Powell, a Republican, said he disagreed with Governor Pat McCrory's decision to sign the law - essentially calling it unnecessary - and said it will only alienate voters from the Republican Party in the long run.
Powell spoke Thursday before more than 400 CEOs from various companies at the 2013 NC CEO Forum.
Governor McCrory was also a featured speaker. McCrory's spokesperson pointed out Powell complemented the governor in the areas of education, infrastructure, and "developing North Carolina's human capital."
"The Governor appreciates the warm compliments Secretary Powell made today regarding many of the Governor's initiatives and on voter ID we respectfully disagree," said Kim Genardo.
Powell, a retired general, served as secretary of state under President George W Bush.