All-Star Panel: Inside the battle over new voting laws

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," August 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GOV. PATRICK MCCRORY, R – N.C.: Let me be direct.  Many of those from the extreme left who have been criticizing photo I.D. are using scare tactics. They are more interested in divisive politics than ensuring that no one's vote is disenfranchised by a fraudulent ballot.

WILLIAM BARBER, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP PRESIDENT: This bill is not about voter I.D. It is 57 pages of regressive, unconstitutional acts to rig and manipulate elections through voter suppression.


SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: And moments after it was signed the legal challenges began.  Let's talk about it now with our panel. We have got this new law in North Carolina it's not just about voter I.D. but cuts down early voting, same day registration, all kinds of things. Juan, do you think it will withstand legal muster?

JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE HILL: No. There are lots of -- when I look at the polls, most Americans support voter I.D. Most Americans are pretty clear in their thinking that if you have to as Governor McCrory said, show some I.D. to get into the airport or get --

BREAM: Buy cold medicine.

WILLIAMS: Anything, yeah that you should be required to – now the difference in my mind is, of course, that voting is a constitutional right and that you shouldn't have any impediment to pursue your constitutional rights.

But again, this is something way beyond that, as we just heard from that civil rights advocate, Reverend Barber, I believe, in which he said you are limiting – I think you're going from 17 days of voting down to 10. If you change your address now, you have to make the change in terms it of your I.D. within 25 days. The hours of voting are constrained. This really is an effort to suppress the vote. I don't know how you get away from that and I don't know how any judge, to answer your question, Shannon, wouldn't see it as such.

BREAM: I think I maybe saw an eye roll from Jason.


JASON RILEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: No, polite disagreement is what you saw. That was the expression I was going for.  The problem here is that there is no evidence that laws of this sort actually suppress the black vote. Black voter participation has been going up. It has been trending up -- a trend that began before Obama. In last year's presidential election, black voter turnout exceeded white voter turnout, even as law -- these laws have been passed in various states. There is simply no evidence that these laws suppress black voter turnout. States like Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, have some of the strictest voter I.D. laws in the country. In those states last year, black voter turnout exceeded white voter turnout. If Republicans are trying to suppress the black vote, they are doing a spectacularly bad job of it.

BREAM: Well, you mentioned Indiana. Of course that state's voter I.D. law was challenged all the way to the Supreme Court five years ago. Justice John Paul Stephens, not of the right wing persuasion said basically, you know, if you have to show up at a DMV office, turn in documents and pose for a picture --that is not too much to ask from somebody who wants to vote.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: That's why I think the claim that it's unconstitutional is simply not going to hold up.

BREAM: At least on that point -- we're talking about voter I.D. because there's a lot there.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's usually the sticking point in all of these cases.  And it's also the political point.

But there is one aspect of the political argument that I think is missed. The left gets the prestige of this by saying that its position is to prevent people from being -- from losing the right to vote, from being disenfranchised. But, if you go to the polls and you vote for A, and by a fraud, say an illegal immigrant or somebody who is -- who voted already votes for candidate B, your vote has A has been cancelled. So in effect you also have been deprived of your vote. So I think, it ought to be seen in those terms. There are ways of depriving another person of the vote. A is to stop them. Second is to cancel the vote by allowing illegal fraudulent voting. So I think there is equal moral standing on the two sides.

WILLIAMS: Let me just suggest that there is no evidence of any such thing going on. There is no evidence, and, in fact, Governor McCrory went so far as to say undetected fraud because he has no evidence of any fraud.

BREAM: I will say to that point, Greg Abbott, the attorney general who's now running for governor down in Texas, says they have prosecuted many, many of these cases. In Florida, we have seen the same thing, I don't know about North Carolina but it does happen.

WILLIAMS: It happens – oh no, everything happens. People fall off buildings. People -- you know -- fall off bridges. What I'm saying as a matter of influencing or changing an election outcome, when was the last time we heard about that?

KRAUTHAMMER: You think that somebody casting a ballot fraudulently is as infrequent as somebody falling off a bridge?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think you have fallen off a bridge.

BREAM: No one is falling off a bridge.

KRAUTHAMMER: Elections aren't clean and every attempt --


WILLIAMS: Believe me, we have such -- we have fly spec surveillance of our elections in this country. And if there was any evidence that any Democrat was pursuing cheating in this manner, boy, would Republicans be ballistic, Charles.

KRAUTHAMMER: If you believe that our elections are clean, you believe that baseball is clean. I'm not sure either is true.

BREAM: Where is Bud Selig? Paging Bud Selig. By the way, something we didn't get to but we will talk about maybe later on, the issue that Hillary Clinton did weigh in on this issue. And she said of the North Carolina law, it was the greatest hits of voter suppression, and also it sounds like when he was asked a question Anthony Weiner maybe suggested she is gearing up to run, saying he already knows what his wife's role will be in 2016. More on that.

That's it for this panel. Stay tuned. You know some say the most successful sports teams benefit from athletes who can read each other's minds. Up next, we will introduce to you a group of athletes who may be doing just that.

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