Voter Suppression and Disenfranchisement

welcome to Cambridge forum you know I’m Pat sirki the director of the forum and I’m delighted to welcome you tonight as we host political scientist Erin O’Brien in conversation with Philip Martin the senior investigative reporter for wgbh news they’ll be discussing the issue of voter suppression the question who gets to vote and who controls access to the ballot our forum tonight will be led by Philip Martin he is senior investigative reporter for WGBH News where he is reported on human trafficking the Boston Marathon bombing whitey bulger carbon offset schemes police shootings training and race the Occupy movement and the fishing industry in New England among other topics in recent years a disturbing new movement to limit access to the ballot has produced a proliferation of new laws across the country that supporters of these laws they are necessary to prevent voter fraud and critics claim are aimed at voter suppression and even disenfranchisement our speaker Erin O’Brien has examined the varied ways in which ballot access is currently being restricted and the causes for these new policies and it raises a number of questions where does the impulse toward voter suppression come from is it indeed voter suppression that we’re talking about in the context of many of these laws what roles of non-governmental organizations played in developing current policies and what about the courts that’s a huge question of course in 2015 especially in the context of our US Supreme Court and as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act what can citizens do what can you do when laws and public policies conflict with the ideals of democracy this is a model of public engagement I’m a professor of political science it’s too rare that it’s all too rare that we come together and have a discussion which is different than a debate we do that a lot but I think that that forums like this are what participatory democracy is about and I’m really thrilled to be a part of it because of that what I want to do tonight I’ll go about a half an hour and tonight’s talk is actually four fold first what I want to do is locate the current legislative narrative the what’s currently going on in the larger historical narrative one point that’s going to become quite clear is that the efforts around voter suppression and voter access legislation are not new moves and I’d like to locate it there secondly and this is out of my research that martin generously introduced with keep Keith Bentley and what we do here is what what social scientists do best and that is rather than engage in political back-and-forth you know Fox MSNBC we don’t do that rather we systematically study what’s going on so I want to present the research that’s gotten so much attention for the motives what the evidence suggests why restrictive voter access legislation is both proposed and passed and third I want to draw connections to larger policy arenas voter access matters dramatically and the recent moves are incredibly important but it’s a mistake to consider them in isolation we all know what’s going on in Baltimore right now that I’d like to draw the connections between other policy arenas with racial overlays and racial targets and draw a broader picture or location of the current restrictive voter access legislation and lastly I’m not an optimist by Nature but I hate to leave an audience depressed and I’d like to point to some of the states that are taking opposite action and many of you if you’re here tonight you’re politically engaged you’re the kind of people who if you’re not the lawmaker you know the lawmakers you contact those folks that the research also suggests that not all moves towards broader access are equally efficacious so I’d like to point us to where the research suggests which ones we should really focus our energies on so get ready in terms of part one voting rights are not a steady march forward indeed alex kazar who’s just right down the road here at Harvard who’s written the right to vote the contested history of democracy and the United States he notes that history history rarely moves in simple straight lines and the history of suffrage is no exception indeed the trajectory of voting rights an electoral access in the United States is rightly seen as a progressive

extension of the franchise that said once we dig a little bit deeper often obscured and that narrative is the reality that electoral reforms over time have worked to both expand and retract the franchise for particular categories of citizens we all know the well-known examples and did we celebrate them and we should celebrate them on the 15th amendment in 1860 gives african-american men the right to vote in 1920 via the 19th amendment women are granted or won the right to vote and we talk as martin has in others about the civil rights gains of the mid and late 1960s as well as into the early seventies those are periods of real pride amongst most Americans who care about citizen engagement who care about individuals ability to participate that said when we dig into the history historical narrative there are numerous examples of targeted exclusion of the franchise and I’m going to go through a couple of them because this is a history that’s regularly not known and this is documented in some of Alex’s work women in New Jersey for example all the constitutions of 1776 in 1790 extended the franchise to all inhabitant property owners by the mid-1800s women were excluded from that legislation was written to say not for women when it comes to race and citizenship I’ll give another exhibit in 1715 there was no race or cities ship requirement by 1818 you had to be white and a US citizen similar in Delaware 17:34 no requirements for race or citizenship by 1792 you had to be white in a citizen and we see similar shifts in Kentucky Maryland Michigan New York North Carolina Pennsylvania Tennessee all underwent similar shifts of pulling back the right to vote prior to 1850 of course in 1860 the 15th amendment passes Popper exclusions individuals welfare claimants low-income Massachusetts and this is one of my favorite things Massachusetts offices we’re so progressive we’re so different Massachusetts in 1821 excluded poppers from the right to vote and in 1881 said okay those claiming welfare cannot vote unless you fought in the war right so these popper extensions were in Massachusetts in many other states felons of something that will come up later in this discussion there is no Yankee exceptionalism here either Connecticut in 1818 says felons can’t vote Rhode Island makes this same move in 1842 and Vermont does it in 1793 indeed between 1790 in 1857 24 states added this provision that felons cannot vote the institutionalized or in the language of the day the mentally unsound Missouri Oklahoma South Carolina Louisiana these are all instances and there’s a lot more this is not a complete history but these are all instances that show us in American history the right to vote has regularly been given and taken away so what I’d like to take for as we think about this at least two takeaways for us as I said one the current era of disenfranchisement is not new the move backward on voter access to the franchise has strong historical resonance in the United States it’s not celebrated to the same degree nor should it be but it is very much a part of our history and secondly what you saw with that list nowhere where they were like hey very affluent white guys we’re going to take your right to vote that never happened there is no history of that rather it is the historical narrative or the history shows us that it is group based and it is negatively constructed in groups with relatively little power are the groups that have the franchise taken away from them and again this theme remains quite resident tonight also in this history and this will come up these or pull backs I should say have always been put forward for partisan advantage okay we the way we run our elections in the United States is a much larger topic it’s also a fairly depressing topic but in our federal system states run the elections

this makes it easier to pull back in some areas on the right to the franchise but what we’ve seen is the modern-day forbearers of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have both engaged in this part in these practices parties political parties John Aldridge out of Duke and others show us this repeatedly are self-interested they want to survive and if we look at that we see that they have regular both parties have regularly fought to pull back on the right to vote and that is another theme that comes up here today so as we think about this it’s not new I don’t know if that’s good news or bad news okay but it is important to see that what’s going on today with one particular party is not something that we haven’t seen before in u.s. American politics and certainly not in terms of the targeting of low-income individuals mentally unsound felons women African Americans etc also I didn’t get into it there’s a broad history in terms of Native Americans and having the right to vote taken away so that brings us to today today’s modern update if you will voter ID laws and corresponding legislation obviously it is gained national residents after the election of Barack Obama in 2008 there was early litigation or not litigation there was early legislation on this that actually came out of a bipartisan commission when James Baker and Jimmy Carter in 2005 and they instant or they didn’t they recommended that voter IDs at the polls work could be requested right that not that everyone has to show it but you could ask you could request they recommended this and this bipartisan Commission and it was nobody really did much with it Indiana however in 2005 and let’s think about that that is just nine years ago all right this sweep of legislation has happened very very quickly in Indiana and then Georgia soon followed suit were the first two states to pass voter ID legislation though unlike the but the Baker Carter Commission they said they are required okay the courts the courts get involved in this because of course tellingly I should say the Democratic Party in the state of Indiana as well as interest groups looking out for the elderly rights and minority rights suit and the cases Crawford versus Marion County Election Board at the Supreme Court in a 2007 decision upheld the legality of requiring a voter Aidid in order to cast your ballot okay since the 2008 election this is one this litigation has really just expanded dramatically and I want to be clear here I’m talking about five types of restrictive voter access legislation there’s others but there’s five that have been the most popular voter IDs legislation gets talked about all the time right and it’s incredibly important and it’s there there’s also moves and states and passes to curtail early voting yeah you’ll hear about this at souls to the polls and things like that to push back to say no early voting or limiting the amount of time that early voting occurs states have done new restrictions to felon saying they can’t vote there’s been shortening of registration periods you know here in Massachusetts you register you have to be registered and then there’s the 30 day wait before you vote right states have made that period sure I’m sorry extended that period gone after registration and they’ve also gone after our voter registration drives when we think about that I mean what’s more americana than a voter registration drive I’m not telling you how to vote I’d say I mean I’ve done this in classes I used to live in Ohio and you got a lot more attention good presidential election season but you try to register students to vote because you want to inculcate participation in democracy but some states Texas being one of them have said if you’re registering voters giving out that paperwork you have to live in the same County as the people you’re registering and if you don’t turn over those forms within three days of three to five days that um it can be a misdemeanor or a low-class felony right so making it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters who hates the League of Women Voters come on right voter registration drives so those are the kind of legislation that I’m talking about here voter ID curtailing early voting new restrictions on felons registration restrictions and increased regulation of

voter registration drives between 2006 and 2011 on that legislation ninety percent of states proposed some form of that legislation and almost 50 percent of states passed something in that pool okay that’s bad news or potentially bad news given what I’m about to tell you but I want it’s important to point out much of this legislation hasn’t the implementation has been slow across some states so we haven’t seen a presidential election nor have we seen a midterm election with this legislation fully implemented okay indeed according to the Brennan Center for Justice since the 2010 election new voting restrictions are going to be in place in 22 states in 15 states 2016 will be the first major federal election with these tuned with these new restrictions in place all of this was enabled or much of it was enabled by the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby versus holder and for those of you who don’t know that’s the 2013 5-4 court decision that essentially eviscerated preclearance in the Voting Rights Act and the idea with preclearance is in these states and localities that had a history of prior discrimination at the polls they wanted to make a change to their legislative law they had to go to the do they had to go to the Department of Justice and what the court said they didn’t say that preclearance as many people thought they would just get rid of preclearance at all but what they said was the formula that’s being used is outdated so Congress can revisit that formula if they want you what do we know about Congress right now they are not going to do that right our current Congress so the court left the the door open that Congress could do this and there’s been some members of Congress had have tried but there’s been absolutely no action so all the litigation and the legislation I’m talking about you’ve heard a lot about but we have yet to have a federal election where it’s truly been in place what does all this mean all this legislation this and I want to point out the fact that 50% almost 50% of states passed this kind of legislation between 2006 and 2011 and 90% of states proposed it is so wildly out of character for policy diffusion nothing happens that quickly when we look at state politics and policy very rarely do we see such an uptick so quickly across the states what does it mean if you turn on I don’t suggest doing this but if you turn on MSNBC or Fox you will find clear answers very rarely do they deal in data but you will find clear answers on the left all this legislation is amounts to for their understanding of it is the thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to depress turnout among constituencies favorable to the Democratic Party namely minorities new immigrants the disabled young etc okay indeed I am I don’t I’ll read this quote because it’s a good one and this is from Ari Berman who’s a journalist says Republican officials have launched an unprecedented centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008 just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black southerners from voting a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students minorities immigrants ex-convicts and the elderly from casting their ballot that’s why the left thinks this legislation is going on the right is equally passion if disagrees vehemently on the right restrictive voter access legislation that’s what we call this suite of legislation is there is necessary to curtail rampant electoral fraud in an era of close and polarizing elections so as to preserve electoral legitimacy and I think it’s important to point out if the left is right and if the right is correct that’s a problem as a political scientist if what the left is saying I find that incredibly problematic from a participatory democracy standpoint it’s the right is correct it’s equally

problematic right but both of the sides are making these claims I’ll give a quote Ken Blackwell who’s the former Attorney General in the state of Ohio and as on the political right his Republican says what more than thirty states have tried to do is put in place a common-sense measure of voter ID so that people are assured that voters are who they purport to be and voter IDs are commonplace in our culture you need an ID for a driver’s license for boarding an airplane receiving a passport purchasing alcohol are checking out a library book so to use it to safeguard the integrity of the voting process at the voting station is pretty uneventful this is a reasonable safeguard to protect against voter fraud and ballot box stuffing when we have sufficient and enough evidence that there have been people who would do just that if given the opportunity okay if we take him at his word I think most of us would agree if rampant voter fraud is a problem and that’s what’s motivating this legislation doesn’t seem particularly problematic some on the right though not all at a socioeconomic status overlay to this argument saying that and then the Democratic constituencies are more apt to commit fraud because they’re lower income and thus you know more easily induced there’s also a racial overlay this is from red state the implicit argument the n-double-a-cp and every single liberal is presenting here is that it is unreasonable to expect an african-american simply by virtue of the color of is his or her skin to be able to procure hold and present a photo ID okay so you have this explosion of legislation and you have the left saying this is wildly problematic because it’s targeting low-income people minorities immigrants and you have the right saying this is necessary to preserve the legitimacy of the ballot okay for us for my co-author keith Bentall and i he’s a professor or assistant professor of sociology at UMass Boston and works just one floor below me so it’s been a great partnership we are social scientists and said listen that is that he said she said what’s missing from that debate is an empirical adjudication of those arguments that’s what we as social scientists do we don’t do he said she said we look and we test the evidence so in the the the research that that we did and has gotten quite a bit of attention as we simply asked what political electoral and contextual factors actually drive why states alternatively proposed and pass restrictive voter access legislation and we did there’s nothing more captivating than hearing about advanced regression techniques that’s a joke but what we did do what’s important for you to understand is we first said we did two sets of models one on the proposal side because proposals incredibly important even if something doesn’t pass it softens it it gets people used to the idea so you can propose something two or three times and the first time it seemed outlandish but then the third or fourth time it passes okay so we did proposal and passing and what we did and these are mathematical models but the beauty of these mathematical models is that we can test all the explanations that are out there and we can test them against each other and it’s basically whatever rises to the top is what’s driving States to propose an adopt Isleta sleigh ssin it’s and for those of you it’s these tests of statistical significance okay but what we did is we took every argument at face value we didn’t impugn motive we didn’t impugn symbolic politics we said what does the left think is going think is going on and let’s test it what does the right think is going on and let’s test it okay so just so you understand it’s just important that you understand the logic of what we’re doing okay and we included a ton of variables but for our purposes we tested five major sets of explanations and we tested them against each other that’s what you do in these regression techniques the first is just partisan preferences and electoral competition we know that on average the publican party has more of a taste for making for securing the ballot box and the Democratic Party has more of a taste for access to the ballot box right that is just a truism of these two modern parties they’re Democrats are more concerned about access and Republicans are more concerned about making sure who votes is who they say they are okay so we simply test we look at Republican legislative strength in the states and

that of course varies wildly and we would predict without impugning motive we say where Republicans are more strong in the state legislature where they had the governorship etc we should see this legislation proposed and passed okay that’s explanations from political science then we took the left seriously and we tested there are explanations about voter behavior and more importantly voter suppression what we looked there we tested a change in minority vote as well as change and class bias in turnout said differently from 2004 to 2008 minorities turned out more at the polls so what we did is we looked at those differences in all the states and we predicted that where African Americans started to turn out more between 2004 and 2008 obviously 2008 being Barack Obama we would expect to see this legislation similarly with class bias it has never been the case that low-income and high-income people vote at the same rate in the United States indeed socioeconomic status is the single best predictor of whether or not one votes but in those states where the gap started to close between 2004 and 2008 of the Democrats are right we should see this legislation okay we also tested just basic percentage of African Americans in the state and the percentage of non-citizens to take sirak to operationalize what the left was arguing then what we did we did the exact same thing for the right and the most important variable here is Lorraine minut who’s at NYU she’s a political scientist at NYU she has gone through or I don’t know I’m guessing her and her research assistants but has gone through and literally documented every reported case of fraud and the mm oh I don’t know that I think was 2004 but what she does is she goes and looks at everything and it didn’t have to be borne out or proven true but she finds every single claim of electoral fraud so we simply tested that we said in those states where there are more reports of electoral fraud if the right is correct those are the states that should be proposing and passing this okay so for our purpose and there’s some other variables and things like that but what I want listeners to understand is that in these models we looked at proposal and we looked at passing and we test all these explanations to see which rise to the top to see what’s driving this so findings what drives proposal of legislation five things states with a larger percentage of African Americans were more likely to propose this legislation second higher minority turnout and increases and minority turnout more likely to propose this legislation a third we’re lower income voter turn a turnout increased between 2004 and 2008 where there was a higher fourth a higher percentage of non-citizens and unsurprisingly it was less likely to pass when voter IDs were already in place okay that’s why we step back include conclude from the evidence that proposal is driven by racial anti-immigrant and classist considerations I’ll say that again that proposal is driven by racial anti-immigrant and classist considerations we then turned to passing this legislation same kind of test and here five factors come forward restrictive voter access legislation is more likely to get passed when Republicans controlled the governorship and both chambers right because they could pass it second when the forecasters viewed the state as a potential swing state and 2012 and Republicans were in control more likely to pass restrictive voter access legislation third where there is a larger percentage of african-american residents but and this is sort of this is very this is a telling finding larger proportion of african-american residents but a surge and minority turnout decreased the likelihood of passage so we call this the backlash of the mobilized right when African Americans really had a big surge state legislators feared that that mobilized group could potentially vote them out fourth it’s more likely to pass where whites where white voter turnout is considerably higher than black voter turnout and interestingly though it was not it was did not have a major impact we also find that there was a lot where there was a large number of allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 election this was more

likely to pass now of all those variables that had the least weight but as a social scientists we report the data okay so when we step back from this we say listen the driving forces for this legislation are not up for debate we ran the models you know that this is peer-reviewed nobody said the variables missing right rather we ran the models and it is a story of race class and partisan demobilization that is what is going on that is what is the driving forces for proposal and passage I can’t speak to motive but I can tell you what forces are driving states to propose this legislation and pass it I think it’s incredibly important as especially in a forum like this one where we deal with evidence and we want to have true discussion to not see this ground right everyone this is a famous quote but everyone is entitled to their own opinions but they’re not entitled to their own facts and the research here undoubtedly suggests that the voter ID and it’s cousin legends sation combating it is justified based on issues of racial and class equity at the ballot box okay so that is major those are the major findings from this line of research and many folks would stop there and I think that’s a mistake okay I’d like to connect some other policy dots here before I turn to a little bit of good news before we really open it up to the discussion there is a this policy I call it added in policy this policy acts restrictive voter access legislation and a larger Nexus and that Nexus includes what I already talked about the Supreme Court and the Voting Rights Act having preclearance pretty much eviscerated all this legislation passed that I just talked about before that Court decision right and that the court has now made it easier and localities that have shown racial bias before to pass this so that’s a part of this policy suite second the decisions on political voice by the Supreme Court everybody knows about Citizens United fewer people know about mccutchins that took off the penalty you can now give as much money there’s no aggregate cap and the amount of money you can give all these things equate money with political voice right restrictive voters access legislation is class-based it is race-based and on top of that those who are quite affluent can give unlimited amounts in political campaigns so on that those at the very top have had their voice enlarged at the very same time those at the bottom lower income individuals people of color have have are more apt to live in states where their access their voice has been limited by this legislation adding to that gerrymandering all this operates on top of evidence and political science that shows in many states how racialized the practice of gerrymandering congressional districts is additive policy suite as well one in eight african-american men in the United States can’t vote because of felony disenfranchisement okay so those individuals were not even talking about right now the work they’re taken off the table Beth la Weaver who is a political scientist at Yale her research shows that even if you’re not that individual male who can’t vote because the felony disenfranchisement but this affects communities this affects families that say well if you know my husband my partner my brother whatever if he can’t vote why would I want to either right it has a demoralizing effect right so that’s just the straight-up right to vote okay then we move since 1996 we’ve seen incredibly punitive changes in social welfare policy Joe sauce who’s a political scientist at the University of Minnesota has found those who claim welfare compared to like other similarly poor have lower efficacy after claiming welfare they’re less likely to vote the single best predictor is my research with Joe and some others of whether states chose to get really tougher on welfare percentage of african-americans in the state okay so the first the right to vote with felony disenfranchisement second the efficacy to vote with social welfare policy and now the third part if you’ve if you’ve gotten over those hurdles were adding restrictive voter access legislation to you so this is a policy suite that’s operating together

and is mutually reinforcing and last in this portion the representational bias of this Mendez and gross have done really fascinating work here and they it was it was a genius study but what they found in the study is that legislators who supported voter ID laws were less likely to respond to Latino constituents versus Anglos who inquire as to whether an ID is necessary to vote they’re less responsive to those individuals so voter access and restrictive voter access later we should be having this discussion we are having this discussion okay but I think it’s equally important to connect the policy dots again we know what’s going on in Baltimore right now this policy suite these additive policies are a stew and they are stew that is racially targeted along class lines so now that you’re depressed deeply depressed and I don’t want to say you shouldn’t be because the evidence strongly supports there but I also think and there’s room for activism here and there are things we should talk about okay but that it requires activism both outsider protest an insider running for office lobbying model legislation litigation etc okay there’s real cost to that kind of activism first if you’re having we’re now having to refight this fight right resources are limited so it means other things like criminal justice policy might not be talked about as much like social welfare policy might not be talked about enough we’re having to refight fights and an era of hyper partisanship that it’s very hard to have a discussion across the aisle on this Congress I I believe a gusano’s I don’t have enough money there you go but if I could bet that Congress will do nothing on preclearance I would put everything I own plus everything Philip owns on that and we would be quite wealthy okay and we have seen since 2012 via that activism via that contacting via interest groups working that eighteen states plus DC have expanded access to the ballot since 2012 that is very good news and these states run the political gamut South Carolina Virginia West Virginia here in Massachusetts Louisiana Chicago Minnesota California eighteen states plus DC have taken opposite action as a result of people working on the ground these include things like online voter registration systems pre-registering 16 and 17-year old same-day registration as well as Election Day the registration and on that that data is from the Brennan Center so last but not least if you’re going to be active on these issues not all legislation is equal Elizabeth Rigby who’s at George Washington University has found that some of these reforms that feel good actually in increased inequality and turnout so something we call them convenience voting things like no excuse early voting or just early voting in general you souls to the polls we hear that but actually and the overall macro data shows us that that increases inequality and in turnout these people higher income people who are apt to vote anyway are the very ones who use those convenience voting things or legislation so if you’re going to pray if you want yes you and not everyone will but if you want to undermine inequality and turn out convenience voting isn’t the way to go rather the registration reforms that make it easier to register to vote like mail and registration mode or vote or moving the deadlines closer are better and indeed the silver bullet you could get one thing passed really undermine inequality and turn out same-day registration nine states have same-day registration North Dakota has no registration which I always point out is a little bit after April 15th I didn’t have to register to pay my taxes why do I have to register to vote though that is the single best reform if you want to have the the folks that vote more better approximate what America actually looks like and what we actually make so in conclusions what I’d like to that the takeaways from my talk the first is to place restrictive voter access legislation in the historical narrative

it’s not new I call it in EKG right with the slope going up we had these back and forth back and forth but the overall slope is definitely towards increased voter access nonetheless we’re in an era of a pullback a pushback against that it’s not new which means it can be changed second and that my research from my co-author Keith and I the adoption of voter ID laws and cousin legislation has been driven by racial class and partisan considerations those are the facts this isn’t he said she said this is evidence based with the most advanced statistical modeling that’s what we find not to seed those facts that’s what’s going on third restrictive voter access legislation is a part of an interconnected policy suite that is disproportionately felt amongst racial minorities in the United States that make it harder to vote and harder to participate in all forms of political life and social life and lastly I would say advocate wisely if you’re going to advocate push for same-day registration that’s the most bang for your buck and so as I take my seat and the topic of tonight the concern for the health of American democracy is warranted it is deeply warranted by this legislation so thank you again regression and in suppression you know one of the questions that comes up comes up immediately not in the context of of systemic voting but but what people would call the ordinary what they would in fact describe as common sense why not simply show an ID at a ballot at the ballot box at the at the poll station in order to vote how does that in any way infringe upon anyone’s civil liberties anyone’s voting rights well I think my answer to that is twofold one we’ve never required it before right and so the right to vote isn’t the same thing as getting on an airplane right I don’t have a right to get on an airplane I don’t have a right to buy booze but I don’t have a right to a library book but I do have a right to vote and so it’s something different and if everybody had one it would be different but we know those who don’t are disproportionately poor and they’re disproportionately of color so that’s why that’s my pushback there and secondly I would also say nobody cared about this prior to 2005 so the political scientists and when people start paying attention and when you know regular folks have we walked out on the yard there sits and brought up this voter ID stuff just like you said to me and like it’s not that hard just get an ID how did that become so resonant how did that gain traction how in ten years to regulate I wish people cared more about public policy but why is this such an issue okay I think voter ID has become a symbolic policy it’s been and I should say that all the research suggests that fraud doesn’t go on Lorain minut and other people have have tested all that does this really occur no but it still indeed the opposite problem our problem is people don’t vote not that they impersonate themselves to vote you know that’s just not the problem we have so to me then the question becomes how has voter ID be taken on such symbolic residents amongst past mass publics and I think a lot of that has to do with seen massive changes and demographics in the United States and the election of Barack Obama and African American man has been deeply threatening it’s about something else well has this been steered what we’re seeing in terms of what some call voter suppression has have we been steered to this point in our history by that I I asked this question Erin you have an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council Alec which is fairly famous right now it’s been it’s been looked at by 60 minutes it’s been looked at by frontline it’s an organization of legislators pay $100 every two years they joined this organization it’s funded by Bank of America other organizations corporate organizations in the country and among the the items that they recommend was stricter voter ID what but they also happen to be an organization that supports if you will less labor laws any number of things that if you will help or assist corporations in in terms of moving toward the bottom line in a vast in massive way what does Alec have to do with this

discussion and are they in fact steering the discussion that we’re having today Alec has been incredibly effective and you you said how much legislators pay to join Alec the corporations and those folks that you’re all at the same table and you have the same voting rights and those corporations pay a lot more money to be sitting at that table and and as a political scientists have been incredibly effective and they’ll put forth model legislation they get these state legislators together they literally can you it here’s what your bill should look like and then state legislators go home and introduce that legislation so Alec has harnessed the the Martin on the money the ears of many state legislators and they got real bang for their buck you go to this fancy conference you get handed this model legislation you’re told why it’s good and you go but you have the choice to introduce it or not but you chose to go to that meeting so and you’re apt to do it so Alec has allowed for this policy to proliferate in such a fast way but they’re not the only actor and I will say I am bringing up in the talk we actually tested a variable for Alec influence we looked at how many members of each state legislature had joined Alec hard been to an Alec conference to see if that was driving proposal and passage and the variable really didn’t come up because I actually don’t think it was a perfect variable because we had to dig in and it wasn’t a direct we didn’t ask each legislator are you a part of this so in the variables it didn’t come up but as an agenda setter initially getting the idea out there and getting it in the heads of legislators across the country they’ve been incredibly effective because do politics really well well did it depend on state-by-state and in terms of for example Florida I know it’s more impacted by alec than other states it didn’t so for the as a 50-state explanation no it didn’t come up for proposal and passage but you’re right in individual states the been incredibly effective but the analysis I presented here is of the 50 states what’s driving it overall that’s not to discount the fact that alec got the ball rolling and then other you know states have taken it on no doubt the number of people here probably seen the movie Selma and this year of course we’re celebrating the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and the the horror that many people encountered as they cross that bridge in the form of state troopers beating people – in a terrible terrible way but we also see this year of course is the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in August 1965 so one of the questions I have is when you talk about when you’re talking about grassroots organizing are we missing that right now in the effort to push back what again many empirically acknowledged as voters voter suppression is there something happening in the grassroots you intimated that there that there that can happen but is that in fact happening to push this back you know I would say yes and no which is such a cop-out answer but yes on the grassroots but think of it like I said I mentioned the League of Women Voters I’ve given a couple talks to their national group and I just spoke to their group in Ohio for instance but that’s that’s a group that is just about getting people to participate in politics I mean how can you dislike the League of Women Voters but they’re a group by saying we have a problem with restrictive voter access legislation they are against many of the you know shortening early voting they’re against those things indeed they want to expand ways to get people to the polls they have been typifies increasingly as hyper they’re they’re you know they’re deeply partisan or they’re biased which is absurd to me but I think when you end into the fray on this and go in with the evidence the evidence is incredibly compelling here but those who forward those claims it enters I think into this sort of vortex of all claims are equal and if you’re saying voter access is a problem you’re automatically this you know crazy hippie lefty or whatever but actually to me it strikes as a it’s an incredibly nonpartisan issue should be in many ways it’s about securing access to the ballot it’s not about telling you who to vote for its securing access and so this is a long answer to your question but I would say the grassroots activism has been typify Daz deeply partisan when you’re saying access to the ballot and that’s part of the difficulty for grassroots groups because voter ID is now if you’re for it you’re a Republican if you’re against it a

Democrat when it wasn’t that way ten years ago so I think there there is an uphill battle among some of these grassroots groups to get I mean what do you do if you’re in a state that’s controlled by a Republican governor and the state legislature is controlled by Republicans grassroots activism in those states is much more difficult because you’re going in with a partisan issue speaking of that it seems that it’s it’s a vortex is right because it seems hard to escape when you’re when you in fact as a political scientist are presenting empirical are presenting your well detailed analysis of evidence based of facts that you have been looking at for some time but but many people still treat this as a debate including journalists a journalist saying there on this hand you have this on this hand you have this but the question is I’m looking at a few anecdotal incidents over the past few years that have come up since 2008 particularly since 2010 with the sweep by by Republicans across the country the Tea Party and I’m looking for example at voter ID law enactment in or attempt to enact in Pennsylvania where Mike toes ters a who was the Pennsylvania House Majority Leader said that this voter ID law will will guarantee that Romney will win the state of Pennsylvania anecdote one two US Chamber of Commerce come a commerce calm remarks made by Chris Christie where he basically militated against save same-day registration and said that we need to get rid of same-day registration and in that way we need to win more gubernatorial races so that we can insane save day registration this is an interesting one I found which is that you have Ted Yoho what an interesting name of course you spoke about property rights and of course property rights when we think about property rights we think about how that that very notion disenfranchise blacks a disenfranchised immigrants and disenfranchised poor people in women for many years well in 2014 he advocated that property rights should be the determinant I am for voting in in in this country you have Don Yelton the GOP chair of Buncombe County in this is a very famous example of course where he said that the point of voter laws it was that it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks who and that the law is going to kick the Dems Democrats in the butt quote-unquote you have actually over the course of a day I’ve came up with about 70 mm-hm examples of this sort why is this a debate why is well first off let me say political parties have done this for years and that all those examples you gave are incredibly resonant the the Republicans are faced with a choice right like the current the demographics of their party right now will not allow them to keep winning if they don’t change so you have two choices there one you expand the tent right you go big tent you try to bring in young people you bring in individuals of color or you try to cut into the other side space right and this is a long-standing actual debate in political science when and when elections are tight and the electrode is changing what do what do parties do and what we see here parties are self-interested those quotes are incredibly ugly and it I would just point out it doesn’t even require malice you know some of it they’re just actually in self-interest once they made the choice not to go into that big tent your bigger question though is why is this still a debate that’s that’s a huge question one because you know it’s a 30-second environment you know it took me a half an hour to talk about that stuff and who wants to hear about regression all the time but it’s also that this bias I call it or Jules boy cough is a political scientist as well has called this the bias of balance and you talked about reporters some you know they’ll have somebody who’s for voter ID and somebody against voter ID or somebody says it’s about race and somebody who says it’s not about race the question has been settled the by the bias there is bringing in both sides it’s like you

know it’s the sky blue well I have someone who’s gonna argue yes and somebody who’s gonna argue no like but we treat it that way so we continue to treat it as a debate and it’s in quite frankly right now it’s in Republicans interest to treat it that way indeed I was doing an NPR show in Ohio and they taped my portion and then they taped a portion with the chair of the Ohio GOP and so I was you know going through the evidence similar as I did here and the his response to me into me and now we weren’t in the same room or else would have gone a little differently but I’m he said I don’t know her and she might be nice but she’s that’s she’s the most stupid person I’ve ever heard that’s the most so me personally at home she said I was like well okay you must know very smart people know but instead of attacking evidence attack the person right because the evidence on this I say here’s the report what it what did we do wrong what variables need to be in there because I’m in the business of getting it right I want to know what’s going on so the the personal attack the the right is winning quite frankly when it remains a debate when it stops being a debate and the evidence is X then they’ve lost so in 1961 of course you had in fact people from this area who boarded buses following the example of students Freedom Riders who boarded buses and went south the idea of going south was to create an atmosphere where people could not just voting was was something that wasn’t even talked about as much as and what’s just a question of access to water fountains of on an equal basis and the whole notion of the the notion of living a decent life I traveled with some students to recreate the the Freedom Ride a few years ago in 2011 and talking with some of the people along the ride there was a question of this relativity that folks were wanted to do better but they but you actually had people in those days black people disenfranchised black people said things aren’t that bad so on and so forth it was this whole notion of a shifting baseline the bar or scientific term and so I guess my question is this though when you look back in 1961 which seems so far away medieval in terms of our country’s history and yet right now we’re talking about in Kansas for example where the Secretary of State there Kris Kobach is in charge of a an effort to to essentially purge millions of people thousands of people I should say from in King Kansas from the polls who who they believe have their ID is problematic their registration is problem and so you’re right it’s not a question of ID in this in this case it’s a question of regice regice tration my question Aaron is ultimately what the courts have to decide these things because the legislature essentially are packed with partisans the courts of course is part of the balance of our nation are the are is what people turn to or what people turn to in order to weed these things out can the courts be relied upon such that the court the country does not go back to 1961 these aggressions and progressions no I mean just and in part this is the the way we do our elections is incredibly confusing and each state could write them in county level and on the steps so it means a singular court decision they can decide the courts can decide something in Texas and decide something else here just said something else there it’s incredibly confusion confusing and even that confusion drives people away from the polls because they’re not sure and the Supreme Court and you know I gave you the Indiana case and 2007 it was decided that voter IDs were okay and we just saw the 5-4 decision in Shelby and so I don’t think it’s a matter of going back to 1961 they’re not gonna that it’s sort of its second order it’s Jim Crow 2.0 it’s much more subtle like no one is going to very few Americans are gonna say I’m okay with you cutting off the right to vote to particular individuals they’re just not going to be okay with that but this this sort of steady trickle of voter ID well why do you need same-day registration what’s the problem with registration 30 days in advance why do you need to vote on Sundays those sorts of decisions are those sorts of the trickle of legislation the courts to date have been very uneven I should say Pennsylvania for example where I forgot which Court it was that overturned Pennsylvania’s ID law but I mean right

and then Texas had this one I have in my notes there I have like it right prior to the 2014 election you know in Minnesota there was one decision in Texas was a different one so it creates a real confusion so I my I’m not confident that the court the Supreme Court there is going to get rid of this stuff if it ever became taking away the right to vote as and you can’t vote you can’t vote yes the court would get involved but this is more subtle and the justices have been quite divided well we’re coming up of course to 2016 a major election it could bring a first woman president or it could mean something more more unexpected we don’t know what’s going to happen oh but we do know that it’s going to be extraordinarily contested yes we know that there are that voting rights and access to voting and purging of as some describe it will in fact take place what are you anticipating for 2016 and is the country ready to have a fair election in the context of voting suppression no I don’t think the country will I mean we did the 22 more states have done this since we’ll be in it will be implemented since that weren’t in place in 2008 and 2008 I think the interesting um well some more legislation will be in place we’ve never had as I said a presidential election with this stuff implemented in so many place so first the the groundwork has changed here in terms of the amount of legislation at the state level that will be on the books and it will be the first time we act on it I also talked about though that where african-american voters were really mobilized in those particular states if it was a swing state and they had really up tipped and turnout between 2004 and 2008 that that provided sort of a line in the sand those states were less likely to pass some of this stuff and we argue it would we think it was because the the fear of the backlash but if if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee african-americans are not nearly as excited about Hillary Clinton as they were about Barack Obama in math so what we could have is more of this legislation in place and a less mobilized electorate of color the question I think many will ask and then I’m going to open up this up to the audience is that about matino voters Latino voters and we’re talking about New Mexico we’re talking we’re talking about 50 states actually it’s no longer confined of demographic how might Latino populations and secondarily Native American populations be are how might they be affected by some of the voting laws on the books that were that we’re seeing do you want it if you want to read a deeply depressing history which who doesn’t read the histories of the right to vote amongst Native Americans and that’s a larger literature and quite frankly it’s not one as I don’t know as well it’s something that I’ve recently got into so the way Native peoples have been treated at the ballot box is abhorrent to your question about Latinos we did not measure our Latino and Latinas in that and simply because the there wasn’t good enough data across the 50 states but we did measure though is percent non citizen and in the state and where there are more non-citizens in the state the you know there’s ways to figure out even you know they’re not raising their hand saying I’m undocumented that kind of stuff where there are higher percentages of undocumented individuals this stuff is more likely to pass so the question becomes Latinos just like African Americans and other groups are not a monolith right and we could have Ted Cruz or Rubio I mean there’s chances potentially for a Hispanic candidate on the Republican side to be out there but the evidence suggests that I’m willing to guess because of the undocumented stuff that Latinos are more likely to live in states where this legislation will be on the books the question becomes is this is there a backlash effect or not and right now I don’t know sir why don’t you approach the microphone tell us your name and your question my name is Richard Rosen I’ve two aspects of the question I know the issue has been important in dealing with homeless people too because it’s harder for them to get IDs right and it often cost money and they don’t have money etc so I didn’t know why you didn’t mention that and maybe it’s a very small absolute number I don’t know I’d like to hear how important that is but the second half is why don’t we skip over all this stuff and just implement the

mandatory voting I mean that would have a much bigger effect right there was only about 36% of the population voted in the last election why not go to a hundred percent or as close as you can get to it I mean so why pit her around with these other issues have you thought about Tory voting and is there any political support for it and the second part of your you hit the nail on the head there political support behind it there are so many electoral reforms that we could do that could wildly increase turnout like you know my classes why is it on a random Tuesday in November right especially low-income people you know have less flexibility in their jobs why not make it a week why not make it a national holiday who’s in Kinston national holiday nobody right so what you’re talking about mandatory voting there are plenty of advanced democracies that do exactly that so there is no shortage of great idea ideas to increase turnout you could get rid of the electoral college that would and just make it a popular vote that I mean when you like to be targeted in Massachusetts or other states that are on the electoral we know which way they’re going to go to actually go after the whole popular vote and so there’s no shortage of great ideas including that one but in terms of political support the discourse right now is so far from that and I think in terms of mandatory voting there’s ways it can be framed but in most people’s reaction to that is that’s big government you know they’re telling me what to do which there’s a certain irony if you’re against big government why do you want everyone to have to have an ID but or is it not a state issue oh yeah I can’t speak to every single say but I’m sure the Democratic Party would probably tell you yeah we’re for it but are they going to make it a major platform issue and really push on it no that just hasn’t happened because there’s just not the political will but it speaks to how narrow our discourse is we’re fighting about voter ID whereas the political scientist I’m like why aren’t we fighting for mandatory voting why aren’t we fighting for or just making elections over a week-long period do it in the spring when the weather is better there’s a lot of things we could do that would make this that could see turnout go up it’s important we want turnout I’m that these groups aren’t saying here’s how you should vote I’m saying get there because it is true that the voices our legislators here from in terms of money are wildly off in terms of socioeconomic status and who they hear from in voting also as to homeless your first question for all the reasons you indicate it’s incredibly hard to get good data right and homeless aren’t studies as much because the and they’re low income right by obviously and unlikely to turn out anyway and you know what’s your permanent residence is that this shelter so it’s just it’s another group that gets over looked in this thank you like in Oregon they do not have it’s all absentee ballots in that state and in California a person who is over 65 or on disability is given an absentee ballot and just for the ass not even for the asking they just given one because that because that is just assumed you just can’t get to the polls there and the West Coast has been definitely more inventive organ you mentioned Washington has been much more than been Abdullah do see we call it absentee ballots and then no excuse absentee ballots so the no excuses you don’t have to provide an excuse you just say I want one then other states say you have to provide an excuse as to why it’s like you know school like it had to be a meritorious excuse for some reason so those are all potential potentials but they have not been widely implemented it does suggest though the people who use absentee ballots more often than not tend to be people who would vote anyway so it doesn’t really get at inequality but like I guess there’s a contradiction though because I think would absentee ballots I mean it’s sort of perceived as as you said a a veneer for people who vote already largely white Americans who vote and in some of the same restrictive ID laws i undersigned notice yeah i’m

not applicable or not applied I should say in some states to the absentee process isn’t that wholesome for veterans veterans currently active this would be a wholesale contradiction in the same and there are if our election laws are wildly contradictory with one another and this is all enabled by federalism right because because states do policy there’s a whole host of different you know policies in the states and the socio education is the best way to figure out where you can vote and how you can vote and things like that so things like absentee ballots help higher income individuals they make it easier convenience they make it more convenient to do something that that individual is already going to do but getting rid of the registration requirements those are the things that really get into inequality in turnout this please hi my name is Cheryl Brown I’m the host of the ordinary show Jesus so familiar to me in the whole time I was like I know it’s a local show here channel 9 that must be and excellent information that you’re giving out today I really appreciate you but my thoughts go to you think kind of similar to what dr. Martin Luther King was saying when he says but we need to give the next generation not only the right to vote but a reason to vote and with Jim Crow laws being so elusive and clandestine even I who vote all the time have difficulty preparing because even aligning yourself with a party they’re like shapeshifters you know so how do you propose a person younger all prepare for bipartisan voting and getting factual information Jim Crow 2.0 how do you deal with shape-shifting it’s a great question and I’d you know I don’t have I actually have a lot of confidence in politics more than maybe that this talk suggests but I think you hit the nail it you have to want to vote right and many of us go and vote and we vote is saying the presidential election we go and we go you know you pick one but you’re not like it’s never your dream date candidate I are rarely sometimes it may be for some of you your dream date candidate has come along but especially I mean look at somebody like Barack Obama who had massive mobilization young people I teach it the were excited their turnout really did go up and were deeply engaged and how quickly Washington said in write how quickly that and it was a real movement I would argue how quickly that movement was stifled by institutional Washington that’s that’s incredibly demoralizing so a lot of people rationally step back and the next line of research that Keith and I are working on is looking at efficacy that’s your your confidence that you can negotiate politics and the confidence that government will listen to you were we hypothesized and this is an ongoing project but that in states were voter ID and it has been very much part of the discourse and it has been implemented that it’s going to have another order of fact that it will turn off people that their feelings of efficacy and wanting to engage in the system will be further depleted especially amongst communities of color where this goes on and so that said the good news is the trajectory on this is upward overall 1961 thankfully feels really far away in terms of equality and opportunity and things like that so then there is an arc of history here that is quite positive but in our day-to-day micro politics we’re often choosing between two candidates we’re not that excited about and the system feels really um doesn’t feel open to regular folks and I think that oftentimes that’s an accurate read now you’ve just given me a third question to ask so I will try to restrain myself and but I do want to follow up on the idea that you just presented your next research on efficacy and I wanted to tie it back to the 1961 Freedom Riders the the real push to register people to vote in the American South during the civil rights movement was that was overcoming that sense of hopelessness how what role did that play in the vote of the voter

registration drives in the early 60s leading up to the Voting Rights Act how hard was it what what did you hear about people who were people eager to vote and just you know not able to name all their 47 state judges and Alabama or were people did people feel like this is not worth the effort this is not worth the danger this is not worth the trouble what I think their dreams and aspirations were basically also pummeled by the violence of that period both in terms of expectations fear is what I’m talking about and also but at the same time the desire to vote to do something that you had never done before was tremendous it was extraordinary and was it was compelling it actually compelled people to do things they wouldn’t do to basically define their own fears thus you had from 1961 until that pivotal day years later in Soma in 1965 what people were willing to cross that bridge they knew what was on the other side copped with billy clubs in in the years in between fire hoses dogs buckshot guns Klansmen citizens council they it was fear but the whole notion of doing something you could not do before that could in fact bring about change it wasn’t a question of doing it because of mechanical but doing it because it would in fact propel you from point A to point B it which it was felt by many people black people white people who were in in who had basically come in to assist to become part of this movement black people would come in to be part of this movement that what they were doing was something big was brand it was transformative this is uh I just opposed it so often to what I saw in South Africa when I was there for the election in 1995 1994 rather and in 1994 seeing people being willed in will barrels literal wheel barrels who could not walk who were being pushed to the polls that was extraordinary and so to your question I think again the notion of doing something I would not do before transformative but then what comes and this an Aaron is talking about this the whole notion was was it worth us worth it was it efficacious did and in fact get me from point A to point B and what you see oftentimes is periods Massa periods of cynicism that have said it in fact I must say during part of the period of the Obama administration at least in black communities or unemployment is still very high they still people still in fact respect in fact believe in many ways in Barack Obama as a leader and believe very much in the electoral system to a degree that he could have liked a black man but no doubt sénéchaux about the results in terms of employment in terms of mass incarceration in terms of the being able to pay your electric bill in terms of this American Dream that’s sort of gone gone astray for many people in 2008 the recession certainly didn’t help people would finally reached that point in for the middle class and fought saw it quickly taken away so I think what Aaron is discussing is a combination of a dream come true for sure but also a nightmare for MIDI in terms of what they ended up with after many people voted it’s called cynicism and I’m not sure it’s all it’s necessarily apathetic it because those things are different it’s a and please but I’d like you to continue that point I think well it’s rational adaptation at some point right you know to keep playing a game that even when you won you lost you know even when you’ve won meaning you know Barack Obama’s in office but you know that the the financial considered the financial troubles are just as deep you know the recovery from the recession just isn’t happening amongst many communities of color that you know what to keep engaging at a certain point I’d like to reverse the question to say well I keep playing in this game but and it’s a game that always loses in – in terms are not always losses but in and I also like I think the comparisons to the 60s are incredibly important but I also think there’s a little bit of a disservice there this isn’t just going on and I know this wasn’t your point but like it’s this isn’t just going on in the South Massachusetts until the recent changes were number 42 in terms of voter access have very high gaps between white turnout and african-american turnout this is going on in Ohio this is going on in and so you know at least in the Northeast and other parts of the country it’s easy to say the south is different we have that you know that look what they where they’re the worst unraised and look what they did well there’s some

evidence to that but the systemic racism in the United States is felt across all 50 states and we see this kind of litigation or not litigation legislation and states that aren’t typify Daz you know being unfriendly to peoples of color you know look at Ferguson I was thinking about it the other day in Baltimore or Baltimore but Ferguson a few weeks ago of course they had a local election very relatively small turnout it was it was greater than usual it was greater than 10% and in the past you’ve had you’ve had a registration there in small numbers and you had actual voting there in even smaller numbers I think I’m about less than 15% and now you had about 30% so it’s progress but it’s still extraordinarily low in terms of voting and it’s also like with the police like people will say oh well it’s a diverse police 4 or it’s a more diverse place for us how could you know the these actions still be going on and diversity is step one but these institutions have memories these institutions have legacies and for communities of color they’re not very positive one so getting an african-american present or an african-american Attorney General or in some of these places isn’t enough it doesn’t switch things quickly mm-hmm well I guess that that is part of my my concern I mean what it it took a lot for ordinary people to work outside of the system in the 60s and sometimes I wonder what will it take to get people to work outside of a system that isn’t working now in the teens and the 20s of the 21st century it’s a good question because I was thinking about this over the weekend I don’t know if you’ve heard this really fascinating TED talk that I frankly I don’t remember the professor’s name but a TED talk that was over this that’s our place that’s our point over the weekend we’re here she talked about the hashtag activism that takes place today which i think is very important because it mobilizes people but the notion of sustaining is a whole different matter and if you can be mobilized by by Facebook and by Twitter that’s fantastic but the question is how do you sustain that and sustaining it occurs on the ground that’s what we saw with the civil rights movement the difference in the civil rights movement in the Occupy movement was such was the fact that it was sustained you you were allowed you you were able to basically promulgate some important themes but in order to for those themes to basically resonate to to basically push people to to get them to do what they would not do ordinarily because of this thing we call fear is is amazing but I in terms of voting rights I think what has to happen is it folks have to own it if they aren’t if they die I’m my feeling about anything is if you don’t feel what you are being personally assaulted by what in fact I think can be called an assault on your right to vote then it’s possible that you might not do anything about it but if you notice in in 2012 when when folks thought that were being disenfranchised in Wisconsin and they were billboards telling suggesting forgot exactly what it said but but suggesting that they should not vote or cannot vote in in Ohio and in Wisconsin those were the two states people when I came out in in large numbers and it wasn’t just Barack Obama it was essentially someone in organization and individuals whoever was responsible for this these advertisements it basically had the effect of people saying yes I can to awake the sleeping giant sometimes you know that there’s always this question of how much can people take before they push back and one thing I would just add to that is we set the bar so incredibly high for how people push back i you know i understand hashtag activism and things like this but you know I think it’s incredibly difficult to say you know this movement if you’re grassroot meet and you weren’t sit but your grassroots isn’t enough you’re not doing enough activism because we compared it to like the women’s rights movement or the civil rights movement you know those have been incredibly important but they’ve all been romanticized you know the internal division we don’t talk about the setbacks we don’t talk about as much and so sometimes I think it’s helpful to reopen up that history and show how ugly it was and all the historical other places where activism failed to because it normalizes politics and it doesn’t

set the bar as like you know you’re not Martin Luther King who is that I think that’s another part to it and so you know there but there are 18 states that have taken opposite course and they’re across the country there’s no geographic map to that that was a result of on-the-ground activism going you know and I also going on and on but I would also say it’s not insider or outsider politics that is a false distinction they that they’re mutually reinforcing and so you go to your state house go talk to those individuals because that can’t they can at least propose the legislation it might not get passed but over time that was work so sometimes I’d like to lower the bar on what counts is participation because that makes people feel political protest is political that is political action and politically in this discussion I would also say that I think one element of politics that sometimes neglected our state legislators and legislative state legislators have been is what has been has allowed Alec to basically create turn its agenda into something real in in in states across the country where they have been effective places like Florida and I think that many voters of color and certainly voters who do not subscribe to this notion of voter suppression whether they be rip Democrats and they largely are or independence and they largely are in those few Republicans who basically believe that this is problematic I think they’re starting to see that the legislature is is the place to basically where you can essentially make perhaps more policy decisions and you can’t even on the national because in terms of the type of things that people consider important on on the everyday please Helen hi my name is Melanie Morris and first of all thank you so much for the talk it’s been very engaging and enlightening for me and one of the things that you talked about that really stood out to me was this notion of electoral fraud that people are supposedly fearful of and although I think your evidence is clear and I think that this there’s not a question of why this is happening however if I were to play devil’s advocate and say that there is electoral fraud my question or my argument would be if there is have that how why hasn’t there been or has there been equitable solutions offered for supposedly reducing this electoral fraud as opposed to dumping it on one group and creating systemic ways to have exclusive exclusivity because this approach assumes that white males or people from a high socioeconomic status are incapable of committing such acts of electoral fraud or wouldn’t have a motive to do so so has that my first question is has that been a piece of the discussion at all I think that’s a huge piece of this discourse and secondly in your evidence in your data collection was there any type of have you looked at the relationship between minority groups representation in state-level politics as leaders and the relationship with that between states that are have higher rates of these proposed ideas and passage of less such legislature two good questions one I think you’re right an imbedded assumption though you stated it though often not stated is with the fraud argument is we need voter IDs we need these other sort of things the embedded assumption is that the people committing the fraud are our people have colored their poor people right when you know I mean the real fraud is rich people buying elections I would say but the embedded assumption is that fraud is real which the evidence suggests that is simply not true there is no we are we are legislating around a myth but it is a potent myth I always like I’m dating myself but The Breakfast Club which is a great movie but there’s this great line in The Breakfast Club where Brian he’s like this sorted he’s the dorky guy and he has a fake ID and they’re like why do you have a fake ID like cuz he doesn’t go out he doesn’t party whatever and he says like so I can vote and it gets a big laugh because it’s so absurd like nobody impersonates fraud in that way and it’s wildly inefficient if you’re trying to steal an election you have to mobilize a bunch of people to go in nonetheless this fraud narrative has really taken off and you’re right the assumption then if fraud is real which is not but if we if we say fraud is real then we need to do these these sort of things that impact low-income

communities so the assumption is fraud is real and poor people and people are color the ones doing it it’s it’s the Democratic base neither of those sort of facts are borne out in terms of your second question we did run at one point and we didn’t include it in the models because it didn’t come up percentage of African Americans percentage of individuals of color in the legislature but it correlates so strongly with Democratic and Republican strength that it blows up the model they correlate too strongly because we also thought it might be that in legislatures where are more diverse or more women but either of those that they would be less likely to pass these things but it correlates so tightly with a percent Democrat that we couldn’t really test it out separately I’d like to thank Eric thank you thank you guys really those political leaders are saying I’m listening to my voters and you know what they’re telling me don’t give ground don’t back down because if you back down you’re giving up you know it’s it’s just the beginning they’re going to take more they’re going to take more they see it you know say more threatening element