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Monday, September 10, 2018

John Oliver rips Rick Scott over Florida's awful clemency process

Posted By on Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 12:37 PM

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In one of his hilarious rants on HBO Sunday night, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver took a shot at Gov. Rick Scott's handling of Florida's clemency process, going as far as to call it "absolutely insane."

The host called the Sunshine State the "disenfranchisement capital of the America," noting that it's one of the few states that doesn't automatically reinstate a person's voting rights upon completion of their sentence. Florida currently has more than 1 million citizens who can't vote because they're felons – one in five of whom are African American.

Oliver also opined on how Scott further complicated the clemency process for felons, when he amended the process so that they have to appear in Tallahassee before a four-member clemency panel. The board then decides whether that person deserves to have his or her rights restored.

"It's like finishing a triathlon only for Scott to say, 'No, it's a quadathon. Now you have to learn Mandarin,'" Oliver said. "It doesn't really seem fair."

Oliver pointed out the unfairness of Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis' habit of asking applicants whether they go to church, too.

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

"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 housing that would be easy to rob on a Sunday morning, and neither is a good use of the panel's time," Oliver continued.

The host then plopped a University of Florida Gators hat on his head before he took one last resounding shot at the state song, as it played in the background.

"Even this song, your state song, speaks to you 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."

The whole point of Oliver's segment was to draw attention to Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to about 1.4 million Floridians, and which voters will have the opportunity to vote on this November.

"This point is," Oliver said, "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 bite-y otters, draw a fake beard on yourself and go cast a vote on behalf of all your fellow Floridians who are unable to."

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