Last week was a historic week for voter ID laws, as many of the most prohibitive and baldly racist among them were struck down, which was particularly significant in North Carolina. For those of us who were unaware of just how prohibitive and racist these laws were, John Oliver, as usual, is here to explain it and shine a light on some things you might have had no idea were going on in our country. On Sunday's episode (July 31), John Oliver shut down North Carolina's voter ID law on Last Week Tonight, and boy was it a doozy.
The voting restrictions in the law as described by John Oliver were apparently described as "the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crowe" as well as the fact that it "target[s] African Americans with almost surgical precision." Which, wow. Oliver commented, "That is not something you want to hear outside of a marketing meeting for Dark and Lovely Healthy Gloss Shea Butter Relaxer." He followed this up with "I'm pretty sure that joke is fine. I'm about 80 percent confident we have no problem there."
The law included requiring certain forms of IDs that white voters were more likely to have, as well as a full week of early voting which effectively eliminated "Souls to the Poles," a program to encourage voting among disenfranchised African Americans, including providing rides from church services to the polls. The law was created using a collection of data on the habits of African Americans. As usual, Oliver had the perfect pithy response to the madness, which immediately caught on on Twitter: "Ignorance at it's Smartest."
This isn't the first time Oliver has taken on the racist stupidity of voter ID laws. He made a similar point back in February at the start of the third season of Last Week Tonight, pointing out that an ID is just something a white person is more likely to have "like a sunburn, or an Oscar nomination."
The rest of the episode was devoted to the bizarro-world we seem to have fallen into as a nation with this election, including a hearty and impassioned take-down of Donald Trump once again, particularly in response to Trump's reaction to Khizr Khan's speech at the DNC. Then, just to throw a little nonpartisanship in there, Oliver ran a blooper reel from the DNC which was... silly, at best.