A North Carolina GOP activist and county GOP executive committee member resigned after making racist comments in an interview on The Daily Show last week. In the interview, Don Yelton unabashedly makes racist comments and reveals that the true purpose of the state’s new voting laws is not protection against voter fraud but voter suppression. A video clip of the interview immediately went viral.
In the interview, Yelton says that the recently enacted voter suppression law is “going to kick the Democrats in the butt,” and if the law hurts college kids too “lazy” to get photo IDs or “lazy blacks that wants the government to give them everything, so be it.” He shares more offensive opinions about race for several minutes. Yelton then suggested that although he has been “called a bigot before,” he is actually not racist because “one of my best friends is black.”
North Carolina’s new voter suppression laws reduce the number of early voting days, prohibit same day voter registration, and prevent 16 and 17 year olds from pre-registering. Voters will also be required to show government-issued photo ID at the polls before being allowed to vote, but college and university IDs will not be accepted.
These restrictions on voting significantly constrain the ability of certain groups to vote, including racial minorities, women, and students. According to the Brennan Center for Justice [PDF], 25 percent of eligible African-American voters, 18 percent of people aged 65 and up, and many students do not have a current government-issued photo ID card. In addition, 34 percent of women voters do not have an ID that reflects their current name.
The North Carolina GOP has distanced itself from Yelton, saying in a press release that his comments were inappropriate and that he does not speak for the local or state GOP.