Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke out against voter ID laws in an interview on Mar.8, saying that those politicians who have supported and voted in favor of the laws should be voted out of office.
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, Powell discussed his disappointment with the voter ID laws, currently attributed to mainly southern states, and encouraged voters to vote in future elections.
“And what I say to my friends in the African-American community, is whatever those states do, you meet the standards and then you make sure you register. You make sure you vote. You make sure you vote for the people who tried to put these barriers, these hurdles in your way and then you vote them out,” Powell said.
The general has a history of speaking out against voter ID laws, with one of the more prominent comments occurring in August 2013. At the time, Powell, a Republican, warned the Republican Party that the ID laws would “backfire” on those legislators who created and supported them. He even received support from more conservative members of the party, including radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.
In the Mar. 8 interview, Powell was also asked about the new report showing the Ferguson, Missouri, police department’s racial practices, from the derogatory emails sent in office to pulling over African-Americans because of their race alone.
“I know that these things existed in other parts of the country. This – this shouldn’t have been a great surprise to any of us.”
Powell also advocated for better communication and understanding on both sides, including the accused.
“We also have to tell our young people, when you’re stopped by a police officer, stop and listen carefully and do not argue or fight. Let it resolve itself, especially if you’ve done nothing.”
Stephanopoulos also asked Powell about race relations in the Republican Party.
“I still see it. I still see it in the Republican Party and I still see it in other parts of our country," Powell said. "You don’t have to be a Republican – a Republican to be touched by this dark vein.”
Despite being a Republican who worked for both George H.W. Bush and his son, Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008 and 2012.
Photo Credit: Commonwealth Club/Flickr, blackstreetonline.com