On Friday, nearly 200 companies joined a strong opposition to proposals that threaten to limit voting access in dozens of states as a sign of corporate readiness to address social justice issues.
As the Baseball League announced that the All-Star Game would move to Atlanta this summer in response to Georgia’s limited voting law, the leaders of at least 193 companies, including Dow, HP, Twitter and Estée Lauder, urged them to protect their voting rights throughout. in the country.
“There are hundreds of bills that threaten to make voting more difficult in dozens of states across the country,” the leaders wrote in a statement that included the signatures of Under Armor, Salesforce and ViacomCBS CEOs.
“We urge elected leaders to work through the corridor in each state capital, Congress, to ensure that every competent American has the freedom to vote easily and to participate fully in our democracy,” the statement said.
The joint statement was organized by the Civic Alliance, a non-partisan group of businessmen whose main goal was to attract voters.
In the wake of the summer protests against the police after the deaths of George և Floyd և Breona Taylor և against the police, companies have taken on the task of combating systemic racism, including in their ranks.
These promises raised the expectations of consumers և activists for corporate accountability, putting pressure on them to voice government policy և its impact on communities.
After Georgia signed into law the Integrity of Elections Act, which critics say disproportionately affects the access of people of color to voting, corporations came under pressure this week to push for similar bills in almost all states.
Most of the corporate criticism of Legislature legislation came after the law was passed, despite weeks of statements and protests by activists, which were signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on March 25.
In a petition on Friday, businessmen pressured activists to step up until the bills became law and to withdraw their announcements.
In addition to condemning voting proposals in dozens of states, activists want companies to testify before lawmakers, withdraw financial support from lawmakers who support them, and consider federal electoral reform legislation.
“We want them to lobby senators for the current bill, to use their power to lobby as aggressively as they do for their own interests,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of the National Black Group. are possible? “At the end of the day, democracy is in their business interests.”
They are also looking beyond Georgia.
The next battleground for activists is Texas, where the state legislature has introduced the largest number of restrictive bills (49 as of March 24). One of them, Senate Bill 7, which bans early night voting, voting before early voting, was passed in the Senate and moved to the State House on Thursday morning. The House is considering its voting bill, House 6, which prohibits absentee ballot applications from being sent to voters without their request.
Dell CEO Michael Dell tweeted Thursday that “governments need to make sure citizens hear their voices,” while Texas House Bill 6 “does the opposite.” The Texas-based company declined to comment further.
The announcement of American Airlines based in Texas says: “We are categorically against this bill and other similar projects. “As a Texas-based business, we must uphold the rights of our team members, our customers, who call Texas home, respect the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand our voting rights.”
Albright was at Houston Airport on Wednesday as he took part in a protest against state-proposed legislation at AT&T’s Dallas headquarters. The business leaders of the SS are urging the companies to fight against the voting bills pushed by the Republican legislators in at least 43 states after the adoption of the Georgian legislation.
“It was not just a piece of fluff,” Albright said. “They had a substantive conversation about the letter, the law, what the corporate community expects. It was passionate. It was not a hostage video. It was not a statement you made because you had to. ”
Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 361 bills in at least 47 states that would limit postal, early voting day access, according to the Brennan Non-Partisan Justice Center as of March 24.
The Coalition of Voting Rights Organizers, including the Georgian NAACP, the Black Voters Matter, and the New Georgia Project Action Fund, a former Democratic nominee for the Stacey Abrams, have joined forces to fight bills introduced by Reverend James Ames Woodol of Georgia. The president of NAACP calls C my Crow 2.0 and calls for support for the corporation.
Meanwhile, Google Walker’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, tweeted on Wednesday that he was supporting Lew von Lewis’ Federal Voting Promotion Act, a federal bill that would oversee changes to voting rights.
More corporations ներ executives have spoken out as leading Georgian companies such as Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola took a stronger stance on the bill on Wednesday.
The Business Roundtable, a coalition of corporate CEOs chaired by Walmart President Doug McMillan, said Wednesday.
On Thursday, Amazon’s senior vice president, Ay Carney, tweeted that the company was opposed to “efforts in other states to limit Americans’ voting power,” and said he hoped states would back down. Virginia’s efforts to strengthen voter protection. (Amazon Founder և CEO ff Bezos is owned by The Washington Post).
The Civic Alliance first began discussing a letter of signature for its members late last week, but the letter from BlackBerry leaders was something that “really shifted the scales,” said Mike Ward, co-founder of the group. The announcement “literally had a call in itself. “We urge our partner leaders, business leaders, to join us.” In the eight hours to Thursday, about 10 percent of the organization’s approximately 1,070 member companies decided to sign up, and Ward expects that number to continue to grow.
Ward said the organization has received dozens of calls and emails a day since the signing of the law in the state of Law, that he has worked with some companies to help them process their announcements. Ward says. “It’s very similar to November, instead of April next year,” Ward said.
Ward said he believes states where legislation is not yet in place will pay more attention to corporations, that companies are considering out-of-bounds options, such as withholding revenue, lobbying under federal law or talking directly to lawmakers. :
The bills have been pushed forward, welcomed by the GOP, and some high-ranking officials have criticized the wave of push with businesses. In the aftermath of a fierce attack on Delta Air Lines when CEO Ed Bastia condemned the Georgian bill, Kemp said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday that companies would “have to answer to their shareholders.”
In a statement Thursday night, Texas Lt. Col. Dan Patrick responded to American Airlines, saying: “Texans are fed up with corporations that do not share our values in trying to dictate public policy.”
Patrick added. “The majority of Texans support the integrity of our election, which is why I made it a priority in this legislative session. “The Senate bill includes comprehensive reforms that will ensure that nationwide voting in Texas is safe.”
Texas R-Mineola Sen. Brian Hughes, who drafted the bill, also tweeted on Thursday night that the company had not even read the bill.
US spokeswoman Stacey Day said the airline’s team had reviewed the bill.
Ward said that while critics have argued that companies are slow to respond, the public has historically not expected companies to focus on access to voting. But Albright hopes that more Corporate America will follow Chenault’s urge that “there can be no middle ground” and expect concrete action other than making announcements or signing letters.
“As aggressively as you tell the world to have a smoky smile, you must also tell the world to repeal this law,” Albright said. “If you really want to show us that this is an unacceptable law, you can still take some action.”