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The U.S. business community lays into Georgia’s new voting law

April 1, 2021, 9:50 AM UTC

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Good morning and welcome to Q2. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

After some prodding, the U.S. business community yesterday came out in force to decry Georgia’s newly enacted voting law, which tightens identification requirements for mail-in ballots, cuts early voting times for runoffs, allows counties to limit voting times to the times most hourly wage earners will be at work, and bans people from giving food or water to voters waiting in line.

Let’s start with these quotes from an Black Economic Alliance ad in the New York Times, with signatories including Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and former VEON CEO Ursula Burns:

“Sadly, at this very moment, the fundamental tenets of our democracy are under assault by forces that seek to take this country backwards…The new law and others like it are both undemocratic and un-American, and they are wrong…The disproportionate racial impact of these allegedly ‘neutral laws’ should neither be overlooked nor excused.

“As Black business leaders, we cannot sit silently in the face of this gathering threat to our nation’s democratic values and allow the fundamental right of Americans, to cast their votes for whomever they choose, to be trampled upon yet again…We call upon our colleagues in Corporate America to join us in taking a non-partisan stand for equality and democracy.”

That was swiftly followed by a supportive LinkedIn post by current American Express CEO Steve Squeri. An excerpt:

“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy. Ensuring equal and easy access to vote, for all those who are eligible to participate in each state, is critical to upholding the principles our country was founded upon. Unfairly limiting that right is wrong.”

Here’s the Business Roundtable:

“The right to vote is the essence of a democratic society, and the voice of every voter should be heard in fair elections that are conducted with integrity. Unnecessary restrictions on the right to vote strike at the heart of representative government. Business Roundtable members believe state laws must safeguard and guarantee the right to vote.

“Over the course of our nation’s history, the right to vote was hard fought for so many Americans, particularly women and people of color. We call on elected officials across the country to commit to bipartisan efforts to provide greater access to voting and encourage broad voter participation.”

And finally, here’s Delta CEO Ed Bastian, trying again after his previous comments last week were seen as overly tepid, and a boycott of his Atlanta-based company loomed:

“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections…I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”

More news below.

David Meyer


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This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.