In a 2013 interview regarding his state’s new voter ID bill, North Carolina GOP precinct chairman Don Yelton proudly proclaimed:
if it hurts a bunch of college kids who’s too lazy get up off their bull-humpus and get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks who wants the government to give them everything, so be it … The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt.
Yelton quickly paid the price for his ill-considered candor, yielding to Republican leaders’ face-saving calls for his resignation. Yet his polemic still stands as the clearest possible statement of the NC GOP’s modern strategy for retaining power: hurt young voters, hurt minority voters, and even hurt any and all white voters who happen to get in the way — all with the goal of discouraging the ‘wrong’ people from voting. But, first and foremost, always hurt voters of color, and particularly black voters, who comprise 22% of the state’s electorate and among whom registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 30-to-1.
Thanks in part to insightus research, it has become clear that North Carolina’s new voter ID law is far from merely an isolated act of voter suppression. Instead, it is but one step in the state’s systematic campaign of minority voter harassment — a campaign which, if it was acted out by an individual instead of by a state, would likely land the perpetrator in prison.