Watch Seth Meyers Call Out The Discriminatory And "Deeply Dysfunctional" Impact Of Voter ID Laws
Meyers: Reporters Covering These Laws Have Noted "This Isn't Really About Stopping Voter Fraud, It's About Helping Republicans Keep Power"
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From the April 6 edition of NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers:
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SETH MEYERS (HOST): Last night voters in Wisconsin went to the polls in that state's presidential primary and some waited in line for hours, even after the results has been announced just to cast their ballots. The long lines in Wisconsin are just the latest sign this year that our voting process is becoming just as dysfunctional as our political system.
But in addition to cheese, Wisconsin is now known for something else, long lines. Voters in some precincts last night waited for hours to cast their ballots because of a restrictive new voter ID law that caused major delays.
Now part of the reason for the long lines was simply the high turnout, but much of it was also due to the state's restrictive new voter ID law, which requires voters to present valid photo ID at the polls. It's the first time the system has been in place in Wisconsin and the election lines were long.
Now remember this is just the primary. The November election could be much worse. By one estimate, Wisconsin's voter ID law could block 300,000 registered voters from the polls. The stated justification from Republicans for the Wisconsin law and others like it is to prevent voter fraud. But a Wisconsin federal district court judge found that the law's defenders, quote, "could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past." Not a single instance. To put that in perspective, in the last year Wisconsin had more successful Netflix series than instances of voter fraud. Which has led reporters who cover these laws to reach the natural conclusion that this isn't really about stopping voter fraud, it's about helping Republicans keep power. But it's rare that Republicans slip up and actually admit that's what's going on. That is until last night, when Wisconsin congressman Glenn Grothman seemed to do just that.
REPORTER: Take me forward to November. You know that a lot of Republicans since 1984 in the presidential races have not been able to win in Wisconsin. Why would it be any different for a Ted Cruz or a Donald Trump?
REP. GLENN GROTHMAN (R-WI): Well I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up. And now we have photo ID. And I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference, as well.
MEYERS: Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that Wisconsin is just the latest example of how dysfunctional our voting process has become. A similar voter ID law in North Carolina created widespread problems during that state's primary three weeks ago. In fact, one voter, Rudy Ravindra, a 66-year-old retired scientist from India who became a U.S. citizen in 1992, faced a spelling test when he and his wife voted. Ravindra said, quote, "I gave my driver's license to a poll worker. He kept it face down and ordered me to spell my name." That's right, people in North Carolina have to spell their own names to vote.
But it's not just voter ID laws that are causing problems at the polls. By far the most shocking display of election dysfunction this year came two weeks ago in the Arizona primary, where a decision to shut down polling places caused mass chaos.
The long lines happened after the local official in charge of election procedure decided to cut the number of polling places by 70 percent. And when that official was asked whose fault the fiasco was, she at first offered this infuriating response.
REPORTER: Who's to blame for this, these long lines?
HELEN PURCELL: Well, the voters for getting in line.
MEYERS: Now that official did later take full responsibility for the screw up. But what we've seen in Wisconsin, Arizona, and North Carolina over the past few weeks is that the voting process in this country is becoming deeply dysfunctional. Just imagine if one of the states turns out to be the deciding state in November. We could end up with another situation like Florida in 2000.