NOW   |  August 13, 2013

North Carolina passes voter ID law

North Carolina just became the first state to pass a voter ID law since the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. Business Insider’s Josh Barro, the Grio’s Joy-Ann Reid, The New York Times’ Frank Bruni, and New York Magazine’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells join NOW with Alex Wagner to discuss.

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

>>> supreme court struck down section 4 of the voting rights act , on monday north carolina became the first state in the country to pass into law sweeping voter restrictions. the state's republican governor signed the bill into law in a private ceremony with no cameras. he later explained his decision on youtube .

>> let me be direct. many of those from the extreme left who have been criticizing photo i.d. are using scare tactics . they're more interested in divisive politics than ensuring that no one's vote is disenfranchised by fraudulent balanceant.

>> to be clear it's the governor who is doing the disenfranchisement, it cuts early voting by a week, eliminates same-day voters registration, ends preregistration for 16 and 17-year-olds, and starting in 2016 requires voters to show a government-issued i.d. before they can cast a vote. the law was immediately challenged in the court and also criticized by hillary clinton , who offered her most --

>> legislators in north carolina have pushed through a bill that reads like the greatest hits of voter suppression . in 2013 so far, more than 80 bills restricting voting rights have been -- not every obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem must not be paying attention.

>> clinton describes the threat of voter fraud as a fannen epidemic, a fact born out by the fact that among the nearly 7 million ballots cast last year there were only 121 cases of potentially voters fraud, less than 1/100 of 1%. while the administration has yet to respond to the passage, the legislation was discussed at a white house meeting with civil rights leaders last month. eric holder announce the last month that voter --

>> my colleagues and i are determined to use every tool at our disposal to stan iismgts joining me today josh barrow. managing editor and joy reid. columnist for "new york times" frank bruini, and contribute are editor at "new york" magazine benjamin wallace wells. i want to say the name, over and over and over again hi also had an editorial in the observer in which he said, even in the instances of misidentified people casting votes or law, that shouldn't prevent us putting this burdensome safeguard in place. two things i have to say about that. 318,000 now, and two admitting that nobody's been robbed here. this is as hillary suggests, a phantom epidemic.

>> and how crank out for the governor. you wouldn't want anybody asking but it, but i think that's emblematic of what governors mike mckrory are doing. they are passing really unpopular legislation be sides just this. and then passing.

>>> let's just put that in there as well. the idea -- and keep in mind, getting rid of early voting , cutting it down by five days. in the 2012 election, democrats were doing really well in early votes. early vote is where democrats tend to do the best. you directly impact african-american and young voters.

>> in his dramatically courageous youtube experience.

>> i'm glad you mentioned that.

>> he calls it extreme left care tactics. yet tame is unwilling to face the public, and have the debate, admitted he didn't know about certain parts.

>> when he says extreme left , what he's saying is when you look at some of the components, they don't look that burdensome, but where it becomes suspicious is almost everyone is connected. that's why he is on youtube as opposed to a press conference, because he doesn't want to address that criticism.

>> a comment here, josh, is that 56% of north carolinians voted early in 2012 . this voters suppression stuff will affect conservatives, republicans, people of all stripes. but to say that some of this isn't going to be just affecting the democrats is a wild sort of over simplification, and actually may come from the republic who did a numerical analysis . i think both overestimate, what cohen found, he thought about 40% of the people who voted, but don't possess the kind of idea actually voted to romney. what that means is this kind of law would only improve a republican's margin by about 0.3. percent.

>>> but to push back on that a bit, romney won north carolina by 912,000 votes, and i think a quarter of that, and we are talking about 318,000 votes --

>> no we're only talking about a net margin of 30,000 votes, actually.

>> but i think remember, north carolina is officially one of those sweet states. so the problem is you're affecting the very people who could flip that state in a presidential election .

>> there's something more going on clash the voting calculus. this issue really rallies the base. that's why you see had beillary clinton coming out on it.

>> i want to talk about that. at a pla is called the grio, perry bacon writes the decision to make the first policy speech illustrates how an issue that had been largely twined on outside liberal activist or extreme left -wingers has now become one of the central causes of key democratic leaders.

>> and i think hillary clinton and the rest of the democrats would love for it to continue to be one. i think it lacked that kind of urgency, the activist base, the people that you just described are also people who went to work for barack obama and helped swing the election. for me there's another interesting component, which is eric holder , who you mentioned a minute ago. he's been at the center of progressive complaints about the -- now he has a chance to redeem himself a bit. we saw it yesterday, him coming out with this push against mandatory minimums, now with a chance to move ahead, it's like a real tipping point that is possible for holder's legacy over the next year or two.

>> we're going to talk about the question of race, and in a bit, but to the point of the obama coalition and hillary 's appeal to the obama coalition, i will read an excerpt from "the washington post " shawn sullivan says -- clinton can afford to keep a low public profile, but she simply can't be a nonfactor on the big issues of the day. voting rights is one, a topic over which she could begin to make her case.

>> yeah, i think it's fascinating, back in 2007 , 2008 , the big divide that hillary clinton and barack obama were trying to divide up the african-american votes, and it flipped dramatically to barack obama , and it sort of accelerated, but hillary has to reestablish herself because of the math. when you had the minority vote share go up to 28% in 2012 , where it had been 26% in 2008 , that means it's going up about 2.5% every four years. so that's the way you secure the presidency, she has to weigh in.

>> and lets republicans continue to talk urmts and they're doing thick like this that literally push the it overboard. their explanation is that they just need to drive up a larger share of the older white folk.

>> frank, to the clinton piece, we will all remember bill clinton was, quote/unquote the first black president --

>> until we actually had one.

>> as we do now.

>> and there was a moment in the 2008 where clinton compared obama to jesse jackson , and i think there was a real schism within the democratic party . certainly the clintons were deeply upset at the idea that this would have been a racially loaded comments given clinton 's relationship to the black community. so in many ways hillary coming out of the gates with this as her first statement i'm not saying this is the mea culpa --

>> it's a smart bit of focus, but what ben said about urgency is important. she's engaged in real time with the day. i think her greatest enemy is the notion of the inevitability of entitlement and she's just going to coast in. i think you'll see her doing a lot of specific speeches. i'm not just waiting for this to fall into my lap.

>> i will note, josh, hill re's next speech will be in philadelphia on transparency and national security . which is -- i mean, can i say the word ballsy on tv? i just did. given where we are on those two topics how difficult it is to parse the issues of civil liberties for people on both the right and the left, and her involvement as secretary of state, the benghazi stuff.

>> there's new evidence there. it is a pretty incendiary topic.

>> i think it's a surprising choice. this is a needle that the president has been trying to threat and not very well. we saw in his press conference last week, the president welcomes the discussion of these issues, but not really. so it should be an issue i think more than any other right now that the president's base is displeased. will hillary going to try to get to his left? i'm surprised that she's broaching the issue. it's a minefield for her. she doesn't want to pick a fight with the president. to have hillary out there. i mean, this is going to be the interesting thing about the second term is that you have obviously a campaign gearing up even earlier than usual and the former secretary of state talking about interesting that the president is still grappling with.

>> and much easier to address those issues than from inside of it. i think the progressive mind-set on national security is not totally foreign yet. i think a lot of people are looking for some guidance on what should progressives think about this nexus of protection of people from terrorism and protection of civil liberties . i think one thing that hillary clinton has a chance to do here is establish herself as exactly the kind of character she wasn't able to play in the last election, as somebody who is kind of a loadstock.

>> and i guarantee there will be some televisions tuned to that address at 1600 pennsylvania