Good Law | Bad Law #96 - The fight for the right to vote w/ Michael Waldman

Aaron Freiwald: Welcome back to Good Law Bad Law. My guest on this episode is Michael Waldman. He's the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in New York. And we're talking about voting rights in advance of the very important midterm elections coming up in November. We're going to survey all the many ways the many insidious ways that different states use to try to limit access to the voting polls. Whether its claims of voter fraud purges of election rolls voter ID laws that are designed to target certain people certain groups. And some proposals for things that we can do to get at nearly 100 million Americans eligible to vote who didn't vote didn't even vote at all in the last big election we had so the issue of voting rights is a big deal. Michael is one of the country's leading authorities on the subject. It's a fascinating conversation. I know you'll enjoy it. Stay tuned.


Aaron Freiwald: With just a couple of months to go before a very important midterm election in November I wanted to spend this episode talking about voting and various measures to restrict voting and hopefully some proposals for how to expand access to the voting laws. And to do that I've invited Michael Waldman president of the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law in New York. So Michael thank you so much and welcome to Good Law Bad Law.


Michael Waldman: Great to be with you. Thanks for talking about the topic.


Aaron Freiwald: I have to say before we get to the topic we're talking about today Michael as we reminisce just a little bit before we started the episode. You know I have a connection to your brother Steve who was the editor of the Columbia Spectator the daily newspaper at Columbia the year before I was the editor of that paper. So I just wanted to say a shout out to your brother Steve and hope he's doing well.


Michael Waldman: He's doing very well and we were I was at Columbia as well. Who knew that being in New York in those grimy graffiti marked days was going to be as retroactively cool as it turned out to be.


Aaron Freiwald: It's true


Michael Waldman: I get a lot of credibility when people learn I was here then.


Aaron Freiwald: And that we lived in cinderblock dormitories and actually read real newspapers on printed paper. What what a concept but a.


Michael Waldman: Very retro.


Aaron Freiwald: Very retro. Michael give everybody a little background on yourself and how you came to the Brennan Center. I know you. You worked for President Clinton and had an important role in the White House at that time. Tell everybody about that too please.


Michael Waldman: Well I'm an attorney myself for much of my career. I was a consumer advocate from 1992 to 1999. As you say I work for first Governor and President Bill Clinton. I was his chief speechwriter for four of those years I've worked on political reform and other policy issues throughout that time. You know some white houses are crazier than others but there's all of them are incredible window how policy gets made. How to try to move the country and the importance of the democracy issues which can seem arcane sometimes would really go to the heart of what political debate has been about. For most of the country's history so I did that and I came to the Brennan Center in 2005. The Brennan Center is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform and revitalize and when necessary to defend the systems of democracy and justice in the United States. We're affiliated with NYU School of Law and we were named after Justice William Brennan the late great Supreme Court justice. We were actually started by his family and clerks over two decades ago. And you know our basic view of what needs to happen is that the core values of democracy and justice and freedom and equality are under great strain right now. And we try to both be partly a think tank partly a legal advocacy group and partly a communications hub waging some fights on those issues.


Aaron Freiwald: Well and we're going to get into some of the specific threats to the most important right we have which is the right to vote. In a few minutes we're going to talk about voter fraud and purges of voter rolls and things like that. But really to set the table on this topic generally Michael. I think it has to be acknowledged. Most people would that the importance of the right to vote. And yet there are so many attacks so many efforts made in states across the country and even at the federal level to limit access to the polls.


Michael Waldman: It's the most fundamental right we have in many ways because of the right that determines all other rights.


Aaron Freiwald: Exactly so. And what is why are we seeing so many efforts to limit what is is there one driving force here that we can understand.


Michael Waldman: You know I think there's some driving forces at this current moment but they really are part of a longer historical pattern and really cycle going back to the founding of the country. Right now the right to vote as fundamental as it is and as non-partisan and in many ways non-controversial as it ought to be is being attacked you know to kind of make it harder for some people to vote by folks who want to see other people have a greater say. I always was struck by a man named Paul Weyrich who founded the Heritage Foundation who founded the American Legislative Exchange Council ALEC which writes a lot of state laws on this. He said in 1980 he said look let's be honest we don't want everybody to vote. He was talking in partisan terms when when the number of voters go down then our chances go up. And that's kind of an instrumental. And I think ultimately misguided and even un American way of looking at things but as I said it's been a fight we've had this fight over voting the fight over the rules of democracy has been something we've been battling about from the beginning of the country's history. I wrote a book a couple of years ago called The Fight to vote really tracing this all the way back and I was really struck that you know from the at the beginning the country was not what we would consider a democracy. Only white men who owned property could vote but even then that was more controversial than we might realize that you know when when Thomas Jefferson wrote the preamble to the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. And you know they didn't just break with Great Britain they said that the government was legitimate as he put it. Only if it rests on the consent of the governed. That was a really radical notion. He was a hypocrite. He was attended to by a slave boy when he wrote it. But nevertheless the idea was so powerful that very immediately this fight over voting voting-rights who would get to vote began to happen and it continued throughout the whole country's history.


Aaron Freiwald: Well and there's and even with those in some ways very deeply hypocritical beginnings. The importance of voting has continued to be something that our country is focused on that social movements have focused on the Supreme Court has supported and in certain historic moments in our country's development. And yet here we are in 2018 and it seems that we're facing threats that are profound. These are not threats around the edges of voting these are these are some challenges to face in our modern time that that are really quite serious aren't they.


Aaron Freiwald: They are and you know just as an earlier era when there were attempts to keep basically Catholic immigrants from places like Ireland and Italy from voting or the or the attempt to take away the successful attempt at least for a while to take away the right to vote. From the former African-American slaves we are seeing a lot of demographic change right now and a lot of political change and people in power are trying to block new voices being heard and to make it harder for the changing electorate to be heard. And we have seen in the last decade or so really in the last eight years of the first serious effort to roll back voting rights since the Jim Crow era 23 states since 2010 have passed laws making it harder to vote and disproportionately the impact of those new laws falls on poor people young people students people of color. And that is not an accident that that is the case. A lot of these laws have been blocked by the courts or have been softened by the courts. But it's really striking to see that almost half the states have made it harder to vote in the last decade and not for any particularly good reason other than partisan or political advantage.


Aaron Freiwald: Now are you are you referring to voter ID laws Michael.


Michael Waldman: It's a whole range of creative laws ranging from laws that have been passed to end same day voter registration to cut back on early voting in some states only on the days where African-American churches tended to organize people to vote the Sunday before the election. Cutbacks on the ability of people to register voters. And yes as you say voter ID laws and voter ID laws have become sort of a shorthand for a lot of this stuff.


Aaron Freiwald: Right.


Michael Waldman: It's important for folks to understand what somebody like me what I mean and what I don't mean in saying that a lot of these very harsh very restrictive laws in fact make it harder for a lot of people to vote. It's really important of course that only eligible voters be able to vote and it's not at all crazy for us to have a system that makes sure that only eligible voters be able to vote. And there are all kinds of ways of doing that. And in fact in person voter impersonation is very very vanishingly rare in the United States. The problem is not voter ID laws but requiring kinds of I.D. that lots of people don't actually have. And it turns out that about 11 percent of eligible voters in the United States don't have a driver's license or some other current government ID with a picture like that and it's hard. You know I have a driver's license. I bet you do too. You know it's hard for me to imagine getting through the day without that kind of I.D. but a lot of our fellow citizens just don't have it.


Aaron Freiwald: What is the percentage again of citizens who don't.


Michael Waldman: It's about 11 percent of eligible voters don't and that was a study done by the Brennan Center over a decade ago it's been validated over and over again. And that number 10 percent 11 percent. This is what courts have basically said. And so you see these voter ID laws and they're crafted as a Federal Court of Appeals said talking about North Carolina's voter suppression laws with almost surgical precision to exclude African-American voters. in that case. An example of the kind of mischievous or or malevolent I guess.


Aaron Freiwald: Yeah.


Michael Waldman: Law it would be Texas. So Texas has a law that was passed that by the legislature that said among other things that you could not use your University of Texas ID as a government issued ID but you could use your concealed carry gun permit as a government issued ID and the second that this law went into effect six hundred eight thousand otherwise already registered and eligible Texas voters lost their right to vote according to federal court that had a two week trial looking at this. These are not theoretical. You know maybe they were just these people already registered and court after court in that instance found that that law was unconstitutional was discriminatory and the legislature has had to fix it. And while we're not wholly thrilled with the final outcome it's a lot better than it was that kind of thing happened all over the place.


Aaron Freiwald: Right. So the Texas situation you're talking about the concealed carry permit as a form of ID wasn't that also found to be a form of ID that tended to be one that white voters would have and disproportionately fewer African-American voters would tend to have that form of ID. That was part wasn't that part of the.


Michael Waldman: Yeah Exactly. These laws are not you know are not crafted by accident they are designed with great specificity to benefit some voters and not other voters. And one of the reasons these laws have come into effect in a lot of places is that the Supreme Court in the middle of all this that had the Voting Rights Act.


Aaron Freiwald: That's the Shelby case.


Michael Waldman: Yeah in 2013 and then the vote the Voting Rights Act as you know as folks probably know one of the great achievements of the civil rights movement it was passed in 1965 after you know decades and decades of terrible practices and laws that kept African-Americans from voting basically barely at all in the south. And the most effective part of the Voting Rights Act was something called Section 5 which said that states with a history of discrimination in voting had to go to the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington for permission to change the voting laws or practices and this was considered the most effective civil rights law probably of all time. And in 2013 the Supreme Court by 5 to 4 in an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts basically ended Section 5 ended this very strong provision of the Voting Rights Act in that argument at the Supreme Court. That was in the oral argument that was the time when Justice Antonin Scalia said well he thought the Voting Rights Act was nothing more than a racial entitlement. And there was a gasp in the courtroom when he said that he didn't write the opinion. Roberts did in a more measured tone. Roberts basically said well you know yes we honor the sacrifice of those brave people. In 1965 who won the Voting Rights Act but that was then this is now. Racism is not a problem anymore. And things are different now. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


Aaron Freiwald: Yeah.


Michael Waldman: Yeah that really encapsulated you know it sort of began the name of her notorious RBG she said that's like standing in a rainstorm and holding an umbrella and not getting wet and concluded therefore you don't need an umbrella.


Aaron Freiwald: Well my wife and I just watched my wife and I just watched last night the CNN movie about RBG notorious RBG and there's a that's a great quote from her about that about that case and that.


Michael Waldman: We all we all would dream of reading a line that sums things up.


Aaron Freiwald: Right.


Michael Waldman: As well as that. But you know within days and certainly over the years I would say her prediction has been proven more right than Robert. You have states all across the country Passing or re-passing or re-enacting or implementing these very discriminatory laws and courts have still struck a lot of them down. But you know more and more of them are staying in effect.


Aaron Freiwald: And tell us a little bit about that because now I think we're on to we. This is a good segue into the subject of voter purging. And I know again that you and your organization have looked at this extensively and have a report that you came out with this year on purging and you have a section looking at what has happened since that 2013 decision by the Supreme Court the Shelby County decision and the extent to which voter purging has increased and is increased even more so in those states that would have been covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. So the proof is in what's actually happening. So to tell us a little bit about that because I think that's that's pretty powerful.


Michael Waldman: Yeah it is. It is a really compelling way of understanding alot of what's happened. So you know part of the big problem behind all of this is that we have still a ramshackle system of voter registration in many states it's getting better and a lot of local officials are working really hard to make it better. But there are a lot of names on the voter rolls that are you know where there are errors where when people move from one place to another or someone dies. And so you want to have a way of removing people from the voter rolls. The problem is when there are abusive purges where basically eligible voters are kicked off the rolls or people are kicked off the rolls without a chance to say hey wait a minute. No really I'm here I'm alive I'm eligible. And there's often a lot of pressure from often very right wing groups pressure on states to purge their rolls in a way that will take lots of eligible people off the rolls. And we did. We've done quite a bit of research on this and one of the things we recently found is that the rate of purges went up markedly in the states that had previously been covered by the Voting Rights Act and NBC News called it a frenzy of purging and they purged them not just at a higher rate than they had but a higher rate than the rest of the country. So it really suggests not knowing all the details of all the stuff that went on. It suggests a lot of improper possible conduct in going after eligible voters and a lot of the steps that states have wanted to take have been found illegal by the courts. The Brennan Center for Justice where I'm the president and other voting rights groups have made it really clear to states that they need to follow the law and we will back them up if anybody tries to push them to purge people who are otherwise lawfully voting it's really wrong to take away somebody's right to vote. They show up which happens quite a lot. People will show up and discover that they're not on the rolls even though they were on the rolls even though they thought they were on the rolls. And it's one of the reasons you sometimes get really long lines on Election Day.


Aaron Freiwald: Right. So these people who get purged. I mean some of them might legitimately need to be if they moved or you know some other administrative reason. But if in the effort to to purge voters and we're not talking about 5 or 10 or 20 we're talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of voters who are being purged from the voting rolls in Texas and Georgia and all over including Ohio where there was an important Supreme Court case about voter purging just last term. If you've been purged and you're a legitimate voter then you have to take the effort to get back on the rolls to be eligible to vote again. That puts the burden on the right or a person.


Michael Waldman: Right. And we are one of the only countries that calls itself a democracy that has anything like that and people including in this election if you show up the vote and say wait a minute I'm registered to vote and there's a problem suddenly your name isn't there or whatever. Don't just leave demand provisional ballots. Make sure you get to vote a provisional ballot and there are election hotlines voting rights hotlines that are available to back you up. To make sure that you get your right to vote. Whatever folks. Whatever happens it will be just a real mistake to let the oppressors win by walking out without casting your ballot.


Aaron Freiwald: So Michael those hotlines would those be state by state hotlines. In other words if somebody wants to make sure that they have access to that is something they should look up that a number they should look up.


Michael Waldman: There is actually it there is actually a national hotline that connects to law firms all over the country connects extra voting rights advocates all over the country it's organized by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. It's called 1 866 OUR VOTE. So if you have a problem on election day or leading up to Election Day 866 OUR VOTE and you will get connected with an expert who can help you. It's hand-to-hand combat to protect the right to vote. And we can certainly expect that in 2018.


Aaron Freiwald: Well let me ask you a couple of other things. Cover a couple of other issues we alluded to this one earlier that the subject of voter fraud. And even though President Trump won the election he's still maintained in the weeks following his election that there was massive voter fraud throughout the country in fact claimed that there were three to five million fraudulent votes cast. This is often also in the rhetoric sometimes mixed up in the issue of illegal immigration you know claiming that there are many illegal immigrants that are that are fraudulent casting votes. And we know that the president set up a commission to look at this issue and then it disbanded without actually finding any evidence of meaningful voter fraud. So how big a concern is this Do you think and what do we make of voter fraud is an issue today.


Michael Waldman: Well this notion that there's people voting who shouldn't be voting is the basis for a lot of these restrictive laws and the notion of widespread voter fraud in the United States in 2018 is a pernicious myth. And I think a deliberate lie. And we really got to see that in this tragic farce of the Trump voter fraud commission. So every study by the Brennan Center for Justice and by everybody else who has looked at this has found that in person voter impersonation is vanishingly rare that you are more likely to be hit by lightning than to commit voter fraud of that kind in the United States. That's been proven over and over and over again. And nonetheless it's used as the rationale for a lot of these you know discriminatory laws and unfair laws. So you're exactly right. Trump again saying after the election when of course he lost the popular vote he actually said well I really won the popular vote when you subtract the three to five million illegal voters and this was treated by so many people including for example Republican and Democratic secretaries of state who administer the elections and this was repudiated rebutted that the White House created a task force to try to prove Trump's. I don't think this is quite what you know James Madison had in mind when they wrote the Constitution. But anyway now they did this test. They stuffed it with the people who spent years trying to come up with ways to make it harder for other people to vote. The driving force behind it was a guy named Kris Kobach who is the current secretary of state of Kansas and actually the Republican nominee for governor of Kansas. Mike Pence was the chair of it but Kobach was really the driver of the whole thing and it imploded. They wound up suing each other. They found no evidence of fraud. A bunch of documents got released where members of the commission said well we better make sure that there's nobody on here who actually no academics or are neutral experts or moderate Republicans because they'll mess the whole thing up. Be careful what you wish for. And it was left kind of a smoldering wreck and just recently that one of the members of the commission released a bunch of documents showing what an attempted fix this was one of the things that happened out of this. As you know is that they asked the states to provide all the voter data for all the voters in the United States including the last four digits of everybody's Social Security number. And again the states rebelled including Republican officials as well as Democrats and said this was an invasion of privacy and it was going to be misused. And that's the challenge with a lot of this stuff. You know voter rolls still there continuous problems with them about 1 in 8 names on the voter rolls probably have errors of some kind. Nationwide. But you saw sort of a similar example just in the past week where the Justice Department demanded of North Carolina officials that they produced the names of all the voters in the state. And the idea was that were going to try to see if they were illegal voters and to pair it with noncitizens and the voter panel in North Carolina unanimously Democrat and Republican rejected the illegal request. There was a trial in Kansas where this guy Kris Kobach not about the commission but other stuff he was trying to do in Kansas where where the credibility of his claims and of the experts he relied on was really put to the test a federal court trial. One of the one of the great moments was his expert who he was relying on to say oh yeah there's all this illegal voting and illegal immigrants are voting and how terrible this is. The lawyer for the ACLU who is bringing the case asked this expert you know well what would you say if I if you saw the name and it was a Hispanic name would you say that person was an illegal voter and the person said yes that would be a flag that that person the legal voter he said vote that that's a federal judge whose courtroom is down the hall. At the end of it the judge not only ruled against Kobach but sanctioned him and ordered him to take legal education classes.


Aaron Freiwald: This is the guy running for governor in Kansas.


Michael Waldman: Yeah he won the Republican primary.


Aaron Freiwald: Yeah.


Michael Waldman: With Trump's support Yeah.


Aaron Freiwald: Well we had this issue in Pennsylvania a few years ago I'm sure as you know there was a voter ID law passed in Pennsylvania it was challenged. There was a trial here. I think it was several weeks if not a couple of months where the proponents of this voter ID bill were were asked to come forth with evidence of voter fraud which was as you pointed out earlier the claim basis for this law and they couldn't they couldn't produce any evidence and the court struck it down as unconstitutional so these I mean these battles have been going on and continue to go on. I looked up these numbers Michael before this morning in the 2016 presidential election. And granted you tend to see fewer people coming out to vote in an off year election a midterm like we have coming up this November but nonetheless in the 2016 presidential election 63 million people give or take voted for Trump 65.85 million voted for Hillary Clinton and something like 100 million eligible voting age Americans didn't vote at all. So I mean that to me is you know that's the scope of the problem here we're not we're talking about more people not voting than voting for any major candidate. So these efforts to restrict people at the polls. And I wonder too if you're concerned about the chilling effect too that people are told enough times whether it's true or not that there's fraud at the polls or that they're going to face challenges about their id at the polls. Does that in effect keep away people who would otherwise take the effort to go and vote.


Michael Waldman: It's a great question and that is a conversation folks who work on this issue have a lot you know within the voting rights community is at what point does talking about the risks to voting become its own form of discouragement of people voting. You know people are busy and they don't all vote the way we hope people do as their civic duty and you know you don't want people thinking oh it's going to be hard to vote or or inconvenient and therefore I'm not going to do it. You know I also think though there's some evidence that you look at a place like North Carolina where there was this egregious effort to suppress the vote which included harsh voter ID ending early voting for some and a whole bunch of other things. And that sparked so much anger and it sparked a movement in this state led by Reverend William Barber who is very charismatic minister who organized what they call Moral Monday that wound up being these massive demonstrations in the state capital and actually wound up defeating the incumbent governor and changed the politics of the state. And that was where people understood they had rights as Americans that those rights were under threat that people were trying to take those rights away. And rather than being discouraged it caused them to mobilize. And so I do think that these issues these democracy issues they could be kind of scary but I think that people are more and more angry about them. You saw that even in the 2016 election a lot of people are very concerned about issues like campaign finance reform. Citizens United this year of course people are very worried about potential security issues in the election not phony baloney voter fraud allegations but real risks from places like Russia that we know tried to hack the elections in 2016. They didn't just steal and release e-mails. They actually tried to get into voting machines. We don't think they were successful. They tried to get it to the counting centers and they tried to get into the databases that some states had. And we think they were successful and we as a country are not ready for 2016. This is something.


Aaron Freiwald: We're not ready for 2018 you're saying.


Michael Waldman: I'm sorry for 2018. I'm still not ready for 2016.


Michael Waldman: We're not ready for 2018 intelligence community people of both parties are saying you know we need to secure our elections. And there's some basic steps. Paper ballots not all the machines in Pennsylvania are. I don't believe have paper ballots. The Congress actually passed almost 400 million dollars a few months ago for states to to buy new machines and upgrade and protect themselves. But it's up to all of us to make sure that our local officials do whatever they can do and at the Brennan Center for Justice at our website We actually have a checklist for citizens to to use to sort of say to local officials the county officials have you always things you have paper ballots just in case. Do you have an audit set up just in case. What are we going to do if the Russians attack us again or somebody else. So I think we can all do something about to protect the vote.


Aaron Freiwald: Right. I printed it out too and have it here eight ways you can help protect our elections from a cyberattack. And they are they're all things that we were all have a stake in the vote. We all have a stake in our vote and in everyone else's vote. So these this is really good and we'll post a link Michael to a number of the things that the Brennan Center has has published and we've referred to as well as the website for the Brennan Center so people can get to this information easily. I want to finish because we we've we've focused a lot of our conversations so far on the things that are wrong and the threats to the right to vote. And I know that you being who you are in the Brennan Center having the focus it has have also articulated proposals for what we could be doing better to get at the hundred million eligible American voters who sit at home for one reason or other when it comes time to vote. You know one of the things that I've always wondered about is why in this country we don't have an Election Day that is a holiday so that everybody can go vote.


Michael Waldman: Well you're exactly right. That amid all these kind of crazy and often partisan fights over these voting practices there's actually a lot that can be done to make it easier for people to vote to make it so that everybody who is eligible to vote can vote so that our voter participation rate is what it ought to be and I don't know if people realize but voter turnout in the last midterm election was at the lowest level in 72 years and there's a lot of different reasons for that but we can do more to make it so people can vote. So first of all as you mentioned why isn't election day holiday. We should at the very least make it possible for people to vote early if that's more convenient for them. And in a lot of places that is actually happening. About one out of three people now in the United States vote before Election Day. Now I live in New York which has some of the worst laws in the country and basically almost no early voting. But there there are all kinds of things we can do to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to vote early. There are ways to improve voter registration so that everybody who's eligible gets to vote. A lot of people don't vote because they've moved or they've changed their name or one way or another they've fallen off the rolls. Probably the most positive and exciting development in this area is the spread of automatic voter registration. Very proud that the Brennan Center where I work has played a key role in this. We developed the proposal first. Over a decade ago. And it now is in effect in 13 states.


Aaron Freiwald: And what is that Michael. What does that mean automatic registration.


Michael Waldman: What it means is that when you interact with the government and most states have started with that at the DMV You're automatically registered to vote unless you don't want to be. But but rather than putting it on the voter it's on the government to register everybody who's eligible unless they don't want to be. And if it were fully implemented all over the country it would add 50 million people to the rolls permanently and cost less and it would bolster election integrity and security for people who are especially worried about that. And it's increasingly bipartisan. It passed it for example in Illinois the legislature earlier this year unanimously it just was enacted in New Jersey. It was enacted over the governor's veto in Maryland it's happening all over the place and it uses computers to you know to replace the kind of old fashioned system that that actually kept a lot of people off the rolls not out of any bad intent but just because it wasn't a system designed for the way we live now there's a lot of other things like that that are happening all over the country to make it easier for people to vote that have a lot of momentum. So even though there are these bitter racially charged often efforts to restrict voting rights at the same time there's really positive movement in the States especially to expand access to voting. And I think and hope that that's really the wave of the future.


Aaron Freiwald: Well I hope so too. You know I think we all get frustrated but you're fighting the fight. And I also want to mention again you mentioned this earlier but this is a fight that goes back to the founding of our country. And so if people want to check out that history. Michael's book The Fight to Vote was just came out a couple of years ago and I recommend it as a great background on the history of this and also the website for the Brennan Center. I spent about an hour on it this morning looking through all kinds of things relating to the varying issues that we've been talking about so far. And of course the Brennan Center is involved in other issues as well. Besides besides voting rights and you can learn a lot more about some of the issues that the Brennan Center and Michael are working on but Michael I want to thank you very much. It was great to catch up with you on what you're doing and to talk to you about this really important issue and I wish you good luck in what you're doing.


Michael Waldman: Thank you. Thank you for what you are doing and thank you for keeping this conversation going.


Aaron Freiwald: Thanks Michael. Appreciate it.