Corporate America is going through stress to take a stand in opposition to payments being superior in lots of state legislatures that civil-rights activists have argued will make it tougher for many individuals to vote.
Last month, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law laws overhauling how elections function in the state. Among the adjustments made by the sweeping, Republican-sponsored package deal are restrictions on voting by mail and giving the state’s legislature better management over voting, together with a new capability to deem county election operations underperforming and claw again native administration.
The laws additionally weakens the secretary of state’s function in election administration. The present occupant of that workplace, Republican Brad Raffensperger, drew the ire of then-President Donald Trump and allies for defending the integrity of the 2020 election, together with in a telephone name the place Trump suggested that Raffensperger should be able to “find 11,780 votes,” enough to beat President Joe Biden’s successful margin in the state.
Georgia isn’t the solely state the place Republican lawmakers have pursued such adjustments — others embody Texas and Arizona. But the Peach State’s new legislation has sparked a big outcry from voting-rights activists and civil-rights organizations. Calls for boycotts have led sports leagues and film productions to maneuver enterprise out of Georgia.
Top Atlanta employers Delta and Coca-Cola put out strongly worded statements in defense of voting rights however not until after Kemp had signed the invoice into legislation.
On Wednesday, tons of of main U.S. companies, executives and different notables signed a statement that opposed legal guidelines proscribing voter rights. The assertion ran as a two-page advert in a number of main papers below the heading, “We stand for democracy.”
“Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy and we call upon all Americans to join us in taking a nonpartisan stand for this most basic and fundamental right of all Americans,” the assertion learn partially.
The assertion was led by former American Express
Chief Executive Ken Chenault and Merck
CEO Ken Frazier. Among the signatories had been 9 of the 30 companies included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. In addition to Amex and Merck, Apple Inc.
Johnson & Johnson
signed the open letter.
Previously, the Business Roundtable (*30*) arguing that “state laws must safeguard and guarantee the right to vote.” The Business Roundtable additionally known as for “bipartisan efforts to provide greater access to voting and encourage broad voter participation.”
MarketWatch requested the 30 companies that make up the present Dow Jones Industrial Average
why they did or didn’t select to signal the assertion and about their stances on voting rights.
Here’s what they mentioned:
didn’t touch upon why the firm didn’t signal the open letter. A spokeswoman for the firm directed MarketWatch to an announcement on the firm’s web site reflecting on its historical past of voter advocacy. “We support equal access and opportunity for all eligible voters to participate in the election process,” the assertion reads partially.
didn’t touch upon its selection to not take part in the public letter. In an announcement, an organization spokesperson famous that Chevron affords paid break day for its staff to vote. “We believe any changes to state laws should aim to ensure fairness, openness and integrity in the election process and make it easy for a citizen to cast his or her vote,” the firm mentioned. “Ultimately, it is the role of governments and elected officials to transparently resolve issues such as these with the participation of civil society.”
Cisco Systems didn’t present further remark as to its determination to signal on to the open letter. However, Cisco CEO and Chairman Chuck Robbins previously said on Twitter that “governments should be working to make it easier to vote, not hard.” He argued that defending voting rights is “an issue of right and wrong.”
having beforehand denounced Georgia’s new voting legislation, mentioned it had not seen the open letter, which was initiated by the Black Economic Alliance, however famous that the firm was “open to hearing their perspective.” The firm added it’s targeted on “meeting and collaborating with local groups.”
didn’t say why it didn’t signal the letter. But the firm famous that it supported the positions put ahead by the Business Roundtable and the Civic Alliance. “We believe the right to vote is essential to a strong democracy and must be protected,” a spokesperson mentioned. Dow affords paid break day to staff for voting.
informed MarketWatch that it has “decided that the most appropriate approach for us to take is to continue to underscore our statement that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation, and to continue to work to ensure our associates in Georgia and across the country have the information and resources to vote.” The home-improvement retailer is headquartered in Atlanta.
didn’t present particular remark as to why it hadn’t signed on to Wednesday’s assertion. An organization spokesperson mentioned Intel is, nonetheless, signing a letter from the Business for Voting Rights coalition calling on the Senate to move voting-rights laws, as the U.S. House has done. “As our CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has said, Intel opposes any legislation that seeks to reduce the voting rights or opportunities of American citizens,” the spokesperson shared.
famous that the firm made its personal “strong statement last month about the critical importance of every citizen being able to exercise their fundament right to vote.” CEO Jamie Dimon had previously stated his opposition to efforts that “may prevent” Americans from being able to exercise their right to vote.
Microsoft didn’t present further remark as to its option to signal on to Wednesday’s assertion. Notably, the firm’s CEO and president — Satya Nadella and Brad Smith — each signed the assertion together with the firm itself. In March, Smith published a blog post outlining Microsoft’s issues about Georgia’s new legislation, saying it “contains important provisions that needlessly and unfairly make it more difficult for people to vote.”
famous that it’s “aligned with Business Roundtable’s statement in support of access to voting rights” and informed MarketWatch that it had “sent a communication this week to all U.S. employees reinforcing our commitment to voter access, as well as steps we have taken to make it easier to vote.” It didn’t signal the letter printed Wednesday.
Procter & Gamble
didn’t present touch upon Wednesday’s assertion. However, a spokesperson referred MarketWatch to an earlier LinkedIn post by the firm’s CEO, David Taylor. In the submit, Taylor famous that the firm “is not a political organization” and doesn’t “take a position on every candidate or legislative item.” He argued that Americans ought to be capable of vote “easily, safely and securely,” noting that firm affords paid break day for its staff to take part in elections.
Salesforce mentioned it’s “engaging on issues related to voting rights as part of [the] nonpartisan policy priorities” laid out by the firm’s racial equality and justice job power. An organization spokesperson added that Salesforce believes “every eligible person must have equal access to the ballot box.”
CEO and Chairman Alfred Kelly Jr. mentioned the U.S. “must have a voting system that allows everyone to vote in a process that is accessible, fair and has high integrity” in a LinkedIn post earlier this week. He additionally mentioned that voting rights shouldn’t be a partisan difficulty. The firm expanded its time-off coverage for workers to exit and vote from two to 4 hours final 12 months and plans to develop it to eight hours this 12 months. The firm didn’t say why it didn’t take part in the joint assertion that got here out on Wednesday.
Walgreens Boots Alliance
didn’t say why the firm selected to not take part in Wednesday’s open letter. But an organization spokesperson famous that it believes “strongly that the secure, fair access to voting is a fundamental constitutional right, and each eligible voter should be able to exercise this right to the fullest.”
highlighted its participation in the Business Roundtable’s earlier assertion. “Over the last month, there have been a number of statements and joint letters from the business community related to voting rights,” an organization spokesperson mentioned. “Walmart supports the Business Roundtable’s recently issued statement, which our CEO Doug McMillon was heavily involved in drafting in his role as BRT chairman. The BRT statement affirms that the right to vote and the integrity of our elections are cornerstones of our democracy, and we’ve also shared it with our associates.”
The following companies had not responded to MarketWatch’s request for direct touch upon Wednesday’s joint assertion:
Johnson & Johnson