Brow Beat

John Oliver Acknowledges a Problem With Voting by Mail, and It’s Not Fraud

On Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver turned his attention to the logistical complications of holding a presidential election in the midst of a global pandemic. Because of Last Week Tonight’s taping schedule, this week’s episode couldn’t fully address the protests that rocked the nation over the weekend, though according to a tweet from Oliver, the team plans to remedy the situation soon.

But back to what Oliver calls the “absolute nightmare” of in-person voting in the time of the coronavirus. “Elections usually involve hundreds of people cycling in and out of a single enclosed location,” he pointed out. “Plus, polling places are often located in communal buildings like schools and nursing homes, and many of those are out of the question right now. Even keeping poll workers safe can be difficult.” Of course, there is a relatively simple solution that many Americans already use: voting by mail. Unfortunately, that solution becomes not so simple when the core tenet of one political party is that voting for the other constitutes fraud. Oliver broke down Republicans’ aversion to mail-in ballots despite the lack of evidence that they give an advantage to either political party, and how that aversion is intentionally setting up the voting process in November for failure.

Oliver did make sure to acknowledge one considerable drawback of voting by mail: the lack of “I voted” stickers. He drew particular attention to Louisiana’s sticker, which features an “absolute king” of a pelican. “It’s hard to pick my favorite part of this: his steely blue gaze, his crown that says ‘the state of Louisiana has a monarch and I am it,’ or his prominently displayed earring despite not having any ears to speak of. There’s no question here,” Oliver concluded. “That large water bird fucks.”