Good Law | Bad Law #107 - Doom and Gloom and What to Do About Voting w/ Joshua Douglas

Aaron Freiwald: [00:00:00.06] Welcome back to Good Law Bad Law with the votes from the midterm elections still being counted in Florida and Georgia and new claims of voter suppression of votes not being counted. Arguments and accusations flying back and forth. I thought we really needed to dig into this topic right now. And thanks to my guest, Joshua Douglas, who teaches election law and voting rights at the University of Kentucky law school, we have the perfect person to help us walk through these issues not only to understand what he calls the doom and gloom of voter suppression but also to tell us some stories of individuals who are actually making a difference to expand access to the polls to lower the obstacles to the right to vote. The all important right to vote, and he's written a book on this to which he's going to tell you about a fascinating book, an important look at this really vital issue. It's become a big issue in this election and it will be a big issue over the next two years as we gear up for the 2020 presidential election. Stay tuned for an exciting episode of Good Law Bad Law.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:01:25.43] Welcome back to Good Law Bad Law. On this episode, as votes are being counted and recounted in Florida and in Georgia following the exciting midterm elections this month it's important to talk about how we vote, how many of us vote and how many of us don't get a chance to vote. And with me to explore that is one of the country's leading experts on election law and voting rights, Josh Douglas who's a professor of law at the University of Kentucky law school. So first of all, Josh thanks so much for being on the program. I really appreciate it.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:02:05.36] Aaron thanks for having me.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:02:07.31] Josh in addition to teaching in this area on election law and voting rights and other aspects of the voting process has a new book out or coming out you'll tell us Josh but it's called Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting. So tell us about yourself Josh, before we get into our topic today... your background, the areas that you cover in your practice and in your writings.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:02:37.82] Great thank you. So yeah as you mentioned I'm a law professor at University of Kentucky College of Law and my specialty is election law and voting rights although I teach some other courses as well. All of my scholarship and writing is on the areas of election law and voting rights. And my previous scholarship has looked at numerous areas involving the constitutional right to voter I.D. issues those sorts of things. But I'm really excited about my new book coming out as you mentioned it's coming out in the spring although it's available already on Amazon for preorder and it's called Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting and it's a book for the general public. So although there's some law background I really wrote that book to be accessible for the average layperson. And what it does is tell stories of individuals who are working on positive changes to our democratic system and our electoral process. So you know we hear so much doom and gloom about our elections and you mentioned even in the introduction, voter suppression and not everyone has an easy access to the ballot. And that's true and there's been so much talk about that. And without minimizing the importance of those issues this book takes a positive spin on things. It explores the ways that we can improve turnout improve participation and the strategies that everyday individuals, I call them democracy champions in the book, are using it to fix the system and then I find the stories really inspiring when I was researching and writing and I hope the book buyers and others do as well.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:04:21.38] Well and I'm sure and I want to spend the second part of this episode talking about some of those stories that you describe in your book. But I don't think we can completely ignore the doom and gloom either because we're still in the throes of the aftermath of what many called the most important midterm election in our lifetime and I see those in the headlines and those descriptions and then wait excitedly to see what the voter turnout levels are going to be. And they're still so pitifully low. You know it struck me after the 2016 election that nearly 100 million people didn't vote in that election and here again we're seeing that play out and I just always believe we should be doing everything possible to make sure everybody can vote and yet still in this year, 2018,, it seems like more and more obstacles are being thrown up in the way of people exercising one of the most fundamental rights we have as Americans so maybe you could talk a little bit about what's going on in Florida and what we've heard has been going on in Georgia. Those are I think two very prominent examples where there are a lot of concerns about how the vote was carried out. Concerns raised by both of the two major political parties maybe you could just help us understand where we are right now just a week after the midterm elections.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:05:59.6] Sure. So you know you mentioned a lot of things that we would need to unpack in terms of the voter turnout. But I do agree. You know on the one hand you were saying that turnouts did surge in many places as compared to historical precedents. Yet overall turnout around the country for this midterm was about 50 percent. That is to say that half of the electorate didn't show up to vote for one reason or another which we can explored in just a moment. But to me that just does tell us that we have a fundamental problem with our democracy when only half the people are showing up to elect our leaders. There's nothing wrong with saying that we truly live in a representative democracy and we can do better and we must. And so we can't you know celebrate even though turnout actually did go up in many places. We can't celebrate that as sufficient. Now I think that the reason why you have low turnout is twofold. On the one hand there's a lot of voter apathy. People feel like my vote won't matter. I don't really have a say. Doesn't matter which side wins. And so we need to do something about the civics education in our country to explain why this actually does matter and educate people about how their vote can make a difference. And the second thing is you mentioned our structural hurdles to the ballot box for many people you know in many places voting is simply not that easy. I live in Kentucky. We have one day of voting Election Day. The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. if you aren't available on Election Day you can vote absentee but you have to give an excuse for getting an absentee ballot and that's it. By and large there's a couple other minor exceptions but by and large voting isn't that easy and you know perhaps no surprise that I waited almost an hour and a half to vote on Election Day. So there are a handful of structural barriers so things like not having lots of access to polling places. Certainly voter I.D. laws present a kind of not voter suppression but a hurdle for certain voters.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:08:24.97] Making it more difficult right.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:08:27.33] Yeah. And for some people and you know a lot of people listen to this podcast probably think well you know I have an idea in my pocket and everyone I know does too. But lots of people who typically live in inner cities or minorities are poor, work two jobs, use public transportation, don't have a need for a driver's license for example. And so there's the registration hurdle as well. Right. When many states have requirements that you have to register 30 days before an election. This day and age states don't need 30 days every time between the registration deadline and election day to make sure their voter rolls are ready to go for Election Day. And yet that 30 day requirement cuts a lot of people out of the process because if you're not someone who pays close attention to politics maybe you will in the weekend before Election Day. But if you hadn't registered a full month ahead of time you simply can't vote.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:09:23.88] And the argument against those kinds of measures or say against allowing registration up to and even including Election Day itself of the arguments for voter I.D. requirements which many studies have shown disproportionately affect the elderly, minorities, low income voters is always fraud. The threat of fraud. But I think most studies that have been done including President Trump's own commission which was set up to try to look at the widespread fraud that he proclaimed was there in the 2016 election. Most of the studies show there is no fraud or or very, very, very little fraud really.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:10:13.03] There's very little fraud and it's an isolated incident. The incident and typically local elections. Certainly a voter I.D. law doesn't root out any fraud that's in the system whatsoever. Voter I.D. requirement only can stop one kind of fraud that's in-person impersonation someone showing up to the polls and pretending to be someone else that simply doesn't happen for a variety of reasons. One is that it's a really horrible way to try to throw an election. You need to get a lot of people involved. And you're likely to get caught with the more people that you have in the scheme. Now that's not to say there is zero fraud in the system, there are sometimes absentee balloting fraud, there's sometimes a vote buying that occurs again, very isolated though. And so we had this big monster you know really started after the 2000 election and it wasn't even Bush v. Gore but it was the Senate election in Missouri that Mel Carnahan who had died in a plane crash two weeks prior to election day beat John Ashcroft and on election night it was the other Missouri Senator Kit Bond at the Ashcroft watch party who is banging on the podium and saying dogs and dead people threw this election and that created you know that along with Bush v. Gore created a frenzy particularly among Republicans that voter fraud was widespread and they use that to justify various suppression tactics or stricter election law. Now of course the mantra of voter fraud has been around for a long time. You know the concern of it as well led to restrictions like the secret ballot not restrictions. The rules like the secret ballot. You know over a century ago. So this isn't a new thing but certainly the modern era it's become much more wide spread. But really little evidence whatsoever to support it. And yet it gets into the public consciousness. People think now you know my elections are horrible, infected with fraud largely through anecdotes. You know when you talk to people and say "Oh I know there's lots of fraud. Well you know what do you know. And all my friends have said this, my friend has said that." But as you noted all of the academic studies to look at this have concluded that fraud is very, very minimal.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:12:30.94] Well we had that in Pennsylvania. They had, Pennsylvania, the legislature passed a voter I.D. law I think it was in 2014 or thereabouts and there was a whole trial where the proponents of the voter I.D. law had to come forth with evidence to show that there was fraud as a basis for this requirement. And the court ended up throwing out the case because there was no such evidence.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:12:54.04] Yes it did and that case is interesting because it contrasts with a case out of Indiana that went to the U.S. Supreme Court in which the U.S. Supreme Court essentially told the state you don't need to show detailed evidence of fraud to justify your law. You could just say you're worried about it. The Pennsylvania courts correctly in my view use the Pennsylvania Constitution the state constitution to say no the state's got a higher burden if it wants to pass a law that has the effect of disenfranchising valid voters. Of course you need to minimize that but also to justify the law you need to have better evidence and so what we've seen is some states, courts have used their state constitutions. This is something and I've written a lot about actually a legal scholarships to say that the right to vote should be protected more broadly under the state constitution than is under the federal Constitution.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:13:48.43] What about the early voting you mentioned that your state of Kentucky doesn't have early voting I know a lot of states have moved to early voting but then in some states there were subsequent moves to cut back. In other words they might have had and I'm making this up. But just to illustrate perhaps they passed a law that said you have to have a month of early voting and then another governor takes office and says no we're only going to allow a week of early voting. Why wouldn't we allow that. Because I mean there's no, that doesn't implicate the fraud argument. It just opens the doors more widely to allow more people to get into vote.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:14:30.51] So early voting really started after the 2004 election and Ohio is one of the first places that pushed it more strongly because the lines during the 2004 presidential election in Ohio were massively long. People were waiting throughout the night in some places. So the Ohio legislature bipartisan passed early voting for the 2006 election. And then it turned out that it was actually Democrats that tended to use early voting more particularly African-Americans would do what they refer to as Sould to the polls... drives where they bring buses to churches and bring churchgoers to the polls after church on Sundays. And so it was the Republican controlled legislature in Ohio that then cut back. So you know one might say well there's a political reason for that. You know to give those who oppose early voting their sort of best argument. I think there's two reasons why you might want to pull back on early voting. One is that studies have actually shown that early voting by itself hasn't improved turnout, at least not yet. What it's done is it's time displaced the voters... voters who are already likely to go on election day are just going earlier instead. And so the argument might be 'well what's the benefit' especially because it's costly. It costs some money to have early voting. The other argument I've heard is that the next day is sort of the collective wisdom of the electorate all geared up to one day. So you know you vote three weeks early and things change and maybe you would have voted a different way or you know it's better to have all the focus on one day. You know my book doesn't have a chapter on early voting and it talked about a lot of positive reforms to improve our election system. I decided not to devote a chapter to early voting because the studies haven't shown yet that it's improved turnout. I do think it reduces lines on Election Day but I think there are better ways that some states have adopted... a better mechanism that some states have adopted such as universal vote by mail where every eligible elector, every voter is sent automatically a ballot in the mail to return at drop offs or through the postal service. And so there's essentially no in-person voting. Colorado has kind of a hybrid system or they have if you want to do in-person voting you could as well. But in any event there are different ways to do it. Early voting I think is probably a positive reform. It's surprising to me that the turnout numbers haven't increased in the states that have done it. I do think again that it certainly reduces the line on election day itself. But I think there are even better forms that we could adopt.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:17:21.18] Ok. So well now you've opened the door. Now I'm going to walk through it. You've got this book that focuses on these positive steps that are already being taken in some parts of the country and you're urging that the people need to you know expand those efforts. So one idea you've already shared is the idea of mailing in votes that everybody would do that. What are some, as you did your research for the book and talked to people who are out there trying to open the doors more widely and also trying to fight against the hurdles that get put in place of people's right to vote... what are some of the other measures that you've found could be successful in improving the situation?

 

Josh Douglas: [00:18:12.3] Well I'd put it into essentially three different buckets. Who can vote. The sort of who is in the eligible elector structural things about the voting process. Election Day itself making Election Day more convenient. And then the third being even broader structural things about our governmental system like gerrymandering and public finance. I'll talk about each one very briefly.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:18:36.61] Okay.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:18:37.12] We can go into some more details...on who can vote affect the eligible electorate some ways to doing some innovative things like there are some cities that have lowered the voting age to 16 for local elections and coupled that with improved civics education in High School. Takoma Park, Maryland was the first place to do that and now it's spread to a handful of other places in Maryland and in fact Washington D.C. is about to pass a law that will lower the voting age in the District's elections as well. And studies have shown that that improves turnout. The turnout among 16, 17 year olds is often about double that of the other. The rest of the electorate and psychological studies show that 16 year olds are actually capable of what psychologists referred to as cold cognition or the ability to make reasoned judgments and decisions. So by lowering the voting age and then coupling it with much more meaningful civics education we can create a whole new generation of engaged habitual voters. The other eligibility aspect I think that's interesting is the re-enfranchisement of felons.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:19:45.66] Yeah.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:19:45.96] We just saw Florida voters pass a state constitutional amendment that re-enfranchises over one point four million former felons and there are other places that have had not as widespread but still some smaller successes actually opened the book with a kind of surprising story from my own state of Kentucky where even though Kentucky has one of the worst felon disenfranchisement laws in the country in that it disenfranchises people for life. The legislature was convinced to ease the law just ever so slightly because of the advocacy of someone named Wes Powell spoke up and told the story.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:20:23.67] You tell his in some detail in your book, I know.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:20:27.96] Yeah and it's a really entertaining inspiring you know how he stood up and just started to talk about how he had made mistakes 20 years prior and he had cleaned up his life and he had gotten married had a family and had a steady job yet he couldn't vote because Kentucky disenfranchises people for life. And that convinced the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Kentucky and then that Republican convinced his fellow Republicans to enact a law that allowed this guy Wes Powell to get an expungement of his record. And then Wes has been a habitual voter. You know a regular voter in every election since.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:21:04.92] Right. Great story.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:21:06.54] On the election. Election Day making things more convenient. Again all of these in the book I tell stories about people who are involved in making these reforms. I really like the story I know about this guy named Scott Doyle in Colorado who became the head of elections of Larimer County Colorado and he noticed that it was actually election day 2000 when he noticed that some people were turned away from their polling places that they simply had gone to the wrong  polling place, they didn't know where they needed to go and then turned to the correct one but were turned away because the polls closed at that point. And he thought to himself you've got to have a better way. He ... took a pen and a paper out and he started sketching out models of voting and realized that a vote center system could work where you can show up anywhere in the county to vote. You don't have to go to your home base precinct were you're assigned but they're all electronically connected. And so if was closer to home or closer to work. You can go to the vote center near you. And they enacted that. And so Colorado has a kind of I mentioned it's sort of a hybrid system where every voter is mailed a ballot that they can fill out at home after educating themselves and then either drop it off or mail it in. Or if you want to vote person on Election Day you can go to any of the vote centers in your county. And it doesn't matter which one you go to and vote. It's sort of the ultimate in convenience and again they've put in failsafe mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the system as well. There's a handful of other similar examples things like voter registration. But one of the most compelling policy arguments in favor of these reforms is that the states with the highest turnout in the past elections have eased registration rules like same day registration or automatic registration or policies like universal vote by mail. So we can actually see that these things work.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:23:10.55] They're actually tied to greater voter turnout.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:23:14.9] Yeah they are and the elections in those states weren't like the battleground states. I mean Minnesota had a very high turnout in 2016 wasn't a battleground state for the presidential election but it has same day registration so that voter who's only started to pay attention the weekend before can go to the polls and register and vote at the same time. And then I'll mention briefly the third sort of category I said about a broader structure and then we can get into detail if you'd like. But things like gerrymandering and campaign finance reform. So after the 2016 election. A woman in Michigan named Katie Fahy posted on Facebook and said "I'm thinking of taking on gerrymandering in Michigan anyone want to join in." And she was shocked when hundreds and then thousands of people responded and it turned into a large grassroots organization that they called "voters not politicians." And they gathered signatures. They gathered thousands and thousands of signatures all through volunteers and got a ballot measure on the ballot for this past election to amend the state constitution to take redistricting the process drawing lines away from self-interested politicians and place it with an independent commission and the voters passed it just a little over a week ago. So this is a great story about how one person created a movement to take on the political establishment and those district lines drawn in a strange shape that you know how they're going to perform. And now Michigan is going to have an independent redistricting commission thanks to her and her fellow volunteers' work.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:24:55.06] Incredible. That was just, that was the initiative just passed on the Michigan statewide ballot this year.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:25:00.76] Yeah.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:25:00.97] That's incredible. Wow.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:25:02.59] Yeah. So we have a two year process. That's why she posted it on the day after the 2016 election and she was working at another different job. She said she's working for the Michigan Recycling Coalition and stayed on that job for a while I think just earlier twenty eighteen she finally devoted her full time and attention to "voters not politicians." But you know this shows that everyday people, everyday ordinary Americans can do extraordinary things to change the process in their own communities. And the same thing goes with public financing. So Maine has been very successful with it's public financing system and largely thanks to people like a woman I profile in the book named Alice Smith a stay at home mom who decides to take on public financing and campaign finance as an issue and became a primary spokesperson for the cause. So now I think the message is state and local reforms can make a difference. A lot of these things started at the grassroots level in the local community and that it's everyday Americans who have the power to convince their fellow citizens that these reforms are really worthwhile and can actually make a difference. Now again we have to fight things like voter suppression. We saw in North Dakota this past election voter I.D. laws that impacted Native Americans. And we see the recounts that you mentioned earlier going on in Florida and Georgia amidst a bunch of voter suppression. You see things like the secretary of state of Georgia who runs the state elections is also the candidate for governor. And so writing rules that impact his own election these are all things that we need to worry about. But if we only worry about voter suppression then I think that's half the battle. We certainly have to do that. But if we do only that we're kind of playing whack a mole against the latest abuse... we can also go a lot further if we focus on positive enhancements as well.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:27:02.26] Well that also brings me to one of the things that I wanted ask you about which is, it's my understanding and correct me if I'm mistaken on this that although it hasn't been done the federal government could set federal standards for voting? Instead, there's been a sort of passive decision or a tacit decision to leave it to the states individually to set their own voting structures and rules and regulations but the federal government could under the Constitution set a national standard and a national framework. Do you think that should happen and would that be a good thing?

 

Josh Douglas: [00:27:47.74] Well the federal government could certainly set national rules for federal elections and then states could decide to comport with those and run the state elections on the same day. What the Constitution says is that the time, place and manner of holding elections shall be directed by the states unless Congress decides to jump in essentially. Congress and override a state laws. And it has in some circumstances, the Voting Rights Act mandated national rules with respect to not suppressing the votes of minority voters. The National Voter Registration Act also known as the Motor Voter set uniform standards nationwide standards for voter registration. You know I think two things one the likelihood of Congress enacting new rules maybe got a little bit better with the Democrats taking over the house and they said that voting rights is going to be one of their primary things that they focused on to begin. Of course they have to get bipartisan agreement for any rules. There's also something to say though however for a local experimentation. You know you think of the butterfly ballot in Florida in the 2000 election and apparently there is about the effect in Broward County this year which may have caused some people not to vote in the Senate race. You know what if the federal government had mandated certain ballot design that was flawed that then was used nationwide. So I think there are some virtues for local experimentation. You know I wouldn't say that Congress necessarily right now should lower the voting age for 16 for all elections. Let's see how it works in little counties that have done it. I'm pretty excited and positive about the reform based on what's happened so far. I think there is some merit to having local control, local experimentation. Of course there's got to be a baseline. And so when you have suppression of valid votes then that is the sort of area where I think Congress can and do some good.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:29:49.49] Well. And there are in the law so many examples on the other side, examples where the government leads and the states follow or examples where the states you know are the innovators and the federal government plays catch up eventually. It sounds like you're saying there are good arguments for letting some of the elections that are playing out in different states even in smaller subsets of states communities letting those innovations play out and see how those might work and which ones do work well and hope that they catch on.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:30:22.99] Yeah you know and I'd say that you know some voter expansions have started local and state level then gone national... I'm thinking of things like women's suffrage. There are a handful of localities and states that allowed women to vote in either all elections or just school board elections before finally the 19th Amendment did that nationwide, now certainly it would have been better to just do it all at once for everyone as early as possible... but to get buy in I think sometimes you need some of the local victories. Now of course the Voting Rights Act of 1965 greatly expanded the ability of minorities to vote. And it's not clear if localities would have done that on their own. So I think there's good circumstances for starting at a grassroots local level or going through a top down if you can get the top down to actually succeed. I guess what I'm saying is often local experimentation can help get buy in for what might seem like a radical or a different way of doing things and then once a handful of places do it then you'll see more and more widespread growth. You know another good example is ranked choice voting, a different voting mechanism instead of voting for one person. Voters can rank order the the candidates in order of preference. And then there's an accounting system essentially that that gives you a better overall sense of the electorate. Well started in San Francisco, in early 2007 spread to a couple other places and then this past election Maine used it for their congressional elections moving the statewide Senate race. So that's another good example where a local innovation in how we vote has spread now to a full statewide election. I would suspect that voters generally love the system of ranked choice voting and I would think that it might expand even further.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:32:10.32] I guess that would be a system that would also reduce the risk of having to go through a runoff because you would essentially be building the runoff into the first round vote.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:32:22.02] That's exactly right. You have a runoff going on in Mississippi for Senate and I know we might have runoff in Georgia for Governor depending on how that recount plays out. And the runoffs, generally speaking, tend to be much lower turnout as a general matter and the ranked choice voting collapses that into one gives people the ability to have a say and giving their preference in terms of their order and then improves turnout overall. Also the other interesting thing that rank choice voting does is it reduces negative ads because candidates you know if you're talking to a voter who supports your opponent as number one you still want the number two choice as opposed to having them rank you lower so you're less likely to throw mud at your opponent. And that's exactly what you know Minneapolis uses for their mayor election. Exactly what a lot of the candidates that rank choice voting did for them as well. And in fact the Academy Awards uses ranked choice voting to select the best picture winner.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:33:29.08] Wow I did not know that.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:33:31.38] It's already being used in even non electoral places.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:33:38.34] Well Josh I know your time is limited but I have to ask you about one last subject and of course we do have these unresolved elections in Florida and in Georgia and there is a racial component to both in both instances. You have a black Democratic candidate for governor who's running currently behind. You mentioned the candidate for the Republican candidate in Georgia who was the secretary of state in charge of the elections and is running somewhat ahead in the current tallying but there's all kinds of allegations of voters having been suppressed there. You know not touting Oprah but she did give a very powerful speech in support of the Democratic candidate there and talked in that speech about urging people to remember the sacrifices their parents and grandparents made some of them dying in the fight to overcome obstacles put in front of the... literally in front of the polling places. You know a generation or two ago. What are some of the positive things you think can be done and need to be done to address some of those deeply entrenched not just a part of history but part of our present too, types of suppression that disproportionately affect those who historically were kept from the polls.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:35:18.55] So great example I think and you're right there is certainly a racial component in both recounts that are going on in Georgia and Florida. And you know if the felons had been able to vote had the other regain the right back in Florida I bet you we wouldn't be in the recount situation that we're in the enfranchising one point four million individuals in that state and in Georgia allegations of voter registration issues and whatnot. This is where I think boots on the ground really can make a difference. And so I point to some stories I tell in the book about individuals who are quite literally re enfranchising or enfranchising people by getting them I.D.s. So voter I.D. laws as much as I think they're not worth a while in terms of combating against existing fraud are likely here to stay. And so advocates of voting rights need to find a way to make sure that those laws don't disenfranchise people. And so there's a couple of groups that I talk about ones called 'Vote Riders' and the others called 'Spread the Vote'. They're actually working in communities in numerous states to bring people to the DMV to get them the I.D. to work with them to figure out what documentation they need. Now some people use birth certificates but you're born in a different state. Either they get that birth certificate if you don't have a copy of it. You know I talk about people like Molly McGrath and Kat Calvin who are working with these for these different organizations that actually started Spread the Vote. And you know they're working in minority communities and doing essentially voter registration drives but their voter I.D. drives where they're figuring out who doesn't have an I.D.. And this has the benefit of both getting them I.D.s which can help them in their everyday lives. I didn't know this before I researched the book but if you don't have an I.D. it's often hard to get it go into a shelter or go into a food pantry. So it helps in their daily lives it and then it also encourages them to participate in our democracy. And so you know I think again it's all about boots on the ground, community grassroots work that can enfranchise people. You know one voter at a time.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:37:32.14] Well I just you know as we're wrapping up I also have to put my vote in favor of young people too because you know they're not burdened with that history. I don't think they see color the same way at all. I don't think they see differences the same way. And I think they are my middle daughter Olivia was registering voters all summer and all this fall in Pennsylvania. I think young people becoming engaged in the process. I love the idea of the example you gave of some places that have lowered the voting age to 16. Getting young people energized and involved and working on this issue. I think that's just going to be so important in what happens over the next two years till the next election and beyond. So here we are watching the votes being counted and hoping that everything turns out okay. However the votes come out but I know there's an awful lot in your book Josh that you've given us just a taste of and I want to encourage people to take a look at it. You can get it on Amazon now. It's again called "Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting." Josh Douglas From the University of Kentucky School of Law. Thank you so much for being on Good Law Bad Law. I really really appreciate it very much.

 

Josh Douglas: [00:39:04.58] Thanks. This has been fun.