Colin Powell in a previous appearance. Courtesy Meet the Press.
Colin Powell (Courtesy "Meet the Press")

Offering his strongest criticism yet of North Carolina's controversial voting law, former secretary of state Colin Powell on Thursday criticized the state's newly passed photo-identification requirements, early voting cap and student voting limits

Newsobserver.com reports that Powell, a Republican, spoke sharply of the GOP-backed law, saying it turns off a voting bloc the party needs.

"These kinds of actions do not build on the base," he said Thursday at this year's North Carolina CEO Forum in Raleigh. "It just turns people away."

Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who signed the bill into law and has dismissed the idea of voter fraud in North Carolina, was in Powell's audience Thursday.