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Seth Meyers took his usual ‘Closer Look’ on Thursday’s Late Night—this time at voter ID laws that could disenfranchise millions of American citizens. Voter turnout in the United States is already among the lowest in the industrialized world. The 2012 presidential election saw a turnout of only 53.6 percent. Compare that to Belgium, which had 87.2 percent for a recent election.
Yet, state legislatures are trying to make it even harder to vote. Since the 2010 election, 21 states have passed laws that require government-issued IDs to be shown at the polls. Seth tells the story of 94-year-old Rosanell Eaton in North Carolina who had to take ten trips to the DMV and drive 200 miles to obtain one form of voter identification. “And if you want to know what ten trips to the DMV does to a person, just look at the people who work there,” says Seth. Besides, “94-year-olds are not committing voter fraud…94 is a terrible age to start a long con. ‘First, I’ll get a Democrat elected, and then—oh, I died.'”
This new voter ID law in North Carolina could disenfranchise as many as 218,000 people, including the poor, black, elderly, and disabled, who are all less likely to have IDs than young, able-bodied, white people with driver’s licenses. To put that number in perspective, Seth reports that in 2008, Barack Obama only won North Carolina by 14,000 votes. “218,000 votes could literally be the difference between President Hillary Clinton and Glorious Beloved Leader Donald Trump, all praise to him and his magnificent hands!”
Many supporters of voter ID laws point to voter fraud as the primary reason for the laws, but a recent study by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt found that there have only been 31 counts of voter fraud in America since 2000, out of over a billion votes cast. So, voter fraud doesn’t seem like a credible reason for so many voter ID laws. As Seth puts it, “Don’t prescribe a solution to a problem you’re not sure exists. That’s like saying, ‘We’re not sure you’re gonna be on The Bachelor, but you should start taking Valtrex anyway.'” Watch the clip to see what has been happening with Alabama ID laws.