John Oliver, HBO host of Last Week Tonight, skewered Wisconsin and other states over their voter ID laws last week. While it was funny to watch him masterfully roast lawmakers in our state, it is sad he had the material in the first place.
One of Oliver’s targets was state Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc. Kleefisch spearheaded voter ID laws in Wisconsin, and said if people needed an ID to buy cold medicine, they should need an ID to vote.
Voter ID laws seek to prevent voter fraud, which in reality rarely occurs, and slows the process of voting for everyone. The laws impact minorities the most, and they tend to vote for Democrats more often.
Like Oliver said, the voter ID laws are the most drastic overreaction to a very small issue, voter fraud, and is now impeding many people’s voting rights.
Half of the Wisconsin ID-issuing offices are not even open five days a week, according to the Last Week Tonight segment. An astounding 300,000 people may be without the proper ID required come voting day.
The real cherry-on-top is the fact that many of these state lawmakers have been caught ghost voting.
Ghost voting is when lawmakers vote for their colleagues who are not present. Lawmakers have been seen literally running to cast a vote, which never should have counted. While at first glance this is a hilarious, ironic twist — it is also un-American.
Lawmakers like Kleefisch are literally voting for other people, as other, while trying to take away law abiding citizens’ voting rights. Although hypocritical, under assembly rules it is legal.
Of course, Kleefisch tried to say the video of him ghost voting was just a form of character assassination. But as Oliver so eloquently put it, “that’s not character assassination, that’s unedited footage of something you obviously did — and if anything that’s character auto-erotic asphyxiation.”
It is easy to be mad at Kleefisch and others in the government who do things like this on a regular basis, but there is an easy fix.
We elect the people we so often complain about. It’s time we start looking to ourselves to solve problems instead of blaming the irresponsible people we elected. It’s time to vote these people out of government.
Luke Schaetzel (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science.
*This story has been updated to better reflect Rep. Kleefisch’s actions