Now that it’s 2016, John Oliver is finally sinking his teeth into the election—but not any of the sexy parts.
While he did address the push to stop President Obama from replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia after his sudden death Saturday, Oliver had bigger fish to fry—specifically, obstacles to voting.
Some states’ voter ID laws, ostensibly designed to stop voter fraud, instead prevent large groups of voters—disproportionately blacks and Latinos—from being able to exercise their rights. The Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, thus setting up this spate of laws, and now, with such an important election ahead of us, millions of people may be unable to vote.
To Oliver, voter ID laws are pointless. Why would anyone stand in line, potentially for hours, to impersonate someone else to cast a vote? An investigation into voter fraud in South Carolina, which holds its presidential primaries this month, found five out of 207 suspicious ballots that couldn’t be accounted for by clerical errors or other explanations. It’s something that happens about as often as a knife-wielding crab: it exists, but there isn’t a need to overreact to it.
But once you look into politicians’ reasons for sponsoring voter ID laws, it starts to make sense. And ironically, some of the states that have the strictest voter ID laws in the country have state legislatures that are guilty of committing voting fraud themselves.
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