“Voting is a right,” John Oliver said on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight. “If you take it away, you ruin democracy.”


During a 15-minute segment, Oliver spoke about a number of states’ efforts to impose a law that would make displaying photo identification a mandatory requirement when going to vote. Lawmakers say it is a common sense stipulation that will only affect a small portion of the population.

The thing is, voter fraud (what this law is ostensibly designed to protect against) is super rare. All these laws do are disenfranchise vulnerable populations.


“Studies have shown that these laws tend to disproportionately impact African-American and Latino voters,” Oliver says. “It’s just one of those things that white people seem more likely to have, like a sunburn or an Oscar nomination.”

Watch the video above.

Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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As a European this got a slight shrug from me when I first read it. Is it really so common to not have some kind of ID and is it really so hard to obtain one?

Incidentally I’m a voluntary helper for elections in my town. One of my tasks is to check if people brought a valid ID and are eligible to vote.