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Public Statements

MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript

Interview

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Senator Taylor, you think the targeting of these DMV offices is politically motivated? Great to have you with us tonight.

LENA TAYLOR, WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR: It"s great to be with you. And let me first answer your question. Yes, I"m going to join you when you come to Wisconsin.

And I do believe that there is some political desires to stop individuals from voting by some of the measures that have been done. Because it"s unnecessary--unnecessary challenges that we"re creating for voters.

Everything from making people get I.D.s to, you know, not giving them the opportunity to easily get the free voter I.D.s at the DMVs--and now you"re closing the DMVs.

I mean, our governor has really gone too far. I think it"s going to be unconstitutional, frankly.

SCHULTZ: Ben Jealous, I know this has been a big issue for the NAACP.
Where is this happening? How intense is it?

BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, NAACP: You know, we have seen attempts to pass voter I.D. bills in 47 states. We have beaten them back in 17. They have passed in 30.

When you add this up with the registration I.D., which is even more nefarious, because it means that your voter registration form will not be processed if your state has one of these laws, if it does not have a copy of your I.D. attached to it. Now, Ed, when you do a voter registration drive, try to think about doing door-to-door processing while pushing a copy machine down the street. It just doesn"t work.

Right now, it"s a place in Georgia, it"s a place Phoenix, of course, the great state of Arizona, which is sort of second to Wisconsin in exporting everything bad to our democracy. Forty thousand voters have already been disqualified in that state.

These two, plus the ex-felon disenfranchisement laws, which they just expanded in Florida, knocking 500,000 voters off the rolls, including a quarter million blacks--you add it all up and this is the biggest attack on voting rights in our country since 1896. It has the same sort of mean-spirited intentions that they did back then.

You know, when they put the ex-felon voter disenfranchisement in laws for the first time back then, they were much more plain spoken. The 1906 Virginia constitutional convention, one of the delegates put it plainly. He said, this plan in five years will ensure that the darkie is not a factor in our politics.

SCHULTZ: Lena, what do you say to this? This is some pretty radical stuff. This is America. What do you say to this, Senator Taylor?

TAYLOR: It is radical. And I"m going to tell you, for Wisconsin, it"s difficult for us to even fathom that we"re going through this. Because in 1849 in Wisconsin, there was a referendum that said that suffrage for colored people--what happened, it was in 1865 that Ezekial Gillespie sued the city of Milwaukee to exercise that right to vote.

And in 1886, our supreme court provided it to him. So to have a governor in 2011 that is trying to do everything that he can to deny to deny African-Americans, Hispanics, and seniors and poor individuals access to their right to vote is disgraceful, frankly, to the legacy of Wisconsin, but to this nation. And I think that the president of the NAACP said it best.

SCHULTZ: I think that this is the most under covered story in politics in this country. What you have just said to us, the both of you tonight--where the hell is the media on this? I mean, this is really some unbelievable stuff.

Voter suppression at a rate like we have never seen for decades in this country. Well, you"ve got a recall election coming up on August 9th, Lena Taylor. And I know that this--these laws into effect--don"t take effect for this recall election. But what has this done to the motivation of the folks out there? What are you hearing across Wisconsin?

TAYLOR: Let me say first that they"re the gift that keeps giving. Because of their continued attack on democracy and their willingness to just overreach, they"ve continued to fuel people"s desire to take back Wisconsin, take back their government.

So that"s thing number one. The turnout has been pretty decent. But this is not going to stop us. This is going to motivate us even more.

We"re working with the NAACP and some other organizations to make sure that people get their driver"s license, they get their I.D.s, so that people can
come out to vote. Because these recalls are very important. And July 3rd
June 3rd--I mean, January 3rd, we"re coming for Governor Walker.

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