Protesters wear chains as they sit at the Capitol headquarters against House Bill 531 on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. HB531 limits early voting hours, removes dropboxing, and requires the use of a government ID when voting by mail.
Megan Varner | Getty Images
Hundreds of companies, executives and celebrities posted a statement Wednesday against “discriminatory laws or measures” that would restrict access to ballot papers.
The statement is the latest and greatest demonstration of corporate backlash to GOP-backed electoral laws in state legislatures across the country that civil rights activists say will make it harder for minorities to vote.
Ken Chenault, former American Express CEO and Ken Frazier, Managing Director of Merck, organized the declaration, according to the New York Timeswho first reported on the statement. The statement appeared in print advertising Wednesday in the Times and Washington Post.
Celebrities included George Clooney, Queen Latifah, Demi Lovato, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gwyneth Paltrow, Shonda Rhimes, and Dwyane Wade.
Law firms and nonprofits also signed the statement.
Chenault and Frazier two weeks earlier performed a Coalition of Prominent Black Business People Calling on the American company to oppose voter restrictions. The move came after Georgia Republican governor Brian Kemp signed a sweeping electoral law Opponents say that black voters are disproportionately injured.
Georgia-based company Coke and Delta Airlines, which condemned the Georgian law as “unacceptable” after it was passed, refused to sign Wednesday’s statement, the Times reported. Home DepotAnother company headquartered in Peach State also reportedly declined to sign up.
Georgian lawmakers threatened to lift a tax break for Delta after the company violated the new electoral law. Former President Donald Trump called for a boycott in early April of companies speaking out against voter restrictions, including Delta, Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball, which pulled this summer’s All-Star Game out of the Atlanta area in response to electoral laws. Senate minority chairman Mitch McConnell said last week corporations should “stay out of politics.”
Businesses and business leaders join the debate over voting rights as lawmakers consider electoral legislation at the state and local levels.
Non-partisan political institute Brennan Center for Justice tracked As of March 24th, 361 restrictive bills were passed nationwide in 47 states.
The Senate is considering a comprehensive electoral reform law that For the People’s Law, which Democrats see as a way to combat Republican-backed voter restrictions in state legislatures.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a letter on Tuesday strongly opposite the For the People Act.