Speaking at the CEO Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina to an audience that included Governor Pat McCrory (R), former Secretary of State Colin Powell attacked the restrictive voting law the governor signed into law on August 12. The new law requires photo identification at the polls, limits the number of early voting days and makes it difficult for college students, both in-state and out, to vote.
Moments after the Governor left the stage, Powell said he generally wants “to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote.” He also said that the new law will hurt Republicans, because it “immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs.” To minority voters, he said, it sends the message that “we are really sort of punishing you.'”
Gov. McCrory defended the bill after signing it, claiming it was necessary to prevent voter fraud. “The need for photo ID has been questioned by those who say voter fraud is not a problem in North Carolina,” he wrote. “However, without the higher level of identification a photograph provides, is it possible to know? Even if the instances of misidentified people casting votes are low, that shouldn’t prevent us from putting this non-burdensome safeguard in place. Just because you haven’t been robbed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock your doors at night or when you’re away from home.”
In what appeared to be a direct rebuke of the Governor’s claim that such fraud is widespread but difficult to detect, Powell said “You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud. How can it be widespread and undetected?”