Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the Republican Party should abandon its efforts to curb voter participation through voter ID laws and restrictions on hours for early voting.
“Should we really have gone after reducing the turnout of voters in those places where we thought it would make a difference?” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, referring to November’s election, Politico reports.
“The Republican Party should be a party that says, ‘We want everybody to vote,’ and make it easier to vote and give them a reason to vote for the party, not to find ways to keep them from voting at all.”
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Powell says the Republican Party has turned much more conservative. “That’s perfectly acceptable, but if you stay that far to the right, you’re losing where the country is. “The country is moving more toward the center.”
He notes demographic changes as well. Minorities are growing as a portion of the population, particularly Hispanics. That’s a group that supported President Barack Obama by a whopping 71 to 27 percent margin last year.
“You have to appeal with policies and programs to these people who are going to be the leaders of our country in a generation,” Powell says.
As for voter participation, Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott appears to have heard Powell’s message. He announced a plan last week to increase the number of early voting days and locations.
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