Meet the Press   |  April 13, 2014

Roundtable: The Voting Rights Debate

The Meet the Press political roundtable talks about the ongoing debate over Voting Rights in America and how both parties are approaching the issue.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> there's another big issue coming up for the fall and it's a filt over voting and voting rights and access to voting. we're marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the civil rights act under president johnson and at the lbj library the president and first lady were there. the former president speaking as well. the president, congressman edwards, was strong on this point on efforts to restrict voting. here is what he said.

>> vote is not a democratic issue or a republican issue. it's an issue of citizenship. whats mak it's what makes our democracy strong. but it's a fact this recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both parties. it's been led by the republican party .

>> pretty tough charge, backed up " washington post " in the last 15 months at least nine states have enacted laws, voting changes, making it harder to cast ballots despite very little evidence of voter fraud out there.

>> very little evidence. almost no evidence of voter fraud , and i think these states have reacted to a political agenda that's about taking away people's right to vote, access to the polls. i think it's backed up by a supreme court that's done great damage to the voting rights act . republicans still holding onto a bill that they won't bring to the floor that actually could restore those protections, and i think the president is dead on on this one and we're not going to go into november with people not understanding the restrictions that are being placed on their right to vote.

>> kara, as you look out, you look at politics around the country at the grassroots level. it could be about marriage equality . it could be about just pure access to voting. this is not looking at 50 years ago. it's looking by your ability to vote today. how powerful is the issue?

>> you know, it will be interesting because i think one of the groups in this election that's very important is, again, young people , young women especially, and how they get access to information and how they vote and all kinds of things around politics. i think what's interesting is how you reach those voters and how you empower them to do different things. i think more about how voting is going to be in 10 years, in 15 years. the voting rights act , no matter how you slice it, is one of the greatest pieces of legislation in our history. the question is how are we going to change voting. we're talking about bitcoin or currency. all these things will change drastically. it will be interesting around vote something is how voters become empowered using the phones and digital means because --

>> vote something a very interesting question. it's now done in some small --

>> we're going to do it, period.

>> it's going to come in time and it will increase turnout. also in primaries. which more the --

>> but what if this were a conversation about how we expand voting and voting protection but what's going on in the country right now is about how to take those rights away.

>> you do expand it because you give access to people in a different way. think about swipe left, swipe right. it could be an interesting thing.

>> if voter i.d. were about voter disenfranchisement why was african-american turnout greater in 2012 ? it has had zero affect on turnout.

>> because people were angry and decided to exercise their right to vote.

>> that's the point. this is about voter mobilization. this is about playing to the identity politics of democrats who fear --

>> but isn't the opposite true as well? if that's true, isn't the opposite true, that if you're in a state where you want to discourage that same demographic from coming out, you try to raise the bar to what it takes to actually be able to vote?

>> it could be, and it may be the motivation of some republicans. there is no evidence that it does that at all, and i think you want to make sure that the franchise is protected by making sure it is actually --

>> can i ask -- provocative idea coming out this week, andy young, civil rights leader, former ambassador to the united nations , had an idea of issuing social security cards with your picture on it. former president bill clinton thought it was a good idea. the president is taking it under advisement. is it a good idea?

>> that will be the debate. you get your groceries delivered. amazon is going to bring drones some day and i think they will actually, but the idea is how do you then create a voting environment that's easier for people to use, the way they use other services. that will be really interesting is how you identify yourself in a digital sense and then get to vote and get to do all kinds of civic things and bring them together in an easy way . everyone is going to have these smartphones no matter their economic situation.

>> i think it's a plot by life lock . if you're going to flash your social security everywhere, it's miracle-gro for