Clip: Why an Obsession With Voter ID Is a Major Problem

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All this talk of voter ID at the polls has some people scratching their heads wondering — what’s the big deal?

Bill’s guests this week, Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Ari Berman, a contributing writer for The Nation magazine, agree that the problem is this: The right is making it more difficult for people to vote — and it’s deliberate.

In fact a federal judge in Texas recently found that the state’s photo ID law was actually created to intentionally discriminate against black and Latino voters. That’s a blatant violation of the United States Constitution.

“We know that more than 600,000 registered voters will not be able to vote in this November’s election because they lack the photo ID required by the new Texas law,” Ifill says. So, why would anyone want to keep people from the polls on purpose?

That’s part of a longer story, which Ifill and Berman cover in their full interview with Bill. The short answer is this: There’s an effort underway to keep people from voting that tends to lean to the left in elections.

These efforts began after a Supreme Court decision last year in Shelby County v. Holder, which revoked an essential provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That decision has encouraged many states to try to impose restrictive voter ID laws, as well as limit registration and voting hours.

Berman — who closely covers voter suppression efforts — tells Bill here about “three crucial swing states in which there are new voting restrictions on the books.”

The right says it is imposing these restrictions because there is rampant voter fraud. The problem is, Berman and Ifill say, it is simply not true.

As Ifill puts it: “If you look at all of the data that’s been collected and analyzed by the best political scientists and social scientists, there is no evidence of statistically significant voter fraud. So you’ve created a system that disenfranchises millions of voters to try and solve a problem that you can’t prove exists.”

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