Even idiots should have an equal vote, according to John Oliver. On his return to Last Week Tonight, Oliver jumped right into election year issues, specifically so-called voter ID laws, which have proliferated in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to curtail the Voting Rights Act.
Proponents of such laws argue that requiring voters show ID before casting their ballots are just “simple common sense measures” that don’t affect a “significant number of people.” “By that standard you could say ‘we’re going to incinerate everyone named Warren,'” said Oliver. “That’s not a ‘significant number of people,’ but you are going to have a pretty justifiably upset Warren Beatty on your hands.” Oliver argued that such laws actually disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters and they disproportionately impact African American and minority voters.
Advocates of Voter ID laws argue that they are an important tool to prevent fraud at the polls by stopping voter impersonation. Oliver pointed out that voter impersonation is actually “a pretty stupid crime” due to the risks far exceeding the reward of casting one vote. “In terms of pointless crimes it’s probably up there with forging a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon,” said Oliver.
According to Oliver, voter impersonation fraud is a fairly rare problem, like “deadly knife play by crabs.” However, ironically, one place it does occur — and frequently — is in state legislatures.