MHP   |  October 27, 2012

First day of early voting in Florida marks victory for voting rights

Melissa Harris-Perry shifts to "This Week in Voter Empowerment," to talk about early voting in Florida.

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

>>> it assumes power only works one way. as we've told you before, voters are not victims. for every effort to restrict the vote, there has been an empowered counter effort to expand it. and those on the side of democracy right now are winning which is why today we need to make a slight change in this week in voter suppression to tell you about this week in voter empowerment. volters decided to. starting today, as you can see from the video, just this morning, the first day of early voting in florida. reverend al sharpton .

>>> tell me what you mean by that?

>> that was a slightly taken out of context sentence. what i actually said, if -- when voter suppression becomes apparent and we're doing a very good job of moderating it, we have been successful of coming down an stopping it. the best exam of of this is where we were a year ago. across the country, state legislators were imposing laws that restricted the rights to vote. the civil rights community along with the voters who did their own job in ref wren da and the department of justice and we've blocked and blunted some of that. now we've been seeing acts of suppression. you just mentioned the incorrect mailers. people were on it. it's getting fixed. in virginia it said you can vote by telephone. it got corrected. the websites were wrong in pennsylvania. civil rights community were on it. it got corrected. there are thousands of people operating nonpartisan numbers that people can call in the they have questions.

>> i hear the advancement project is planning the have 3,000 or mo folks on the ground. what i've been hearing is there will be 1 million true the voters on the ground. they're trying to do election protection against fraud. my concern is are we outgunned. we're talking about the money. ben is still stamping his dollars. we're talking about the money being out spent previously. are we outgunned in this?

>> we may be.

>> there's going to be a civil rights rain of fire!

>> i'm getting texts right now from my very dear friend who is on the ground in palm beach doing voter protection. he's worried about the provisional ballots , absentee ballots and misprints. he's also worried about the voters who are out there perhaps protecting against voter fraud , but also perhaps supporting voter suppression . between the massive influx of spending and the outbreak of voter suppression , it's good to say good ordinary people , republicans, democrats, this is a moment to stand up to protect just the act of our democracy.

>> i appreciate you said -- you did say outmatched, not outgunned. i don't mean to say that people are coming armed. if there's a question about being outmatched, just more folks. the kind of intimidation tactics we've seen. the billboards in ohio saying this is a felony are meant to direct towards very specific populations. when you start hearing rumors that it's a felony if there's voter fraud , yes, that's true. but the likelihood -- you're not going to be arrested if you go to try to vote in the wrong precincts, right, accidentally. i am waiting. i want the republicans to stand up. i want them to say we do not support voter suppression . we want to win, we want to beat president obama . we want to take the house and senate but don't want to do it by stealing it. is there any possibility we can get a buy partisan effort to push back voter suppression ?

>> nobody is going to support the idea of voter suppression . it's a difference of how we see it. are we talking about that there should be some uniform id that we talked about that the bipartisan committee has talked up, talking about a paper trail , cleaning up the list.

>> we're talking about, we're saying you should not try time plemt the end of early voting just before an election. you should not try to purge actual citizens from the roles. you shouldn't put up suppressive billboards in black and brown community, not sending out flyers with the wrong date.

>> reasonable people can agree on that. are you talking about don't purge them from the roles because they're registered to vote in three other states? that's where i think people -- we want to encourage everybody who is eligible to vote to vote.

>> the fact is they're not going to cast their vote in three states. they're not going to get on a plane and go to three different states and cast three different votes. and the idea that one should be disenfranchised because you didn't purge yourself when you moved --

>> that's the election board's responsibility.

>> that's also not the real world example. the real world example you want to talk about is what happened in florida and colorado where we had secretary of states inflate the number of people supposedly not eligible and they used bad matching criteria, used outdated lists and scared people into believing that there were lots of noncitizens on the roles.

>> and they used latino last names as a way --

>> asking them to fight for it.

>> right. show it and fight for it. you know we're not going to leave this topic in nerd land. i am going to say thank you to lesley sanchez and myrna perez. ben and valerie are going to stay around. i want to make the case for keeping college like it is but also talk to those who want to reinvent college. [ female announcer