Colin Powell blasts N.C. voting law in front of governor who signed it
August 22nd, 2013
02:19 PM ET
5 years 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. Hector Slagg

    It is known that the Ballot Box was "Stuffed" so Lyndon Johnson was elected senator in 1948 in Texas. Well that was a big success wasn't it? Then we got Medicare that bastion of success that re-started the country down the path to socialisim that has spawned Obama Care that is the next smashing success down the path to the 1930's re-visited. However Voter ID wouldn't stop the inmates from running the asylum of which is alive and well today. To be sure the U.S. Constutition has been corrupted to hell and gone so what's a few bogus votes. eh?

    August 22, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC


    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.
    Your argument would hold water if the same types of photo ID used to buy medications, beer, and tobacco were accepted under the new law, BUT THEY'RE NOT.

    August 22, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. basedonfact

    @Rudy NYC The Supreme Court Ruled that students can vote where they go to school in1972

    August 22, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. ED1

    You can blast all you want you need an ID for just about everything why not to vote and don't give me this liberal crap that it will keep voters away and it targets the blacks and poor.

    If you have one vote that's one to many.

    How can you say that there is no fraud you don't know.

    You can get somebody to take you to vote but not to get a free ID that's just plain stupid.

    August 22, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. ProudDem


    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.

    ______________________________________________________________ is settled law by the Supreme Court in 1979, college students can vote where they go to school.

    August 22, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    @Hector Slagg: Between 2000 and 2010 there were 649 million votes cast in general elections and 13 cases of in-person voter impersonation.

    Yeah, it's quite the epidemic ... If you're worried about our elections being corrupted, look no further than the likes of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers who, thanks to Citizens United, are trying to buy elections.

    August 22, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    @ED1: IDs aren't free. Regarding the rest of your rant, I can say there is no voter fraud because it's been studied and proven that there isn't.

    And what's with the if you have one vote, that's one too many?

    Sheesh, you're dim ...

    August 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  8. johntee

    why, do democrats have a problem with real americans proving they are such? illegal immigrants or people voting more than once does not protect our right to elect.

    August 22, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    "Voter fraud" is a made-up problem by the GOP because their failed policies and candidates keep losing elections. PERIOD.

    August 22, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    That's the difference between you General Powell and the others in the GOP. There are certain groups of us they don't want to vote, just like before the VRA. ID aside, why the need to close polling places, change the hours, etc.? As for the ID a gun ID is acceptable but a student id isn't? Also I got my voters registration card when I renewed my license. How could I get it without license or ID?

    They are going to steal 2014 & 2016 just like 2000. That's why they don't have to change their way of thinking. They never planned any rebranding. There will be blatant voter suppression come 2016. Because cheating is the only way they can win. Why exactly are you a republican General Powell? I'd hate to hear some of the things said about you after you supported President Obama..... RINO would be the nicest......

    August 22, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "It's time for Colin to become a democrat."

    No, it's time for Republicans to go back to being Republicans again.

    August 22, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Name

    ED 1:
    If I have a licence to buy a gun I can vote but if I have a photo college id I cannot vote. What is wrong with that picture? Fact: fraud in NC last year, .00072 percent....weak argument. The law is designed for voter suppression.

    August 22, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    " illegal immigrants or people voting more than once does not protect our right to elect."

    But it has to be happening in the first place for it to damage it. The only "problem" these "solutions" are designed to "fix" is the GOP/Teatrolls getting obliterated by demographic shifts.

    August 22, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC


    @Rudy NYC The Supreme Court Ruled that students can vote where they go to school in1972
    What does that have to do with the fact that they must still *register* to vote? The SCOTUS decision simply means that they cannot be prohibited from registering to vote because they are students. Once again, if the state allows them to be registered as legal voters, then the state issued student IDs should be valid ID to vote. Otherwise, the state is violating their rights.

    It makes no sense to have to present *more* identification at the voter booth than what you must present to register. In fact, you should be able to present the same identification for both situations. Texas is going to be the poster child for the need to pass federal voting laws.

    Voting is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Texas. In my opinion, states have no jurisdiction defining who can vote and who cannot. There is a need for a national "Uniform Voting Law" that defines a minimum set of standards for voting registration and voter validation and control.

    August 22, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "How can you say that there is no fraud you don't know."

    So aside from the fact that we DO know, based on the numbers, evidence and historical record...your argument instead is that we should be legislating to solve problems for which we just don't know if they exist or not? Ever heard of the rational relation test?

    August 22, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. Bzarr

    The attempt to enact these vailed voter supression laws drove the targeted groups to the voting booth last year. The enactment of those laws will do the same in the future.

    August 22, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota


    Question for you. Have you ever taken anyone to vote? I have. From nursing homes to those shut in at home for various reasons. It is extremely hard to get them ready, let alone into vehicles, into the polling booth, and then back home again. I do it because it is important to me that ALL Americans are given the opportunity to vote, regardless of who they are.

    Many of these folks were never required to have state issued I.D.s, yet they are each registered to vote. And vote, they do. And ALL are very PROUD of their votes. Its never occurred to me to make it harder for them than it already is to vote. Nor do I ask whom it is they cast their votes for. It is none of my business. What is my business is to make sure those who want to vote are given every opportunity to cast their vote without further burdens put on them simply because they have seen their better days and are now being reduced to standing in line to fill out Republican mandated forms ... Republican mandated I.D. ... and other such nonsense ... in hopes of keeping them FROM voting.

    August 22, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Econ301

    Why don't Republicans run someone with some sense like Colin Powell. Talk about tough choices, he'd make it a really tough choice.

    August 22, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -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....
    And I answer with your own word: "suspected", not proven. Aside from a race 52 years ago, can you point to any recent episodes where there was conclusive proof?

    August 22, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's time for Colin to become a democrat."

    No, it's time for Republicans to go back to being Republicans again.


    August 22, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. Jules

    121 claimed cases of voter fraud in the 2012 elections. Sounds like a major problem that could have changed the outcome of the election doesn't it? Colin Powell is right. The GOP just keeps getting dumb and dumber. Personally, I hope they keep it up.

    August 22, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |

    The GOP now the party of cheating

    August 22, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Mikey

    Rick McDaniel – "Powell is another phoney Republican turned Democrat liar. He is not to be trusted in any way."
    Translation: You must conform in every way or we will cast you out. We will tell you what your opinion is – no independent thought will be tollerated.

    Mandatory dogma for right-wing extremists: You must be 100% pro-business, anti-union (worker), pro life, anti immigration, pro voter restriction (disenfranchisement), anti gun control , etc. or you will be cast out as a RINO, or worse yet, a "phoney Republican turned Democrat liar" who is "not to be trusted in any way." You WILL drink the kool-aide or you will be cast off the island! It's a pretty small tent.

    August 22, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. skinsfan66

    How dare we ask someone to show a photo ID when they vote. It's un-American, racist, biggoted etc, etc We keep hearing this crap over and over from the left. They say it hurts minorities the most but don't offer any real proof. Voting in an election is the duty of each CITIZIN, and being asked to prove you are who you say you are is not unreasonable, racist, or anything other than common sence. The libs are against it because it stops them from being able to vote multiple times. In the 2012 election a black women in Danville VA admitted to voting 14 times for Obama, but the libs will tell you there is no voter fraud. Not supprizing when asked about voter ID, she was against it. She even said it would prevent her from voting more than once.

    August 22, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Wake up People!

    Lynda, you're an awesome lady!!

    August 22, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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