Many of the country’s largest and most powerful companies have signed a letter against laws that restrict voting access
With the headline “We Stand for Democracy,” the letter states, “For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us. We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot.”
A broad cross-section of businesses, individuals, law firms and nonprofits signed the two-page ad published in The New York Times and the Washington Post this week. Alphabet, Apple, Amazon, Bain & Company, Bank of America, BestBuy, Deloitte, EY, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, PwC, Starbucks and Target, as well as Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffet and Queen Latifah were just some of the signatories.
Former American Express CEO Ken Chenault and Merck CEO Ken Frazier organized the initial campaign.
The letter came in response to Republican efforts in statehouses across the country to create greater voting restrictions, citing election integrity. But this has been without evidence of substantial voter fraud in the 2020 elections. Civil rights groups have protested the legislation as discriminating against Black communities.
Georgia’s recent passing of legislation that restricted voting rights resulted in Delta and Coca-Cola taking strong stances against the law. Major League Baseball moved the All-Star game from Atlanta to Colorado. Similarly, Dell Technologies and American Airlines voiced opposition to similar legislative proposals in Texas.
Civil rights groups had urged the boycotting of corporations which even tacitly supported the voting restriction laws, with silence. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-AL) and former President Donald Trump have admonished corporations to stay out of politics. Trump called for a boycott of Delta and Coca-Cola. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Lee (R-UT) tried to revoke an antitrust exemption for MLB as retribution.
Dell and American Airlines signed onto this most recent letter of protest. Delta and Coca-Cola have not.
In explaining their decision not to sign the letter, a Coca-Cola spokesperson sent a general statement to PRWeek, which read in part, “We have spoken up in support of the foundational right to vote. We will continue to assess how we can best support voting rights and access in Georgia and across the country.”
Coca-Cola added that it remains open to conversations with advocacy groups and lawmakers having differing views.
A Delta spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Other companies, whose signatures were notably absent included Home Depot, headquartered in Atlanta, and JPMorgan Chase and Walmart, due to their size and influence.
When asked to comment on their decision not to sign the letter, Home Depot sent PRWeek a general statement in support of accessible, fair, secure voting and broad voter participation.
JPMorgan Chase referenced CEO Jamie Dimon’s general statement made on March 31: "[As] state capitols debate election laws, we believe voting must be accessible and equitable. We regularly encourage our employees to exercise their fundamental right to vote, and we stand against efforts that may prevent them from being able to do so.”
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove stated that the retail giant supports the Business Roundtable’s statement of March 31 that opposes unnecessary voting restrictions. He added as chairman of the BRT, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon was heavily involved in its drafting. The position calls for bipartisan support “to provide greater access to voting and encourage broad voter participation.”