Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday warned fellow Republicans that voting restrictions designed to reduce the turnout of minorities, young people and seniors were “going to backfire” on the party.
Powell told CBS host Bob Schieffer that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn part of the Voting Rights Act had been followed by states “putting in place procedures and new legislation that in some ways makes it a little bit harder to vote, you need a photo ID.”
“And they claim there is widespread abuse and voter fraud, but nothing documented, nothing substantiates that,” he pointed out. “There isn’t widespread abuse. And so these kinds of procedures that are being put in place to slow the process down and make it likely that fewer Hispanics and African-Americans might vote, I think, are going to backfire because these people are going to come out and do what they have to do in order to vote. And I encourage that.”
Powell added that he wanted to give Republicans the benefit of the doubt that they wanted to improve the voting system, “but when they start to say, let’s restrict the number of voting hours or make it harder for students to vote, then I have to get a little bit suspicious of it.”
“Here’s what I say to my Republican friends: The country is becoming more diverse. Asian-American, Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans are going to constitute a majority of the population in another generation. You say you want to reach out, you say you want to have a new message, you say you want to see if you can bring some of these voters to the Republican side. This is not the way to do it.”
“The way to do it is to make it easier for them to vote,” Powell insisted. “And then give them something to vote for that they can believe in. It’s not enough just to say, we have to have a new message. We have to have a new substance to that new message.”
Watch this video from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast Aug. 25, 2013.
(h/t: Think Progress)