Colin Powell blasts N.C. voting law in front of governor who signed it
August 22nd, 2013
02:19 PM ET
8 months ago

Colin Powell blasts N.C. voting law in front of governor who signed it

(CNN) – A new voter ID law in North Carolina will end up hurting Republicans among minority voters, former Secretary of State Colin Powell told a gathering of business executives in the state Thursday.

The retired four-star general, speaking in Raleigh, made his remarks immediately following a session featuring North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who was a supporter of the new voting measure and signed it into law earlier this month.

"I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote," Powell said, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

"It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs," Powell continued, according to the paper. "These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away."

CNN affiliate WTVD-TV reported that cameras were not allowed to film Powell's remarks.

The North Carolina law, which goes into effect ahead of the 2016 elections, includes a requirement that all voters present a valid government-issued photo ID at polls. Supporters say the measure is necessary to prevent ineligible people from casting ballots, but opponents contend such laws unfairly discriminate against minority voters.

Powell argued Thursday that allegations of voter fraud were overblown.

"How can it be widespread and undetected?" he wondered.

Powell served as the nation's top diplomat under former President George W. Bush, though he endorsed President Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012. In January, Powell said in an interview he was still a Republican, but that the party needed to rethink some of its stances after losing two presidential elections.


Filed under: Colin Powell
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    -Powell argued Thursday that allegations of voter fraud were overblown.

    "How can it be widespread and undetected?" he wondered.
    *********************************
    Good question. It would seem as though General Powell has asked the uncomfortable question, which begs another: can anyone point to a single statewide or nationwide race where voter "fraud" has been the deciding factor in swinging the election?

    August 22, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. MTATL67

    It is pure stupidity if Republicans think these actions are going to save their party. I've never seen a group race towards self destruction so fast.

    August 22, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Gov. Pat McCrory, you stirred up the hornets nest. Colin Powell won't be the last person to dis you and your policies in your state. What widespread voter fraud??? Real republicans are jumping ship and switching parties because the ideologues & nutcases have hijacked their party.

    August 22, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Mikey

    Colin Powell is one of the few Repubilcans I would vote for, like H.W. Bush (NOT dub-ya), Jon Huntsman, and perhaps the mixed bag, Christie. The GOP candidate pool just gets weaker and more pathetic each election. Good for laughs. Bad for the country... but it's a reflection on the insanity that has infested the Republican Party.

    The only good news about these voting restrictions is that when you try to take someone's right away, they will hold it more dearly. I think these dispicable attempts and disenfranchising Americans will serve to create millions of dedicated voters who might have been apathetic. I can guarantee we will work to register voters and help them clear every hurdle to ensure these un-American laws backfire... backfire hugely!

    August 22, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    -Powell argued Thursday that allegations of voter fraud were overblown.

    "How can it be widespread and undetected?" he wondered.
    *********************************
    Good question. It would seem as though General Powell has asked the uncomfortable question, which begs another: can anyone point to a single statewide or nationwide race where voter "fraud" has been the deciding factor in swinging the election?
    --------
    Kennedy defeats Nixon, 1960 Presidential election, due to suspected ballot box stuffing in Chicago, giving Kennedy the state of Illinois and it's electoral votes. You asked....

    August 22, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Mikey

    @Tom Paine – "can anyone point to a single statewide or nationwide race where voter "fraud" has been the deciding factor in swinging the election?"
    **********************************************************
    Simple answer – NO! The totality of all the actual, documented voter fraud over the past 20 years accross the entire USA would probably not be able to turn the election for mayor of an average city... but that doesn't matter to craazy people or those who just want an excuse to prevent American Citizens from voting simply because of their political leanings, which is the sad truth about these voting laws. It's a good thing the Founders aren't here to witness this.

    August 22, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    MTATL67

    It is pure stupidity if Republicans think these actions are going to save their party. I've never seen a group race towards self destruction so fast.
    ---------------
    It's not stupidity if that's the only shot they have. Desperation.

    August 22, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. sonny chapman

    The "Real World" & the World between the ears of Repubs. don't match up.

    August 22, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Don't waste your time Mr. Powell. Every evil enacted by republicans since the president won in 2008, has been for one purpose only – and that is to slow down and disinfranchise minorities (even if that means bringing the country down) also. Let's face it, there are certain people in society who just can't accept "change". For those people, anger, jealousy, PARANOIA and thoughts of physically hurting others – have taken the place of rational thinking. Unless and until we DEMAND (by way of monetary action) that our rights not be taken away from us, they'll continue until they destroy all that is good about this country. Vote these people OUT and bring sanity and progress back.

    August 22, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Data Driven

    "I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote"

    Then I would switch party affiliation if I were you, General. The GOP is fighting demographic inevitability with these restrictive voting measures. Good news is, they'll eventually lose anyway and Democrats will simply overturn these unConstitutional restrictions.

    August 22, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. jinx9to88

    I can see myself voting for a Republican if they were more like Powell, but their not they are way to crazy.

    August 22, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Powell thinks there are minority voters who vote Republican? Now that's funny!

    August 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    AnnoyedbyPolitics

    Actually, only state RESIDENTS are supposed to vote. Many college students are not residents of the state they attend college (Legally speaking) and are not allowed to vote in that state. Student ID's do not contain home address, so they can't be verified as a residnet of the state, and should not be valid.
    --------------
    Excuse me for pointing out the obvious, but it's my duty. Don't you have to *register* to vote before you can vote? So, if the State of Texas is stupid enough to register them as eligible voters, then they should be allowed to vote. Otherwise, the state is violating their right to vote.

    August 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    "Unless and until we DEMAND (by way of monetary action) that our rights not be taken away from us, they'll continue until they destroy all that is good about this country."
    -------
    Hmmmm... just curious... what kind of "monetary action" were you thinking?

    August 22, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Kennedy defeats Nixon, 1960 Presidential election, due to suspected ballot box stuffing in Chicago, giving Kennedy the state of Illinois and it's electoral votes. You asked...."

    Suspicions from 53 years ago in Chicago are not proof of voter fraud being "widespread" and "undetected" in NC today or even over the past 53 years. Anecdotes are not data. Suspicions are not evidence. He asked...you failed to answer.

    August 22, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Mikey: "After Texas, they need to look at North Carolina and several other states. Cutting early voting, closing down polling places in poor neighborhoods. They (Republicans) are trying to make it as difficult as possible for the poor, minorities, the elderly, college students, and other likely Democratic voters. I guess when you are not able to get a majority fair and square based on your actions and policies, you should cheat, right? What a message to send to our youth... and to the rest of the world that looks to us as an example. Sickening, disgusting, and disheartening."

    To everyone who has already read this comment, please bear with me. I feel (200%) that this is a comment which needs to be repeated over and over again.

    For the benefit of our friends on the right, you understand. It is a valuable lesson they have yet to realize is a very real and a very dangerous threat to the future of their political party.

    And now ... please proceed, GOPerville.

    August 22, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    -Powell argued Thursday that allegations of voter fraud were overblown.

    "How can it be widespread and undetected?" he wondered.
    *********************************
    Good question. It would seem as though General Powell has asked the uncomfortable question, which begs another: can anyone point to a single statewide or nationwide race where voter "fraud" has been the deciding factor in swinging the election?
    ----------------------–
    I like the system in New York. When you register to vote, a sample of your signature is taken. On election day, your precinct has a signature book. You sign your name, poll workers verify your signature, you cast your vote, and off you go on your merry way.

    For every signature there should be exactly one vote, and vice versa. If you have more votes than signatures, then you have ballot box stuffing. If you have fewer votes than signatures, then you have a case of discarded ballots. The system keeps both the voters and the poll workers honest. More states should adopt it.

    August 22, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. Bill

    Once again, the GOP has shot itself in the foot. This is going to really come back to haunt them. Count on it.

    August 22, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Mikey

    @Fair is Fair
    The Real Tom Paine
    -Powell argued Thursday that allegations of voter fraud were overblown.
    "How can it be widespread and undetected?" he wondered.
    *********************************
    Good question. It would seem as though General Powell has asked the uncomfortable question, which begs another: can anyone point to a single statewide or nationwide race where voter "fraud" has been the deciding factor in swinging the election?
    --–
    Kennedy defeats Nixon, 1960 Presidential election, due to suspected ballot box stuffing in Chicago, giving Kennedy the state of Illinois and it's electoral votes. You asked....
    ***********************************************************************
    Suspected by whom? The same kind of people who are still looking for the President's birth certificate and think 911 was an inside job? You have to bring more than unsubstantiated rumors to prove your point.

    August 22, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. ladyjag

    The Republicans have issues, that no one can understand. If you are an American, whether you black, white green purple you have a right to vote. It is a shame that a National Party would keep people from their Constitutional right to vote. we can only hope this will change, I think every republican that is running should not win. Women you need to stand up for your rights.

    August 22, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    Powell is another phoney Republican turned Democrat liar. He is not to be trusted in any way.

    August 22, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. Dixie

    I live in Texas and I'm proud to say so. That being said I see no reason why I should not have to show proof of identity when I vote. We register and this is a way to insure that someone else is not voting in my place. We need ID to buy medications, beer, tobacco, to have 6overnment benefits,to see a new doctor, or enroll kids into school. There is no reason for anyone not to have ID.

    August 22, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  23. Swedge70

    That man right there is one of the very few Republicans I would consider voting for. Way to go, General!

    August 22, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    @ Fair

    Stop shopping for things not necessary and watch the department stores, coffee shops, etc. take a hit. Money is the only wake-up call YOUR party will understand. Protest are worthless in my opinion. Sure, it might cost a few jobs but they'll come back.

    August 22, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Shelia

    Gee your right Powell maybe we should allow driver license without proof of Id and welfare. Heck lets get rid of ID altogether because it discriminates against minority.

    August 22, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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