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Restrict voting rights? Not on comedian Lewis Black's watch

In a new video made with the ACLU, the famously furious comedian flips out about efforts to block access to the ballot.
Comedian Lewis Black speaks on stage during the WSJ Disruption Dinner on September 29, 2014 in New York City.
Comedian Lewis Black speaks on stage during the WSJ Disruption Dinner on September 29, 2014 in New York City.

Comedian Lewis Black has found something new to get angry about.

In an online video produced by the American Civil Liberties Union and shared exclusively with msnbc, the famously furious funnyman, who’s serving as the ACLU’s "celebrity ambassador” on voting rights, goes apoplectic when he learns that some politicians are trying to make it harder for people to cast a ballot.

[Video contains explicit language.]

In the video, Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s voting rights program, tells Black about cuts to early voting that have affected millions. Then Ho explains that voter ID laws like Wisconsin's force many people to pay a fee in order to vote—meaning they’re essentially poll taxes.

Finally, Ho shows Black a diagram of the complex bureaucratic hurdles that would-be voters must navigate just to get an ID.

It’s enough to make Black’s head explode.

“Elected officials shouldn’t get to choose who gets to choose elected officials,” he yells. “Look, people marched and fought and died for the right to vote, and they want to legislate away that sacrifice to stay in power? Not on my watch, baby.”

The ACLU also released an open letter from Black, addressed to "all politicians who’ve ever tried to block access to voting." It doesn't pull any punches.

"What the hell is the matter with you people?! You need to get your head on straight," Black writes. "The cornerstone of this great country is the right to vote – and you should be fighting to make sure that every citizen who can vote, does! But instead you’re creating obstacles for voters? Well, that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it … F*** that!"

Ho and the ACLU have been at the forefront of the legal effort to protect voting rights lately. They're challenging Wisconsin's voter ID law and North Carolina's sweeping and restrictive voting measure, both of which are referenced in the video. They also challenged Ohio's cuts to early voting, which were given the green light last month by the Supreme Court. 

The Black video isn't the only pro-voting celebrity production to appear this week. Rock the Vote teamed up with Lena Dunham, Lil Jon, Whoopi Goldberg, Fred Armisen, Devandra Banhart and others to release “Turn Out for What”—a spin on the Lil Jon hit “Turn Down for What”—encouraging young people to show up for the midterms.