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UPDATE: The Buncombe County GOP moves to rid itself of Yelton. See below

The Buncombe County conservative activist who told one of the “The Daily Show”‘s fake new reporters that North Carolina’s voter identification and election law changes were primarily designed to hurt Democrats (and not prevent voter fraud) said he’s happy with the comedy show’s segment.

“The comments that were made, that I said, I stand behind them,” Don Yelton told the Mountain Xpress today, an alternative weekly newspaper in Asheville.

He also told the weekly that it could have been worse – other things he said in the course of the interview were apparently more shocking.

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In an editorial last week, the Wall Street Journal went after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for suing North Carolina over voting law changes enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly in June, calling his efforts to bail the state back into federal supervision under the still-viable Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act a backdoor tactic with little chance of success.

Putting aside the fact that the Attorney General challenges several of the changes — shortening of the early voting period, for example, or the elimination of provisional ballots for those who vote in the wrong precinct — the Journal argues that Holder is out of luck because courts elsewhere have approved voter ID laws.

Courts have already reviewed similar laws in other states and found them legal. In 2008, in a 6-3 decision written by liberal former Justice John Paul Stevens, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Indiana’s voter ID law. In 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the Peach State’s voter ID law was constitutional, calling its photo ID requirements a “minimal, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory restriction.” Thirty-four states now require voters to show some form of photo ID. Read More

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Voter IDHere’s a pretty amazing and frustrating story: Richard Posner, one of the conservative pillars of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago told an interviewer last Friday that he erred in upholding Indiana’s groundbreaking and vote-suppressing voter ID law.

As Think Progress reports today:

Judge Richard Posner authored a federal appeals court decision upholding the nation’s first voter ID law, a common voter suppression law that disproportionately disenfranchises people of color, students and low income voters. The Supreme Court, while technically deciding the case on a narrower grounds than Posner’s opinion, later ensured that voter ID laws would flourish by making them virtually impossible to challenge under the Constitution. Read More

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Pat McCrory 4Another day and another strange and troubling moment for Governor McCrory. 

Today’s came when the Governor charged into the press room at the state Administration Building to read a four-and-a-half minute statement in response to the announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice that it would be adding North Carolina to the list of states it has sued in recent years for unlawfully suppressing voting rights.

While there was much in the statement itself that fell short — the Governor seemed, for instance, not to remember that his voter suppression law includes multiple provisions spread out over 49 pages and is about a lot more than just voter ID requirements — there were at least two other items about the event that had to leave observers shaking their heads:

#1 – The Governor took no questions from the media. To which all a body can say in response is “What the heck?” You summon the cameras and reporters all the way over to your office and then can’t even deign to answer a few questions? Obviously, the Guv has made no secret of his disdain for the media, but this is important stuff. The citizens have a right to know what their Governor is thinking and whether he really even understands what he is talking about. You’ll remember that in the past, the Guv announced he would sign the voter suppression bill before he’d even read the entire thing. Sadly, today, we failed to learn whether he had ever finished reading it.

#2 – The Governor, regrettably, appeared to tell another little white lie during his few minutes at the podium. Read More

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Bob HallThe state’s leading  independent elections law analyst and advocate, Bob Hall of Democracy NC, released the following statement (and data) this morning in response  to the U.S. Justice Department’s announcment that it will sue the state of North Carolina over the racially discriminatory impact of new voter suppression laws:

“Democracy North Carolina applauds the decision of the US Department of Justice to file suit against key provisions of North Carolina’s new anti-voter law, HB-589. We welcome a vigorous challenge to a law designed to push away certain voters and rig the election system to benefit incumbent politicians.

North Carolina has a sad history of voter suppression, stemming from the Jim Crow laws adopted by Democrats over 100 years ago that included the poll tax, literacy tests and other measures aimed at pushing away African Americans and low-income white voters. As a result of those laws and intimidating practices, North Carolina ranked in the bottom 12 states for voter turnout throughout the entire Twentieth Century.

Since 2000, voter participation has finally begun to increase for all parties and demographic groups, thanks to Early Voting, Same-Day Registration, and other measures that make voting more accessible yet secure. In 2008, North Carolina climbed to 22nd among the 50 states for voter turnout among eligible citizens, and in 2012 we ranked 11th, a modern record.

Republican lawmakers had clear evidence that their proposals would harm African American voters more than white voters, yet they intentionally chose to adopt those provisions. Read More