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A bit of business pushback against voter suppression

It’s a start, but much more is needed.

A group of 72 Black business leaders are calling on companies to publicly oppose a series of bills being advanced by Republicans in at least 43 states that could dramatically curb access to the ballot box.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Black corporate executives are rallying around a letter that pushes back on a Georgia law that voting rights advocates have said will make it harder for Black people to vote.

“There is no middle ground here,” Kenneth Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express and one of the letter’s organizers told the Times. “You either are for more people voting, or you want to suppress the vote.”

The letter — which urges corporate America to publicly oppose new laws that would restrict the rights of voters — comes after major Atlanta-based corporations, including Coca-Cola and Home Depot, failed to formally condemn the bills restricting voting rights.

The letter’s powerhouse group of signers include Roger Ferguson Jr., CEO of TIAA; Mellody Hobson and John Rogers Jr., the co-chief executives of Ariel Investments; Robert Smith, CEO of Vista Equity Partners; and Raymond McGuire, a former Citigroup executive who is running for New York City Mayor.

Also among the letter’s long list of supporters were Richard Parsons, a former chairman of Citigroup and chief executive of Time Warner, and Tony West, the chief legal officer at Uber.

[…]

While voting rights and advocacy groups, including the ACLU and NAACP, have filed a series of lawsuits against the bill in the wake of its passage, a majority of corporations have remained largely mum on the legislation.

Delta Air Lines CEO came forward and issued a memo on Wednesday calling the final bill “unacceptable,” suggesting that it hinged on the premise of former President Donald Trump’s false claims about a stolen election.

The group of executives stopped short of calling out specific companies for their inaction, but are asking big corporations to dedicate resources to  fighting voting rights restrictions.

The executives are hoping that big companies will help short circuit dozens of similar bills in other states from being signed into law.

Like Texas, for example. Former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins has sounded the alarm and called for the business community to get involved as well. I unfortunately think it’s already too late – remember, when there was a lot of business resistance to the bathroom bill in 2017 (which the likes of Dan Patrick viewed with contempt), it was underway well before the session began. We’re already pretty far into the process, and there hasn’t been a peep in Texas as yet, other than some progressive groups taking out ads urging businesses to get involved, which is still a couple of steps away from meaningful action. Things are starting to move in Georgia, but of course that’s after their heinous bill has been signed into law. Sometimes it just takes that much longer for the forces that oppose evil to get its act together. It’s still worth the effort, but time is fast running out.

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5 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    These companies need to pull the logs out of their own eyes, before they start attacking the motes in government policy. For example, Delta should lobby to stop the government from requiring proper ID to board one of their flights. Why is Delta not fighting this clearly racist policy? Fight that FIRST, Delta! This is intentionally discriminatory to keep non Whites off of their planes. Coke is even worse. In order to attend Coke’s shareholder meeting….yup, you have to show proper ID or be turned away. How does Coke expect non Whites to be able to get into their shareholders’ meeting? They don’t! If they want to do something, start there, and start letting anyone, even non Whites with no ID into their own proceedings.

    So Coke will allow non Whites to buy their product, to consume their product, but they won’t allow non Whites into their meetings? Racist. This is Jim Eagle stuff. Do better, Coke. Either that, or just sell your diabetes inducing elixirs and STFU about things you are vulnerable to criticism about.

    If we were a thinking people, we’d be boycotting Coke until they stop their racist policies that keep non Whites out of their shareholders’ meetings. Instead, they hide their own institutional racism by doing the ol’ “Look, look at that over there!” distraction.

  2. C.L. says:

    We’re not a thinking people… clearly.

    re: “Instead, they hide their own XYZ by doing the ol’ “Look, look at that over there!” distraction.” That sounds suspiciously like a familiar tactic by the posters to this board.

  3. Flypusher says:

    Of all the places to claim rampant voter fraud in dire need of a fix, GA has to be the least credible place to do this. There was a MANUALLY COUNTED audit of all the votes:

    https://sos.ga.gov/index.php/elections/historic_first_statewide_audit_of_paper_ballots_upholds_result_of_presidential_race

    The people on the ground in all the precincts did an absolutely outstanding and heroic job under extremely difficult circumstances. They deserve praise, not the backhanded insult this bullshit bill represents. This bill isn’t addressing any issue of widespread fraud, because that audit definitively showed there wasn’t any. The issue is too many people who want to vote for Democrats.

    Timing matters. These statements would have meant a lot more several weeks ago. Now they’re a day late and a $ short. So Delta and Coke and anyone else who doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of history just dug themselves a deeper hole to climb out of.

    Any poor person who doesn’t have ID that fits the new requirements isn’t getting on any planes either. I’d buy the claim that it’s really about fraud prevention if there was also a provision to ensure that everyone could easily get the required ID. But there isn’t, so I call bullshit.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    Is having rules for an election voter suppression? I read the Time magazine article about all of the finagling and questionable rule changes that were done to get the right outcome in the 2020 presidential election. There must be rules, that are agreed upon by both parties, and a signed document memorializing the rules of the game. It should take effect in 2025, after the parties have had time to adjust campaign strategies according to the new rules of the game.

    I find it amazing that people want to vote so much that they will break the law. I can vote but I don’t because the candidates are both lousy. They should make a rule that you can sell your vote on eBay to the highest bidder. I would put a reserve of $8,000 and cash in.

    I’m still waiting for a 25th amendment throw down on Pres. Biden. And also for the outrage of kids in cages, and the bombing of Syria, and all of the mass shootings caused by the new administration, and the division it is sowing. Once again Biden’s dog bit someone. Owners often take after their dogs. ON the other hand, the First Dog may just be upset because Biden pulls his tail.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Delta bites hand that feeds it….predictable results:

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthart/2021/04/01/georgia-house-passes-bill-stripping-delta-of-a-multimillion-tax-break-after-it-slammed-the-states-new-voting-restrictions/?sh=11334ae94a42

    I’m sure Delta understands, it wouldn’t be right for them to get preferential treatment from such a mean ol’ state government. Accepting the tax break would make them complicit in racism.