Brow Beat

John Oliver Explains Why You Should Pay Attention to Your Local Sheriff’s Election

Not every sheriff is a Joe Arpaio. As John Oliver pointed out on the latest episode of Last Week Tonight, some sheriffs use their power for good, like the one who spoke out in favor of bail reform in Harris County, Texas, so that people arrested for misdemeanor offenses don’t get stuck in jail just because they can’t afford to pay. Still, other sheriffs take advantage of their positions, like the sheriff accused of exploiting an old law to skimp on prisoners’ food and pocket the remainder of the budget in Etowah County, Alabama.

Removing a sheriff in between elections is “almost impossible,” as Oliver explains, and most of them run unopposed. The misbehaving sheriffs in Last Week Tonight’s segment range from garden-variety villains who value profits over people to one oddball whose election ad includes a photo of himself in blackface. But each one will make you want to take Oliver’s advice and Google “who the fuck is my sheriff?”