John Oliver appeals to Floridians to restore voting rights for felons

On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver pleaded with the people of Florida to vote in favor of the Voting Restoration Amendment on Nov. 6. The amendment would restore the right to vote to felons — excluding murderers and sex offenders — who have paid their debt to society. The law as it is now has an outsize effect on the African-American community. In addition, getting back your right to vote is extremely difficult and can take years. If the amendment passes, more than 1.5 million Floridians currently unable to vote would retrieve that right. So Oliver reminded the people of Florida that they’ve made mistakes in the past too.

As an instrumental version of Florida’s state song, “Old Folks at Home (The Swanee River),” played in the background, Oliver — wearing a Florida Gators visor with fake hair — said, “Even this song, your state song, speaks to your ability to screw up and bounce back. The original lyrics to this song had to be changed because they were too racist.”

Oliver also went over several crazy things that happened in Florida recently, and if he was making this appeal to people in any other state, it would have just sounded weird. But it fits with Florida. “This November, Florida, you’ve got a real chance to remedy a mistake and do something genuinely good for over a million of your citizens,” Oliver said. “So please, on November 6th, 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.”

Oliver’s best point may have been when he said, “I mean, come on, Florida. You’re Florida.”

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver airs Sundays at 11 p.m. on HBO.

Watch John Oliver call out Laura Ingraham for being racist following her anti-immigrant rant:

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