John Oliver on states' voter ID laws


When I voted for Obama in 2008, I used my Concealed Carry permit as ID. They asked, and that’s what I gave 'em.

No problem.

(I don’t have one anymore, though. Also I’m a big white guy.)


Dukakis would have been a decent president, as he is a really decent man.

The DNC has been a hot mess since Clinton and the DLC.


Maybe I’m just being the obnoxious IT guy here; but surely you don’t actually need to remove the dead guy’s button in order to start rejecting input from it? And surely it would be rather trivial to cross-reference attendance data with button inputs and discard spurious inputs on buttons without corresponding attendees?

Realistically, I assume that there are many who simply have no interest in solving the problem; but giant 100-level lecture courses at universities that don’t care put more effort into verifying audience input than this, which is a shockingly low bar to clear.

(I wouldn’t necessarily mandate that being present in person is the only way to vote Y/N, given that attendance isn’t always possible and you can read the proposal offsite as easily as onsite; but whether or not an offsite voting system exists; onsite input from people who aren’t there should be easy to screen out; and damn well should be screened out.)


As quoth Tom Lehrer: “They’ve got to be protected, all their rights respected, 'till somebody we like can get elected!”


I actually laughed out loud when the Wisconsin rep was complaining about IDs for sudafed and how it meant voter ID laws should be stricter. I would have used that very point to argue the opposite…Why in the hell do I need an ID to buy Sudafed!!! I get the issue around meth labs using meds like that…but wouldn’t it be easier to just limit the amount that you can buy? I find it asinine that I need to show my Driver’s License just to get some cold medicine and even MORE asinine that I would need to show an ID to vote.

The only requirement should be registering in the first place. Once registered, issue a voter ID card and tell the person bring it every time you come to vote. And voter registration shouldn’t be some extraordinary process. It should be easy and simple. Because we WANT people to vote and be engaged…oh wait…now I see why they have a problem with being rational about this.


Why even require that? The chances of someone voting twice are less than miniscule, and not at all a threat to any particular election. The whole “problem” is a right-wing canard, designed to stamp out voting blocs likely to swing democratic.


Ok, why bother having someone have a driver’s license to drive? Is a card in my wallet really needed to operate a vehicle?

again…registration should be a form with the relevant info on it. Provide said SIMPLE info, not what the lady in LWT’s example was put through, and give the person the card. My state does it that way. Its very easy with no hoops to jump through. I honestly do not even think they ask to see it, though I do bring it. They look for my name on the list, check me off and ask me to verify the info is correct. All set.

A reasonable process is reasonable. What is being done is a process that is NOT reasonable. And honestly, while I agree the reasoning behind it is most likely to squash a left leaning vote, I don’t care. It’s squashing A VOTE period. I do not care for which way the person may or may not vote. It’s that they are being denied that vote.


Watching that bit, it reminded me of how difficult it is in Illinois to get a state ID (for those who don’t have/want a driver’s license).

The sticking point is proving residency: it requires “2 original documents proving your Illinois residency (e.g. bank statement, credit report, or utility bills).”

I’m the head of a household, and I would still have to pay the bank or the utility companies to get a paper statement sent to my home to prove my address. How does anyone else in a household do that? If the utilities aren’t in your name, you’d need to have accounts at two different banks (how many people do that, especially if they’re poor?). Oh, and did I mention that most of the documentation must be dated within 90 days of the ID application date? There are other possibilities, but they all assume a lot: that one is registered with a college, or is in the phone book (I kid you not), or has an insurance policy. It’s a crazy list that looks like you have options, but really, you’re either going to have the kind of life where you have most of the items on the list, or else you’ll have NONE. There’s no middle ground. I can only imagine what the list looks like in the southern states.


False equivalence is false. The problems that a driver’s license requirement seek to prevent and do prevent are many, as are the motivations to go ahead and break the law by driving without one. None of that is true with voting.

Agreed, though as @chgoliz just basically noted, and as you seem to agree, what’s set up as supposedly reasonable is too often reasonable for educated white middle-class people, and not for others.


Wikipedia entry concurs with that statement–complete editorial control.

Money shot:

If he had to leave The Daily Show, HBO's offer -- a two-year deal with an option for more, complete creative freedom (no obligatory interviews with celebrities promoting their latest film or TV project) and none of the ratings pressure (or potential for disgruntlement on the part of sponsors) inherent to commercial television -- was hard to match.


I had the most infuriating conversation with Health Canada when I needed to renew my card cuz it was 18 months out of date. I needed to bring 2 proof of address, on top of a letter of employment, and on top of my passport. Because I don’t have a DL, I don’t drive, never have. In this day and age of e-statements, we don’t get anything to the house that qualifies! I had to leave and come back with MORE mail. So irritating!

On the flip side, voting municipal/provincial/federal is super easy and a breeze.


Exactly. But of course, you need to have easy access to a computer for e-statements to make sense.

Meanwhile, it costs money to have paper statements sent now. It’s no longer the default. So if you’re too poor to have a computer, you have to pay more money for the privilege of a bank account. And around and around we go.


If I had to guess (and I do, I DO), the voting button system is probably old as hell legacy equipment that was installed with the help of a “trusted” contractor (wink wink, nudge nudge).

That said, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out how to match the two lists you mention (votes taken vs. attendance). But given how little our elected officials appear to appreciate anyone looking over THEIR shoulders, I’m not holding my breath that this will change anytime soon.


I worked an election many years ago. You had to have your voter card or an ID. The voter card doesn’t have a picture on it, but shows that you were registered in at the right polling place.

As one who hates hypocrisy in all forms, wow. The floor voting button mashing, oh my god. Hhahaa.

I guess at first I figured “where’s the harm”, but the more I researched that there wasn’t any proof of mass voter fraud, came over the side that the whole thing is pointless and just another example of government making life difficult for people.


Of course all of this can be ended if people stop voting for Republicans who have made voter suppression a priority. What cowards to so firmly believe they are helped when fewer Americans vote. Why do they hate America?


Ah, the"government sucks" line again, which ultimately serves corporate and finance power.

It’s not “government” that’s causing voting suppression. It’s republicans. So no, for them, it’s not at all “pointless.”


No, it’s systemic racist disenfranchisement on a massive scale.

I never needed ID to vote in the UK. Hell, I never even needed to bring the polling card to the station.


The Republicans are part of the government. So yeah, it IS the government causing voter suppression. It’s pointless for trying to combat voter fraud, not pointless for trying to negatively affect mainly the poor and old.

Please explain how thinking the government sucks ultimately serves corporate and finance power? They can suck too.

The government does suck. The one thing they can half way do well is blow shit up, and even then it is done at a huge expense. You can find some sections running fairly well, but over all when one thinks competency and efficiency, they don’t think “government”. And this isn’t just a US gripe, everyone bitches about things in their government they don’t like. Any bloated bureaucracy run by barely competent people will have this issue.


When I did this election, you needed something that showed who you were and were in the right district and registered. I think even a utility bill would work if you were already registered. The biggest hiccups we had were some people at the wrong place. We had to direct them to the correct poll. A few were not even registered, but there was a system in place they could go register and come back to vote. Everyone there worked the entire day and bent over backwards to make sure everyone could vote. I was the youngest person there by far running things.