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Maddow: Democratic Voter Registration 'Devastated' In Florida

Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews discussed some newly released data that reveals the effects of new Republican Voter ID legislation on the numbers of newly registered voters, and compares the numbers to those of previous election periods. The results are startling.

Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews discussed some newly released data that reveals the effects of new Republican Voter ID legislation on the numbers of newly registered voters, and compared the numbers to those of previous election periods. The results are startling.

Rachel begins:

"Nikki Haley signed a law last year making it harder to vote in South Carolina. You have to show documentation you never had to show before, and that 200,000 people in her state, who are legal voters, it's documentation they do not have. There was one point on this issue about voter suppression , making it harder to vote that I want to particularly highlight, because we are in Florida tonight. We're heading into Ann Romney 's speech, but keep in mind the importance of the location in which this speech is happening. This is probably going to be the highest profile moment of the entire convention, we're going to get from Ann Romney , except maybe her husband's speech. But in the state of Florida, where tonight's Republican convention is being held, last July, Republicans in the state passed a whole slew of new restrictions that make it harder to register to vote in the state."

"Voting rights activists at the time said it would disproportionately affect minority voters who tend to lean Democratic. Those activists appear to be proven right."

"Today the Florida Times Union released some remarkable new analysis on voter registration in Florida that Ialmost cannot believe. In the lead up to the '04 Presidential Election , look at this. This is what the increase in voter registration looked like on the Democratic side. That was '04, 159,000 new Democrats registered to vote over that time period . In '08, same time period , 13 months, it was pretty much the same story, right. Democratic voter registration surging in the same time period before the election. But then last year, Florida republicans made it harder to register to vote in the state. Look at what has happened in the lead up to this year's election over an equivalent time period . Look. New Democratic voter registration has disappeared in Florida. It has fallen off a cliff, over the same amount of time -- look, the Republican numbers have been basically static."

"The way they have changed these laws in these states have partisan outcomes. Voter registration drives like the ones that were crimped in Florida tend to get Democrats signed up. You get rid of those, you get rid of Democratic voters. Thanks in part to these new republican laws, Democratic voter registration has been absolutely devastated in florida heading into the 2012 election. Since the beginning of last year, its 19 states that have put in place strict new barriers to voting or barriers to registering to vote, barriers that have never been there before in modern times -- but which you just heard Nikki Haley defend to the Republican National Convention audience -- and which got her a rather lusty round of cheering from that audience."

Joined by Chris Matthews, he adds "Wherever this issue of voter ID, and more difficult voter registration or participation gets in these proposed changes that are now law, the more the Republicans cheer. of course, we had the legislative leader up in Harrisburg openly saying this will help Romney carry the state. It's blatantly partisan. And I have to tell you, I was talking to the Reverend Jesse Jackson today, and he points out there's a real strategy here. One is suppression, the other is frustration of minority voters. Not just stopping them from voting, discourage them because it's so hard to do. In states like Pennsylvania, you have to go back to the cities of your birth in South Carolina, and you have to come up with the documentation. It's also encouraging white anger. It's an interesting pincer that is their plan here."

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