The Daily Show clip helped overturn North Carolina voter ID law


A Daily Show segment was recently used in court to help overturn North Carolina’s voter ID law, which was ruled unconstitutional.

North Carolina was just one of several states across the country that recently had its restrictive voter ID law struck down by a federal appeals court due to a perceived effort by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature to suppress the African-American vote. In explaining the decision, the court cited an interview from a 2013 episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart with now-former GOP official Don Yelton, who defended the law at the time by stating:

"“If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it.”"

While the three-judge panel conceded in their 83-page decision that the statements didn’t prove “that any member of the General Assembly necessarily acted with discriminatory intent,” they did explain that “the outrageousness” of his statements “provide some evidence of the racial and partisan political environment in which the General Assembly enacted the law,” helping prove that the law is discriminatory.

In the interview with former Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi, Yelton, who served as a precinct chair before being fired after the episode aired, stated that the law would “kick Democrats in the butts,” and called college students “lazy” for not being able to get the proper IDs to meet the new requirements. He also hesitated after being asked whether he was racist, before conceding that he’s been called a bigot before, but defended himself by saying that one his best friends is black, and then proceeded to use the n-word, prompting Mandvi to ask: “You know we can hear you, right?”

Watch the full segment below:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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Before appearing on The Daily Show, Yelton had testified at a NC General Assembly meeting that the changes in the voting laws would benefit Republicans by targeting Democrat’s “special voting block.” NC Republicans have attempted to distance themselves from Yelton since his firing three years ago, with current Buncombe County, North Carolina, GOP chairman Nathan West comparing him in a public statement to “a chronic case of hemorrhoids: a real pain in the ass that you can never seem to get rid of.”

Yelton later fired back on Facebook, writing: “Well, the Republicans again show their stupidity. Frankly Nathan I would keep my mouth shut unless you DON NOT BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF SPEACH (sic) which it seems that you don’t.” He went on to blast the court for using “a cut and pasted clip” from a comedy show to make their decision.

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North Carolina’s new election laws would have eliminated same-day voter registration, reduced early voting periods, and required certain types of IDs at the polls. Gov. Pat McCrory has vowed to appeal the court’s decision even though the state’s Democratic attorney general has refused to defend the law. Other states that have had their voter ID laws struck down in recent weeks include Wisconsin, North Dakota and Texas.

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