Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday new changes in North Carolina voting law punish minority voters and will hurt Republicans. Powell, in a speech at the North Carolina CEO Forum in Raleigh — an annual gathering of private and public sector executives and managers — Powell said the state’s new voter ID law is not even necessary because there is no evidence of the kind of voter fraud its backers said it was designed to address. “You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” he said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”
… Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, said in signing the bill into law it will “help insure the integrity of the North Carolina ballot box and provide greater equality in access to voting to North Carolinians.” Critics of the law say it was designed to make it more difficult for voters who tend to favor Democrats — African-Americans, poor people and students — to vote.
With McCrory in the audience, Powell said Thursday the law “immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” newsobserver.com reported. “What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort-of punishing you,'” Powell said.