By now you probably have heard about the reckless, racially insensitive comments Republican Party precinct chair Don Yelton of Buncombe County, N.C. made this week on The Daily Show. During an interview with correspondent Aasif Mandvi, Yelton defended North Carolina’s voter ID law while acknowledging evidence of voter fraud is flimsy. He also referred to African Americans as “lazy blacks” and even uttered the word “nigger,” leading Mandvi to remark, “You know that we can hear you, right?” … Yelton’s comments about black and student voters, voter fraud and kicking “the Democrats in the butt” are also in line with the work of the Civitas Institute, the conservative think tank founded and largely funded by North Carolina’s Republican mega-donor and state budget director Art Pope, which helped build public support for the elections bill. One of the consequences of Civitas’ crusade against nonexistent voter fraud is that black college students have been purged from voter rolls and faced challenges to their right to vote and run for office where they live and go to school. Yelton’s remarks are also in line with what was said during state Senate hearings in April, when dozens of GOP county representatives testified in favor of the legislation. Jonathan Bandy of the N.C. Federation of Young Professional Republicans said voter ID laws weren’t racist but claimed that racism is “the notion that an African-American and an Hispanic voter who don’t have an ID are incapable of getting one” — ignoring the fact that the law creates additional barriers for voters of color given that they are more likely than white voters to lack the ID needed to vote.
Art Wilson, an at-large committee member for the Wake County Republican Party asked at the hearing, “So what if casting your vote becomes a little more difficult?”
Yelton himself was at those hearings and testified that double voting by college students was rampant. Back then, the Senate was considering amendments to include college IDs as acceptable for voting, but Yelton shot it down and said that it would make the bill “weak as water.”
“Democrats fear that the voter regulations will hurt them, as it will disenfranchise some of their special voting blocs,” said Yelton. “I tell you that within itself is the reason for photo voter ID.”
In the end, the law that passed excluded student IDs from the list of acceptable forms of voter ID. Republicans also voted down amendments offered by Democrats that would have made it easier for voters of color or low-income people to comply with the law.
Full Article: Don Yelton not so out of step with GOP on NC voter ID law.