Businesses speak out against voter suppression bills

by | May 6, 2021 | Policy, Voting

A large number of businesses, ranging from large corporations to local businesses, are criticizing the GOP’s voter suppression proposals in Texas. Two letters have been released this week urging the Texas legislature to stop efforts aimed at making voting more difficult. 

The first letter, signed by more than a hundred business and community leaders from the Houston area, called out specific Republican legislation targeting voting rights. “There has been significant discussion of the evidence of voter suppression in the two omnibus voting rights bills, HB6 and SB7, in addition to dozens of smaller bills with similar aims,” read the letter. The letter cites provisions like the movement of polling machines away from Houston’s urban core and limits on extended voting hours as examples of voter suppression efforts aimed at Black and Brown voters. 

In addition to moral and ethical concerns, the letter warned of negative economic consequences arising from voter suppression. “These provisions, among others, will inevitably damage our competitiveness in attracting businesses and workers to Houston,” read the letter. “Voter suppression is a stain on our reputation that could cost our region millions of dollars.” Indeed, one study found that voter suppression could cost Texas over $30 billion dollars and tens of thousands of jobs.

In spite of the large number of Houston business leaders speaking out against bills like HB6 and SB7, the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), the city’s largest chamber of commerce, has shied away from condemning voter suppression. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo cancelled remarks at GHP in response. 

Turner has praised the businesses and individuals that did speak up against voter suppression.   

The second letter comes from a coalition called Fair Elections Texas and is signed by over 50 businesses. The list of signatories includes some big names like HP, Microsoft, and American Airlines. While it does not call out specific pieces of legislation, it calls on “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.” The letter also makes the economic case against voter suppression. “By supporting a stronger trustworthy democracy, we will elevate our economy,” the letter concludes.  

Businesses have also spoken out against GOP voter suppression efforts in Georgia as well as anti-LGBTQ legislation in Texas. Corporate backlash against GOP policies has infuriated Republicans, with politicians like Mitch McConnell saying that businesses should stay out of politics. Of course, the GOP never had a problem with corporate influence in politics when they were taking money from big donors. 

HB6 is set to be voted on very soon.

Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

Washington Correspondent | + posts

William serves as the Washington Correspondent for the Texas Signal, where he primarily writes about Congress and other federal issues that affect Texas. A graduate of Colorado College, William has worked on Democratic campaigns in Texas, Colorado, and North Carolina. He is an internet meme expert.

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