The Reid Report   |  April 02, 2014

New wave of voting restrictions sweeps the US

MSNBC.com’s Zachary Roth and Democratic strategist, Tara Dowdell discuss the future of voting in America, including what these new voting restrictions could mean for voters in elections in 2014 and 2016.

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

>>> voting rights advocates won a huge victory yesterday. the scott administration's attempt to personal potentially eligible voters from the roles just two months before the republican state primaries was illegal. the state had originally tried to drop 11,000 voters that turned out -- 85 voters who were ultimately dropped. according to the "new york times," nine states have passed laws making it harder to vote since the beginning of last year. democrats are gearing up to fight back against this new wave of voting restrictions that are sweeping the country by turning the republicans tactics against them. the republicans will not just push back, but use the vote to go on the offense. including court challenges, like the case in florida, an attempt to push new federal legislation and voter registration drive led by bill clinton . it's all a big drive to limit voting since republicans swept state houses in 2010 and got back up on the restrictions from the supreme court . all this begs the question, if the republicans are so confident about retaking the senate, making gains in the house, and holding on to their swing state governor ships, why where they trying so hard to stop people from voting? if the obama is going on the victory lap after enrollment sure passed -- just a half hour from now, the president will visit the vital -- joining me now to discuss all of this, is zack roth, national reporter . zack , i'm going to start with you, because it was your story from which we were quoting. what are democrats doing differently in 2014 that they didn't do in 2010 ?

>> well, they're being much more kind of candid and frank and partisan in terms of framing this issue of these voting restricti restrictions, they're saying in a very clear voice, there is a very clear difference between democrats and republicans on this issue. republicans want to restrict the vote in all these dimfferent way you're talking about. there's a belief that that will motivate their base to turn out in a way that the democratic base hasn't turned out in the past.

>> during election years, you have this great turnout among young people and -- it does fall back enough in midterms that they end up giving the advantage to republicans . how are democrats using these issues, minimum wage , restrictions on voting and the affordable care act or are they using them in tandem to try to reverse that tide?

>> i think you're seeing the democrats becoming much more confident. i do think that democrats have to have a comprehensive strategy and i don't think that strategy has fully formed yet. because while they're going to challenge all of these laws and all of these attempts at these laws, at the same time, if some of them do manage to get through, or not get appealed in time, or repealed in time, i should say, then the democrats need a strategy to make sure that, a, people know that the laws have changed. early voting is being restricted. people need to know what that time period is, so there needs to be an education component to this about what the states now require from you and that needs to be early. ra and the other thing, it needs to be aggressive. so i think there needs to be another part of this strategy beyond just the push and the challenge.

>> i want to show a map of just where this is happening. because republicans are working with number crunchers who say they have an 8 in 10 chance of taking back the senate. a lot of those are states are swing states where president obama did well. they are saying that the affordable care act guarantees them gains in the senate, guarantees them great results in states just like these, but this is where republicans are pushing the hardest to keep people out of the ballot box .

>> i think what that reflects is, you say they shouldn't really be worried about it, because they are dependent increasingly on a shrinking base of white voters. so they're going to be looking to sue press the votes of minori minorities, of students, of the democratic base. in 2012 , they weren't nearly, as we said, they weren't nearly as clear about this issue. but many african-american leaders as you know, were very explicit about it and there's a lot of evidence that that motivated black voters to turn out at a greater rate than white voters.

>> who were the people who are benefiting most from the minimum wage , you are talking about senior citizens , you are talking about minorities. republicans are essentially running in districts that are on average, 74% white, 11% hispanic, 8% african-american whereas democrats have an imperative to deal with these voter who is don't usually turn out. 23% hispanic, 27% black. so just in terms of the house races alone, it's critical that democrats get specifically to the minority and to their younger co-hohorts and get them out?

>> we have to be even more aggressive this time around than we have ever been. sometimes we miss the bolt, people not only don't vote as often in the midterm elections but they're not as engaged in the midterm election , that's where, again, this education piece, this media piece, these people around us are angry about these restrictions, we assume that everybody aware of these restrictions, and they are not. they are not plugged in. so getting beyond just our most ardent supporters, because this is what the democrats have on their side, people don't like to be restricted.

>> very quickly, last word to you, zack , do you see evidence that democrats are running affirmatively on the affordable care act ?

>> yeah. it varies from district to district, but there's definitely a number of them who are saying i'm supporting this law and it's helping a lot of people.

>> all right, thank you very much.