John Oliver is back with his first new episode in 2016 of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” and he wasted no time going after Republican attempts to block access to the ballot box with restrictive voter ID laws.
As Oliver put it, voting is “the cornerstone of American democracy — the unshakeable principle that everyone should have an equal vote, even idiots… even this guy”:
“I know it’s painful, but his vote should count as much as yours,” Oliver said.
While some states have made it easier for everyone to vote, others have taken a different approach.
The Republicans who back voter ID laws say they’re designed to protect the integrity of the ballot, make sure people only vote once and guarantee that the person who shows up to vote is actually the person who is registered. In reality, those laws often disproportionately target minorities, who are less likely to have identification. Black voters are nearly twice as likely as whites to lack ID, and Latino voters are 2.42 times as likely to lack ID.
An ID “is just one of those things white people seem to be more likely to have, like a sunburn or an Oscar nomination,” Oliver said.
But Oliver found that many of the same legislators who claim the law is about preventing voter fraud and impersonation don’t actually follow those same rules when they vote. In some states, these lawmakers not only cast their own votes in legislative sessions, they also cast ballots on behalf of absent colleagues, a practice that’s known as “ghost votes.”
Tennessee lawmakers even have sticks to reach the voting buttons at nearby desks.
“If you are going to pervert democracy, could you at least do it with a less creepy stick?” Oliver suggested. “That looks like what an evil leprechaun would use to beat a child.”
Check it out in the clip above.
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