Brow Beat

John Oliver Tackled the Hypocrisy of Voter ID Laws in His Last Week Tonight Return    

Over the past decade, voter ID laws have become an increasingly hot topic. Proponents argue that voter fraud is a rampant threat to our democracy, one that must be curtailed by rules requiring everyone to show ID before casting a vote. But, as John Oliver pointed out on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight return, studies show that these laws disproportionately impact black and Latino voters, and that voter fraud is not nearly as common as supporters of these measures say. Oliver likened voter fraud to forging a Bed Bath and Beyond coupon: “It’s a lot of trouble with low reward.”

Since 2011, seven states have curtailed early voting, Oliver said, and 13 have added requirements that voters show some kind of ID at the polls. But voter IDs can be hard to get, especially when you consider how rare voter fraud actually is. “These voter ID laws are the biggest over-reaction to a manageable problem since Sleeping Beauty’s father ordered all the spinning wheels in the land to be burned,” Oliver said before launching into a compilation reel of an apparently more common form of voting fraud: lawmakers voting for one another in legislative sessions, which is also called “ghost voting.”