MSNBC "The Rachel Maddow Show" - Transcript
MS. MADDOW: All that talk in the Democratic primaries about how young people were proving the haters wrong by actually showing up to vote, even though the stereotype says that they don't -- well, is the stereotype going to turn out to be right? Time for a talking down here, clearly.
Here to try to talk me down is Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose district includes parts of Broward and Miami- Dade Counties.
Congressman Wasserman Schultz, Happy Halloween. Thanks for being here.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you. Glad to be here with you, Rachel.
MS. MADDOW: So here's your chance to talk me down. Tell me that young people secretly --
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: (Laughs.)
MS. MADDOW: -- are turning out in huge numbers to vote or that the Democrats weren't really counting on them anyway or something. What's going on here?
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, no. Let me tell you, I mean, I just came from trick-or-treating with my kids, and I'm really glad to be here with you to help talk you off the ledge, because, just to give you an example, about 25 percent of the early vote in Florida so far has actually been sporadically voting Democrats. So we expect many more of those Democrats to come to the polls by Election Day. And comparatively to four years ago, they have exponentially increased their percentage of the turnout.
In addition to that, you have, in overall totals for early voting in Florida, 45 percent -- a little more than 45 percent of the turnout in early vote has been Democrat and about 38 percent has been Republican. So what we're doing is executing our plan here in Florida. We have a ground game that is second to none, the largest ground game grassroots outreach turnout operation that we have ever had in Florida history. And that is going to be churning all weekend long. We have thousands of volunteers going across Florida, Rachel, knocking on doors, turning those votes out.
And I can tell you that I really believe that that youth vote is going to surge through the weekend and into Election Day, because everywhere I go, the youth vote is very motivated and planning to go to the polls. So I'm really feeling incredibly good about what happens on Tuesday in Florida.
MS. MADDOW: And the hope is that it is just youthful procrastination, leaving it off to the last minute, I guess, at this point.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Yeah. You know, honestly, I think you have to think about the fact that kids have -- the younger vote has a lot going on their lives. They have classes that they have to go to. With a very long line, it is difficult often because they're trying to vote in between classes, for them to stand in the lines.
But we have extended voting hours over the weekend. Governor Charlie Crist, to his credit, extended the voting hours with an executive order. So we have 12 hours of early voting this weekend, and I think we're going to really be able to get those kids to the polls.
MS. MADDOW: The images of the lines and the reports of people standing in lines are -- for me it's sort of heartbreaking, just in a small "d" democratic way. I don't want our elections to be like this anymore.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No.
MS. MADDOW: I don't want there to be this effective poll tax, where people have to, you know, give up a day's wages or a half day's wages in order to exercise their right to vote. Are you hearing a lot of complaints from your constituents? Do you think that it is affecting people's calculation about when they go to vote?
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I have heard people express concern, but that was really earlier in the week, before the voting hours changed. You know, when Governor Crist issued that executive order and expanded the polls being open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. until tonight, and then 12 hours over this weekend, it broadened out the lines and made it a little bit easier for people to have time to go vote.
So I actually -- even though I've heard people saying, "Wow, you know, I wish we didn't have to wait so long," I have not heard a single person say, "Forget it. I'm just not going to be able to vote if I have to wait that long." People are determined to vote. They're hanging in there. They're standing in line.
I brought literally a few hundred people to vote from the condos this week, and, I mean, Rachel, I had people who are over 100 years old, little old ladies in my district who are over 100 years old, sitting in chairs, inching along the line. They were going to wait as long as it took, because they want to move this country in new directions so badly and they know that this is the most important election even of their lives, as many presidential elections as they've seen in their lifetime.
MS. MADDOW: I've got to say, the way that it makes me want to move the country is toward a country that doesn't make little 100- year-old ladies wait in lines in order to vote.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I know.
MS. MADDOW: We've got to get this thing fixed. We've absolutely got to get it fixed.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We do. And I think what we'll do -- actually, I'm certain what we'll do when we'll have an expanded Democratic majority in the Congress -- Steny Hoyer, who was the sponsor of the Help America Vote Act at the last election, will make sure that we put in a Help America Vote Act. We've got to address the length of time it takes to vote. We have to address the process by which it takes to vote. There's issues with registration. We have a lot of reforms in the process that need to occur.
MS. MADDOW: Amen.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: So I know that we're going to get to work on that.
MS. MADDOW: Amen. Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you for your time tonight. And I now release you to go back to trick-or-treating.
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.
MS. MADDOW: Thanks a lot. (Laughs.)
REP. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: (Laughs.) Thanks. Take care.