In a keynote address in Raleigh, North Carolina immediately following remarks by McCrory, the former George W. Bush official rejected McCrory’s assertion that there is widespread voter fraud, which McCrory analogized to insider trading.
“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?” Research finds that person is more likely to have been struck by lightning than to have committed voter fraud.
On North Carolina’s new voting law, considered to be the most restrictive in the nation, Powell told the audience at the CEO Forum:
I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote. [...]
It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs. These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.
The new North Carolina voting law, ushered quickly through the legislature in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision gutting a key prong of the Voting Rights Act, imposes a slate of new limits on voting, including a strict new voter ID requirement, cuts to early voting and same-day registration, and new prohibitions on registration drives. These limits disproportionately affect minorities, the poor, and the elderly.
The law has already prompted a wave of lawsuits. And one state legislature has resigned, in large part to ensure no North Carolina is disenfranchised once the law goes into effect.