Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell criticized North Carolina’s voter ID law Thursday and claimed voter fraud did not exist in a speech attended by NC Governor Pat McCrory.
“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said, according to the News & Observer. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”
According to the publication, Powell was the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina and “made his remarks moments after Gov. Pat McCrory left the stage. McCrory was in the audience for a portion of Powell’s speech.”
“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell said. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”
McCrory signed the state’s voter ID bill into law last week. The law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, cuts early voting by a week, and ends same-day registration. Student ID cards will not count an an acceptable form of identification at the polls beginning with the 2016 elections.
Powell also reportedly said of North Carolina’s voter ID law, “What it really says to the minority voters is… ‘We really are sort-of punishing you.'”
McCrory’s office released a statement respectfully disagreeing with Powell’s assessment.
“The Governor appreciates the warm compliments Secretary Powell made today regarding many of the Governor’s initiatives and on voter ID we respectively disagree,” the statement read.