Speed Reads


John Oliver read the new GOP state voting laws, and 'they absolutely make it harder to vote'

Election PSAs "are always basically the same: celebrities essentially begging you to vote," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight, showing a notable exception from 1988. But "as you undoubtedly know, the latest attack on voting rights in America is well underway," and "some of the biggest efforts to undermine voting rights have been concentrated in the closest states in last year's election," especially Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, where 42,918 combined votes for President Biden kept former Donald President Trump out of office, he said. "I know things are bleak right now, but depressingly, it's also important to remember this is technically the better timeline."

Republicans insist if you read the bills they have enacted in 18 states this year, you won't find voter suppression. "But the thing is, if you do actually read these bills, you quickly find they absolutely make it harder to vote, and particularly for certain people," Oliver said. And the voter suppression is barely hiding in plain sight.

"Republicans have been pushing restrictive voting laws" in "a concerted, organized effort over many years, but the reason it now has a much higher chance of working has to do with a pair of Supreme Court decisions that gutted the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting," Oliver said, adding that "a constant theme in debates over these bills is Black elected officials pointing out their impact, and their white colleagues telling them to be quiet." He showed examples.

Republicans are crafting "solutions to problems that have been deliberately and strategically manufactured, and the game is pretty obvious here: Use bulls--t claims to stir up baseless fear to pass unnecessary restrictions targeting particular groups," Oliver said, pointing to how the organizers of "the nonsense audit in Arizona" ignored its "humiliating conclusion that failed to show, yet again, that Trump was cheated of victory" and pushed new voter restrictions anyway.

Oliver's solution involves getting rid of the filibuster, and he was not impressed with Biden's optimism. "The solution to voter suppression cannot be to just vote, for the same reason that the solution to being locked out of your home can't be to tell someone, 'Just go inside and get the keys,'" he argued. There is, along with useful information on voting legislation, some NSFW language and digressive asides on sex with lobsters and the Wheel of Fortune wheel.