by Mary Tuma
On a recent The Daily Show segment, comic correspondent Aasif Mandvi sits down with North Carolina GOP precinct chair Don Yelton to discuss the Voter ID law, a measure that requires voters to show identification at the polls. In a response that has elicited a media firestorm, Yelton laid bare the intentions of Voter ID– it’s “going to kick the Democrats in the butt,” he said. But that’s not all.
"If it hurts whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy Blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it,” said Yelton.
But it’s cool, guys, because one of his “best friends is black.”
Yelton’s comments led Mandvi to ask, “You know that we can hear you, right?”
While this week's verbal stunner comes from outside Texas, the issue hits home.
States like Texas and North Carolina formerly needed federal pre-clearance (one way to ensure historically racist communities don’t further disenfranchise minorities) before implementing Voter ID laws, but due to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down key sections of the Voting Rights Act, states are now allowed to begin enforcement. While the Department of Justice is fighting to maintain the ability to check states like Texas, the law is currently in effect. Red state leaders, and our own Attorney General Greg Abbott, continue to claim the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud– despite evidence of rampant voter fraud abuse is negligible.
The federal courts have deemed Texas' Voter ID law discriminatory toward low-income and minority voters. It’s regarded by some as an attempt to curb Democrats’ power at the polls and been called racist. Yelton strips away the pretense, saying flatly the law will hurt Dems at the polls– a charge long brought forth against conservative states pushing Voter ID laws.
In an interview following his appearance on the satirical news show, Yelton (perhaps even more shockingly) holds steadfast to his claims. “There’s nothing I said that I would take back. So be it,” he told the Asheville Citizen-Times. “The activity going on across the state today proves what I said is true — the Democrats are jumping on it like flies after honey.”
Looks like Yelton’s racist remarks kicked him out on his butt. According to the local newspaper, Buncombe County GOP Chairman Henry Mitchell said that if Yelton won’t willingly resign from his precinct chair post, the party will “again be pursuing avenues to remove him from any and all positions at any level within the state.”