Hundreds of companies, executives and A-listers are showing solidarity against restrictive voting laws advanced across the United States.
Through advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post, some of the country’s most prominent names in retail, finance, entertainment, sports and more industries, as well as nonprofit organizations, came together in one of the largest mobilization efforts by corporate America in support of voting rights.
Among the signatories were e-commerce behemoth Amazon, denim purveyor Levi Strauss & Co., department store Nordstrom, outdoor retailer REI Co-op, sock maker Richer Poorer, big-box chain Target, designer brand Tory Burch LLC and sportswear giant Under Armour. Other notable names included billionaire tycoon Warren Buffett, singers Ariana Grande and Katy Perry, actress-slash-entrepreneur Kate Hudson and former NBA star Dwyane Wade.
“We stand for democracy,” read the statement, which appeared as advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post. “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.”
As the NYT reported, the statement was organized by former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier. The issue of voting rights has garnered national attention after Gov. Brian Kemp signed just over two weeks ago a 98-page election law that contains new restrictions on absentee voting and bans Sunday voting. Days later, Chenault and Frazier led a group of Black business leaders to call on companies to fight similar legislation that has been introduced by Republican politicians in dozens of states.
While the GOP has suggested that the new laws could reduce incidents of voter fraud and election rigging, Democrats claim that they promote voter suppression and would disproportionately impact voters of color. According to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, more than 350 restrictive election bills are being considered in 47 state legislatures.
“Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy,” added the letter, “and we call upon all Americans to join us in taking a nonpartisan stand for this most basic and fundamental right of all Americans.”