The scheme to rig the Electoral College is losing steam across the country, as leaders in nearly every state that’s been mulling the plan have since backed off the idea. The plan appears to be all but DOA in Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan, and the likelihood of passage is shrinking in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped lawmakers in other states from pushing forward on another form of voter suppression. Voter ID laws are up for consideration in North Carolina, Montana, Nevada, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Virginia Republicans, fresh off instituting a relatively nonrestrictive form of voter ID law last year, are on track to create further limitations, shortening their list of acceptable forms of ID.
One of the biggest opponents to voter ID laws squared off Tuesday night against one of its supporters, as former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, went head to head with Bill O’Reilly in a long interview. Powell pointed to the typically Republican-backed voter suppression laws as an example of one way in which the party has alienated minorities.
“I don’t think the party recognizes the fundamental demographic changes that are taking place in this country,” he said. ”If you want these people to come to the Republican side…you can’t have policies that try to make it harder for minorities to vote.”
He continued, “I think that one of the most terrible things that happened in the past election season is when we had a number of states that were going out of their way claiming that there was outright fraud, when there really wasn’t any fraud to be of concern to us, but we were doing things to make it more difficult for those people to vote.”
O’Reilly pushed back, asking if Powell objected to showing an ID to vote.
“I object to putting in place additional levels of voter ID that disenfranchise those of our fellow citizens,” Powell responded. “I want to see a Republican Party that rather than trying to make it more difficult to vote, and restricting the number of days and hours you can vote, a Republican Party that says ‘we want everybody to vote, and we’re going to give you a reason to vote for us.’”
O’Reilly countered with the fraud complaints “surely you know how fraud is committed” pointing to anecdotal accounts in cities like Chicago. Powell held strong in his opposition, pointing out that no studies have shown that “fraud is a problem of such significance that these kinds of procedures” are warranted.
This is not the first time Powell has spoken out against voter suppression measures, including an appearance on Morning Joe in which he argued that the GOP should instead “make it easier for people to vote and give them a reason to vote for the party, and not to find ways to keep them from voting at all.”
Powell has taken heat from many on the right since he criticized Republicans for a “dark vein of intolerance” in which he complained about suppression and racially-coded language used to appeal to voters who might have racial biases.