Watch: John Oliver Reveals an Insidious Kind of Corruption Most People Have Never Heard Of
March 07, 2016
Special districts are special because they can receive little oversight and can be very easy to create. Sometimes the only people voting for them are two people in the middle of nowhere.
"One of the most interesting ways how special districts are different from any form of government is that they can be created seemingly out of thin air," said "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver. "For instance, in Conroe, Texas, a company was looking to create a new neighborhood on undeveloped land. They wanted to form a special district which could issue bonds. Now to do this, the law required a vote, but remember, no one lived there yet. So what did they do? So guess what they did?"
They moved in two people in a mobile home and they're the only two people who can vote on $500 million worth of bonds for the new housing project. And after they vote they leave.
"It's as if in the Lion King, Simba's father looked over the plains and said, son, someday, this will all be someone else's problem," Oliver explained.
But actually, that whole process is totally legal. It's often referred to as "turn-key voter trailer" election services. "Eligible tenants will vote in and serve as election officials for the election which takes place in the home," Oliver announced, reading one of the special districts' ads from Craigslist. "That's right, you're not just the only voters," Oliver told us. "You're the election officials and your trailer is the polling station!"
Watch: What are some very special districts in America?