Hasan Minhaj Explains Importance of Local State Races Ahead of Midterm Elections

"It feels like every election is becoming an episode of 'American Ninja Warrior,'" the 'Patriot Act' host said about the many obstacles that keep people from voting.
Courtesy of Netflix
Hasan Minhaj

Hasan Minhaj explained why local elections are so important on Sunday's episode of his new Netflix weekly series Patriot Act.

The host began the segment by sharing that states are adding obstacles that make it difficult to vote. "It feels like every election is becoming an episode of American Ninja Warrior," he said.

Minhaj then explained Georgia's "exact match" policy, which means that everything written on a person's ballot must be identical to what is on their ID. Any error can interfere with someone eligibility to vote.

"Imagine potentially not being able to vote because your voter registration form and your driver's license are off by just one letter. What if your last name is Nandanwar? You know that's gonna be misspelled at some point. We've all been there, right?" he said.

"Exact match discriminates against black voters, and it could be the deciding factor in Georgia's governor's race," Minhaj said before a clip from MSNBC explained that Stacey Abrams is running against Brian Kemp in the race.

Minhaj pointed out that Kemp, Georgia's current secretary of state, is responsible for enforcing voting laws, including exact match, which could "prevent 53,000 people from voting for Stacey Abrams."

"In Florida, they cut early voting. In Ohio, they ended same-day voting registration. There's really only one way to stop future voter suppression. You have to pay attention to state legislators and I know a lot of you are like, 'What are state legislators?'" the host said. "You know those people at the bottom of your voting scantron where you're like, 'Yeah, I don’t care about them'? That's your state legislator."

"You know how you have that one woke friend, Andy, who's like, 'Look, this is the cheat sheet. Just go in.' You're like, 'Fine. Andy said it's okay. He recycles. I'll just believe him,'" Minhaj continued. "State legislators are the minor leagues of politics. National politics are the major leagues. It's exciting. Senators, congressmen, the presidency, bribery, corruption, pee tapes — it's poppin'."

He further used the baseball comparison to assert that while people get tattoos to honor major league teams like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, "no one gets a tattoo of the Modesto Nuts." Minhaj then joked that the team's mascot is "a testicle in a baseball cap. Don't tell me that's a walnut. Walnuts don't have veins."

"But the minor leagues matter. For every Jose Altuve for the Lancaster JetHawks, there's a Congressman Jim Jordan, who as a Ohio House member back in 1998 was named pro-life legislator of the year by the United Conservatives of Ohio," the host explained. "Say it out with me. 'United Conservatives of Ohio.' The only phrase more redundant than that is 'Thirsty DiCaprio,' or maybe 'sanctimonious vegan.'"

Minhaj then targeted U.S. Congressman Glenn Grothman. "As a member of the Wisconsin State Senate, he voted in favor of a strict voter ID bill," he said. The host also shared an interview of Grothman from 2016 in which he stated that Hillary Clinton was "the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up, and now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is gonna make a little bit of a difference as well."

"I don't think you're supposed to say that shit out loud, Glenn," said Minhaj. "What did he say on camera after that? 'You know, I'm not a big fan of interracial marriage. Oh, and if I'm being honest, last night I was driving home and I'm not sure if I hit a deer or a beige dude in a beige jacket. Either way, that thing is dead.'"

He added that state legislators "control how you vote, when you vote and where you vote." Concluded Minhaj, "A lot of them are trying very hard to make sure that you don't count, so what I'm saying is, look out for your Modesto Nuts."

Watch the full clip, below.