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Former secretary of state Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law while speaking at a CEO forum at a Raleigh country club.

I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” Powell said.

Although North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, has argued that the new voter law is not intended to suppress minority voters — but rather, to counteract widespread election fraud that he compared to “insider trading,” — Powell affirmed, “You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud.”

While delivering the strong remarks in front of McCrory and 400 CEOs from different companies, Powell continued by asking, “How can it [voter fraud] be widespread and undetected?”

The new law requires specific “government-issued photo IDs to vote, shortens early voting days and makes it harder for students to cast ballots,” which many critics argue discriminate against minority and young voters – voters who tend to lean left. The law comes less than two months after the Supreme Court struck down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act that protects against voter discrimination in states with reputations for doing so.

At Thursday’s forum Powell echoed his comments from January, making it clear that such a law “immediately turns off a voting bloc the Republican Party needs,” and “just turns people away.”

He also said the law “punishes” minority voters.

Powell doesn’t seem to be a big fan of McCrory’s. When he was done speaking out against North Carolina’s absurd law, Powell also defended the liberal arts and argued that the discipline “gives people a sense of their place in the world.”

In January, McCrory said he wanted to change higher education and steer farther from “academic pursuits that have no chance of getting people jobs,” such as — according to him — the liberal arts.

Photo: jdlasica via Flickr.com

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