Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday predicted that Republican attempts to pass voter ID laws would “backfire” by energizing minorities to vote them out of office. Powell took aim at efforts on the state legislature level to require that people show photo identification to vote. “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 to vote, and I encourage that,” Powell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Following the Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans in states like Texas and North Carolina are advancing legislation that would require voters to show photo ID at the polls. “They claim that there’s widespread abuse and voter fraud, but nothing substantiates that,” Powell said. “There isn’t widespread abuse.”
A Republican who has been increasingly critical of his party in recent years, Powell endorsed President Obama in both 2008 and 2012. He said the GOP’s moves on voting access would in particular damage the party’s effort to appeal to the growing minority populations it will need to win national elections in the future. “This is not the way to do it,” Powell said.
He said he disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act. “I would have preferred that they did not reach such a conclusion, but they did, and I can see why they reached such a conclusion,” Powell said.