Brow Beat

“Florida Man” Controls Your Right to Vote, Warns John Oliver

You’ve surely heard about the exploits of the infamous Florida Man, the meme-worthy star of headlines such as “Florida Man, Drunk and Naked, Allegedly Set House on Fire in Failed Cookie Baking Attempt” and “Florida Man Stops to Help Stranded Motorist Who Turned Out to be Hitman Hired to Kill Him.” Of course, there’s no actual, singular Florida Man, but the title, as passed from individual to individual, embodies the kind of wacky Floridian exploits that keep the rest of the country shaking its head in disbelief. However, those exploits can quickly go from wacky to alarming, John Oliver warned on Sunday night, when Florida Man controls your voting rights.

In this case, Florida Man is governor Rick Scott, who, along with his cabinet, has the power to decide whether convicted felons should be allowed to vote after they’ve completed their sentences. The revelation was part of a Last Week Tonight segment about felony disenfranchisement in which Oliver zeroed in on Florida to make a point about the approximately 6 million Americans who can’t vote because of states’ laws. “The worst state of all regarding this and arguably everything else is Florida,” said Oliver, explaining the long, complicated process that people with felony convictions go through to try to earn back their rights, often unsuccessfully.

Oliver did note that there’s a proposal on the Florida ballot in November that would restore voting rights to those who have finished serving their time. Oliver urged other Floridians to take action by voting to help their fellow citizens who can’t—and he did so in the most Florida way possible.