Last night’s episode of Last Week Tonight was taped on Saturday morning. If you’re wondering why its main segment wasn’t devoted to the protests and rampant police violence that have spread throughout America in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, that’s why—they simply didn’t have time to write and produce a 20 minute piece about it. Oliver did address it earlier in the episode, but HBO only puts the show’s main segment up on YouTube, so hopefully there’s a streaming service or three that’ll let you watch the full episode.
The focus of last night’s main segment isn’t something that can just be ignored or forgotten in light of more immediate and pressing issues, though. It was still less than a week ago that Donald Trump absolutely lost what little remains of his mind after Twitter fact-checked two of his tweets about mail-in voting. Despite a pandemic, despite the most widespread unemployment since the Depression, the guy currently referred to as a president spent his time fixating on being very lightly, passively corrected on social media. He even signed an executive order promising to somehow regulate social media in a way that will no doubt be found unconstitutional by the courts (assuming the GOP hasn’t already packed them full of enough partisans to just rubber stamp whatever Trump does).
As Oliver points out, Trump, Republicans, and the right-wing media have all been spreading lies about mail-in voting for years. They claim there’s wide-spread corruption and voter fraud being perpetrated by the left, but there’s little evidence for it, and the most significant voter fraud case in the last few years centered around a Republican operative in North Carolina. Limiting mail-in voting will most hurt people likely to vote for Democratic candidates, meaning this is a purely partisan move by the GOP. And limiting voters’ ability to cast mail-in ballots during a pandemic will turn polling places into significant public health risks. So basically it’s not just partisan politics aimed at preventing people from voting this time—it could lead to people getting sick and dying.
Oliver runs through all of this in the segment below. Very importantly, he also points out the amazing pelican on Louisiana’s “I Voted” sticker—an image so amazing that I’m already thinking of moving down there so I can proudly display it whenever I next vote in person.
Check out the full segment below, and watch the rest of the episode from whatever app or cable box brings HBO into your home.