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[00:00:00]

You're listening to Comedy Central now. Mrs. Tina Lee Chapman, welcome to The Daily Social Distancing Show. Thank you. Thank you for having us.

[00:00:10]

Thank you, Mrs. Tina. I'm going to start with you. You penned an open letter to some of the most powerful people in this country. And in it, you shared so many emotions that many Americans share, many mothers share and many black mothers share specifically. It was emotional, it was powerful. And the gist of it was the government needs to dedicate money to making sure that everybody has access to voting in the November general election. That was a big step for you to take.

[00:00:41]

What did you hope to achieve from an open letter?

[00:00:44]

Well, I was hoping with the help, the help of the mothers of the movement and the leadership conference and some of my friends who signed on to the letter to just make some noise about it and bring attention and awareness to it, because quite honestly, until I started working with the leadership conference on and I still vote, I didn't even realize that there was a bill on the table and that it had been approved way back in May by the House of Representatives, but that it was sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk.

[00:01:18]

And I just feel like it's our right to that money to create a safe environment for people to go out and do their civic duty. You shouldn't have to choose between the two. So it was really important and hopefully it brought it shined a light on that for poor people and connected the dots.

[00:01:37]

Yeah, that was one of the lines from your letter that really struck a chord with so many people. And that was we should not have to choose between public health and a functioning democracy. Many people do feel like that is going to be the choice that people need to make. It feels like that struck a chord with you on a very personal level. Tell me why. Absolutely.

[00:01:57]

Because of all the voter suppression, the recent elections that they held and people were waiting for five hours, you know, six hundred fifty thousand people were registered to vote and they have one voting location. I mean, it's just ridiculous. We're in America and a lot of people contact contracted kulp it from being out. Why do you have to decide between the two when the government is giving funds to companies to big business to to help them out? And then you don't want to spend the money to help create a safe environment for us to vote?

[00:02:37]

It's it's just like a no brainer. I don't understand it.

[00:02:40]

Lee, you've been instrumental in pushing this cause forward your cell phone to have become a power duo in moving this idea through the halls of Congress and hopefully through the Senate as well. What do you think people miss about this conversation? You know, there's a lot of people who say, like, oh, I don't think there's an issue. If you want to wait to vote you if you want to vote, you wait to vote. I don't know why people are complaining.

[00:03:03]

What do you think they're missing in the conversation or voting really needs to be safe and accessible. And we need to have a democracy where everyone can participate. And that's why we're calling on Congress to pass the Heroes Act, because it would provide an essential three point six billion dollars in funding during this pandemic so states can mail absentee ballots to voters. So so voters can have at least two weeks of early voting where they can safely social distance and cast their ballot.

[00:03:31]

It's so critical that voters have all options to cast their ballot this November. And it's really a travesty because yesterday the Senate introduced the Heel's Act, which actually allocated zero funding for elections. And the next two weeks are going to be critical when it comes to making sure that this election funding is in the final stimulus package that actually passes Congress. So that's why, Miss Tina, the leadership conference and our insta vote campaign is doing everything we can to drive calls to the Senate, texts and tweets to make sure that voters don't have to choose between their health and their vote this year.

[00:04:10]

There are a lot of people in America who are really concerned about the idea of in voting. Obviously, the president doesn't help with his tweets and his messages. But but there are many Americans on the ground who say, I just don't feel safe with this idea. Surely we should go there to to deliver our ballots in person. Are we setting ourselves up for some disaster votes going missing, votes being tampered with? How do you respond to that concern?

[00:04:33]

Vote by mail is safe. It's secure. Over five states exclusively use vote by mail. So it's something that one in four Americans use to cast their ballot in twenty eighteen. So we're advocating for increased vote by mail, but also increased ways where people can drop the drop it off. Like Miss Tina said, their absentee ballot drop boxes all across Washington and California has it. So we really need all options for voters to cast their ballot this year.

[00:05:02]

As you said, so many, so many states. Have done a lot. I guess it's a small amount relative to the larger number, but are you worried at all that these states will be able to implement it properly? I mean, we've seen how how how American states can botch a new election or a new idea with it, whether it be for the primaries or anything else. Are you worried that trying to do something new may lead to a disaster that then adds even more sparks to the sort of flame that's already burning in this country?

[00:05:29]

We're a hundred days, fewer than one hundred days out from the election. And so it's essential that states receive this funding now because time is running out. So that's why we've been pushing on Congress, because states need to be able to hire more poll workers. States need to be actually able to purchase more machines, more absentee ballot scanners. So all this takes time and money. And so that's why time is of the essence when it comes to making sure that states are ramping up vote by mail so voters can cast their ballot this year.

[00:06:02]

It is going to be a contentious year. It is going to be a year where everyone is watching the polls even closer than ever before. And it feels like people are going to be in a place where when the election comes around, we may not know the results for a day or two days, maybe three days, maybe even longer. Are you worried at all about what that might do to the country when you have a president who has already started planting the seeds for the idea that in voting is fraud?

[00:06:32]

Well, you know what the president is saying through his tweets and through Facebook, it's really a scare tactic. Plain and simple turnout is going to be very large this year. And so but is going to take time for local election officials to process those ballots. So it's we all need to get comfortable with the fact that we may not know the election results for at least a week after Election Day. I think Americans are used to watching the news on election night and getting those instant results.

[00:07:01]

But we need to let the process play out, let a local election officials do their job and count those ballots.

[00:07:11]

I have to ask you a question about what happened in Louisville that became like a very strange point of contention for people in talking around about elections. Everyone saw the lines. Everyone saw people stuck outside. They saw how they extend voting hours. But at the same time, officials in Louisville said, hey, we had one of the largest turnouts and our mailing voting worked. And really we had to compromise between mainland voting and having polling stations open. Do you think that it has to be a choice?

[00:07:42]

Does America have to choose between mail in voting and having enough polling stations?

[00:07:46]

Not if it's funded, which is exactly what we're talking about. If there is funding available, then there is we just don't want to give them any excuses. But I don't think that you should have to that one should affect the other. They should both be available because it's our right as Americans to have that choice.

[00:08:06]

Yeah. And in Louisville, Kentucky, there was one polling place for over six hundred thousand voters, as I mentioned earlier. And when those polls closed, we saw images of voters banging on the doors to get in. I know when you're in line, when the polls close, you're entitled to vote. So they eventually did get in. But we shouldn't have long lines. We shouldn't have voters having to bend down the doors in order to cast their constitutional and fundamental right to vote.

[00:08:35]

You both on the front lines, pushing this message in Congress throughout the halls. Is there something that people at home can do if they want to help out? Yes.

[00:08:43]

If you go to and still vote, it will just put you through the process to call the senators. And we need to bombard them with phone calls and don't give up. Just keep going, because this is just so important. It is important to to all people, but especially black and brown people. There has to be a change, guys.

[00:09:08]

And I would just add register to vote check to make sure that you're registered. Over 17 million voters were purged from the rolls between twenty sixteen and twenty eighteen alone. So double check to make sure you're still on the voter rolls. You make a plan to vote. Whether that's requesting an absentee ballot or vote by mail ballot, whether it's voting early, in-person or on Election Day, know how you're going to get there, know where your polling place is, because it's critically important that we all participate this year and have your I.D., the proper I.D., make sure that you have your I.D. with you.

[00:09:44]

Give them no excuses. Thank you so much both for joining me today, Mrs Chapman. I appreciate you both.

[00:09:50]

Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. The Daily Show with Criminal Lawyers edition once The Daily Show weeknights at 11:00, 10:00 Central on Comedy Central and the Comedy Central Watch full episodes and videos at The Daily Show Dotcom. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to The Daily Show on YouTube for exclusive content and more. This has been a Comedy Central podcast now.