Business Leaders Unite To Thwart Nationwide GOP Voter Suppression

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“Corporate leaders are now fighting behind the scenes against Republican-supported voting laws they consider too restrictive, following repeated attacks from GOP leaders and their well-funded allies,” a new CNBC report says. Corporate opposition to Republican-backed voting restrictions has already played out publicly to the point that Major League Baseball even announced that they’d be moving the upcoming All-Star Game out of Georgia, where Republican state leaders recently enacted restrictions like new voter ID requirements for voting by mail. Now, corporate interests are continuing to organize opposition to the election-related restrictions.

As summarized by CNBC, “Executives are attempting to sway lawmakers at state and federal levels, including advocacy for the Democratic-backed John Lewis Voting Rights and For the People acts in Congress.” Among other steps, business leaders are seeking to get the NCAA to move college championship games out of Texas (or take a similar step) if Republicans successfully enact controversial voting restrictions there. The board of governors at the NCAA has previously released a statement insisting that “an equal and fair opportunity for all Americans to vote cannot be diminished in any way,” adding that they “wholeheartedly support efforts to assist all in exercising this fundamental right.”

Meanwhile, signatories of a recent public letter opposing restrictions on voting rights in Texas have been reaching out to Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, CNBC adds. The original public letter asked “all elected leaders in Texas to support reforms that make democracy more accessible and oppose any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot,” and it included more than 180 local business and community leaders alongside 50 corporations like American Airlines (which is based in Texas) as signatories.

According to Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who has been involved in organizing corporate responses to GOP voter suppression, corporate lawyer Brad Karp “has organized a group of almost 100 lawyers to respond to any potential restrictive voting laws in” Pennsylania, as CNBC summarizes.

Continuing on with the theme of proactive pro-democracy advocacy, business leaders have also been putting together a statement in favor of the broad-ranging voting rights and anti-corruption bill known as the For the People Act, which the House has passed and is under consideration in the Senate. Corporate leaders have also been “looking at signing a letter to congressional lawmakers that would be in support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,” CNBC says. If passed, that legislation would restore original provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and demand federal review of election-related procedure changes that could harm marginalized communities. The conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court erased previous requirements for those reviews in 2013.