a habit of voting. because we know you're more
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likely to vote in your 03's than in's. >> we have amazing partners. many have turned out to what, inspire young people to actually show up this year and participate in the election. over 5 million people viewed it in the first week. we're optimistic that people are fired up about this election and we'll show up to make sure that their voices are heard, and insure that people they're electing are not having the opportunity to change the rules to keep themselves in office. >> ashley spillane, thank you. that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. in washingtoner i'm ray suarez. . >> coming up on 6:00 p.m. nurse on al jazeera america. the second nurse to be diagnosed with ebola in the u.s. is taken to one of the top facilities in the nation to be treated for infectious diseases. we'll have the top news on the
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