Last night a Daily Show report by comedian Jason Jones reported on high levels of apathy among Colorado voters. Looking at statistics as well as conducting interviews on Denver's 16th Street Mall, Jones found that an overwhelming majority of people (80 percent) did not vote in last September's recall election, which snatched away the jobs of state senators John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo.
But there's a good reason for that low turnout: The recall elections were only held in the districts where those two politicians are from.
The program didn't make any note of that, however, making it seem as if Denver voters, who didn't have the ability to cast votes in the recall elections, were to blame. So, was the Daily Show just having some fun at Colorado's expense, or did the crew screw up? We have calls into both Comedy Central and Morse, who was interviewed by the show, to ask, and we'll update this post if we hear back.
The recall election was inspired by this year's gun-control legislation requiring background checks for gun purchases; it also limited magazines to fifteen rounds.
"Let's say there was a politician who was being recalled for enacting very level-headed gun-control legislation, would you vote to save him?" Jones asks one woman while standing in front of the the Denver Pavilions. "Yes, I would," she responds. When Jones follows it up with "Did you?," she admits that she did not.
"When did we vote for that?" says one confused young man.
"I haven't voted for that yet," admits another. "Yet?" asks Jones. "The vote was in September."
Asking the question "So just who did show up to vote?," Jones finds one husky, anti-gun- control voter, who, while sporting a System Of A Down-style braid beard, says, "the new laws shouldn't exist. It's retarded. Who says I can't have sixteen rounds?"
"I think the NRA and the gun groups were very strategic [in this recall election]," says political analyst Jim Spencer in an interview for the bit. "All of our studies show that negative emotions motivate people more than positive emotions."
So Jones begins a scare-tactic campaign to motivate Colorado voters to the polls, by erroneously stirring up threats to take away the things we love most: football, lattes and beards.
Which would all be very funny if the show had interviewed the right people.
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For more comedy commentary, follow me on Twitter at @JosiahMHesse.