Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

VIDEO: John Oliver took Rick Scott to task last night for disenfranchising felons.

Oliver also made a direct appeal to Floridians to vote for Amendment 4: "Go cast a vote on behalf of all your fellow Floridians who are unable to."
John Oliver took on Rick Scott's policy of disenfranchising felons on his Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 show.
John Oliver took on Rick Scott's policy of disenfranchising felons on his Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 show.
Published Sep. 10, 2018
Updated Sep. 10, 2018

John Oliver used his popular HBO program "Last Week Tonight" to take aim at Gov. Rick Scott and his handling of the state's clemency process, calling it  "absolutely insane."

Oliver called Florida the "disenfranchisement capital of America, noting how more than 1 million Floridians – and more than one in five black Floridians – can't vote because they're felons. The state is one of only a few that doesn't automatically grant the right to vote upon completing a sentence.

Scott made the process for felons tougher, changing the clemency process so that they can't automatically get their rights restored after completing their sentences. Instead, they have to appear in Tallahassee to go before the four-member clemency board, who decides whether to restore the right to vote.

Oliver, in a brutal takedown of the process, said, "It's like finishing a triathlon only for Scott to say, 'No, it's a quadathon. Now you have to learn Mandarin.'"

"It doesn't really seem fair," Oliver said.

Oliver also questioned why Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis tends to ask applicants whether they go to church.

"Do you go to church?" Oliver asked. "If the answer to that question is important, that is f—– up. And if it's not, why are you constantly asking it?

"Either you are factoring religious habit into evaluation into whether someone should be able to vote, or you're making a list of people's houses that would easy to rob on a Sunday morning, and neither is a good use of the panel's time."

Oliver ended the segment by donning a Florida Gators cap and appealing to Floridians' willingness to grant people second chances.

"Even this song, your state song, speaks to your ability to screw up and bounce back," he said. "The original lyrics had to be changed because they were too racist.

"And somehow it still sounds racist today, even in instrumental form."

He urged Floridians to vote this fall for Amendment 4, which would restore the right to vote to about 1.4 million people.

Oliver continued: "The point is, this November, Florida, you have got a real chance to remedy a mistake and do something genuinely good for over a million of your citizens.

"So go, please, on Nov. 6 – one day, just one day – don't take your goat for a walk in your underwear. Stay away from any bitey otters, draw a fake beard on yourself and go cast a vote on behalf of all your fellow Floridians who are unable to."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. 1 hour ago• Florida State Seminoles
    Florida State's Kiah Gillespie in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
  2. Connecticut's Jalen Gaffney (0) and South Florida's David Collins (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn)
  3. Florida Gators guard Kiara Smith (1) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)
  4. The Lightning signed defenseman Zach Bogosian, whose contract was terminated by Buffalo earlier this week.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Anthony Banda during the start of spring training in Port Charlotte, Florida on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
  6. Kacey Reynolds announces that LSU linebacker Devin White has been selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. The Bucs announced Sunday that Reynolds had died at age 20 after a three-year battle with Hodgkin lymphoma.
  7. 6 hours ago• Vipers
    Tampa Bay Vipers fans, from left, Allie Goodman, of Naples, Bill Downing, of New Port Richey, and Don "Skully" Bradshaw, of Land O' Lakes, visit outside Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, while attending the Vipers' XFL home opener vs. the Houston Roughnecks in Tampa.
  8. Yoshi Tsutsugo of the Tampa Bay Rays gets his first career hit of spring training with the Tampa Bay Rays during a game against the New York Yankees at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, FL on February 23, 2020.
  9. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., participates in a panel during a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Clive, Iowa. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
  10. A cyclist and vehicles negotiate heavily flooded streets as rain falls in Miami Beach. Florida is among the states most at risk from rising seas associated with a warming climate, and the Tampa Bay area is considered one of the most vulnerable in Florida. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) FLLS101
  11. Here, Mani Schafer, left, and Scott Stephen unload their moving truck after moving from New Mexico to the former St. Andrews Russian Orthodox Church, which they bought, in Childs Park in St. Petersburg in 2011.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement