4/1 – Corporate Accounting

Dear All,

Governor Brian Kemp and state lawmakers are facing increasing pressure in Georgia from some of the state’s most prominent corporations. The fact is that supporting voter suppression is bad for business. Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola have called the recently signed SB 202 voting law “unacceptable.” But is it time to boycott businesses that are still holding out? Fair Fight founder Stacey Abrams says not yet, writing in a USA Today op-ed: “I ask you to bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight. Stay and vote.”
 
Unfortunately, Georgia isn’t the only state that should be feeling the corporate and public heat. Today, the Brennan Center for Justice updated its accounting of voting rights legislation in the states. The nonpartisan law and policy institute found: “As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. That’s 108 more than the 253 restrictive bills tallied as of February 19, 2021—a 43 percent increase in little more than a month.”
 
This all while six dozen powerful Black business executives have been outspoken in an organized effort to “directly call out their peers for failing to stand up for racial justice”—which, according to the New York Times, is a historic first. The group is calling on companies to fight the wave of voting restrictions moving through state legislatures.

The pressure from the business community is a step in the right direction, as is the significant rise in the number of bills to expand the freedom to vote. According to the Brennan Center, there have been more than 100 voting rights expansion bills introduced since the original round-up in February, bringing the total to 843 bills in 47 states.

Some housekeeping: we are trying a slightly different format for the VPP National and State updates. In addition to the recap above, we will share a set of national and state-specific clips that we find helpful in understanding the latest developments in the democracy protection arena. We hope you like it, and as always, we welcome your feedback. 

Here is today’s update:

National Update

CNN: “Hillary Clinton backs repealing the filibuster for voting rights bills.” By Dan Merica. (March 31, 2021)
“Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has added her name to the chorus of top Democrats who believe it is time to get rid of the Senate filibuster specifically to pass bills relating to voting rights.”
 
The Hill: “Ben Shapiro faces backlash for comparing long lines at polls to Disneyland.” By Celine Castronuovo. (March 31, 2021)
“Conservative commentator and Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro on Wednesday received backlash on social media for comparing lines at election polling places to lines at Disneyland while criticizing claims that Georgia’s new sweeping voting law is racist.”
 
CNN: Jamie Dimon speaks out on voting rights even as many CEOs remain silent.” By Matt Egan. (March 31, 2021)
“JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is speaking out in defense of voting rights in the wake of Georgia’s restrictive voting law and as other battleground states consider similar actions. The company’s ’employees span the United States and as state capitals debate election laws, we believe voting must be accessible and equitable,’ Dimon said in a statement”

State Updates

Arizona
 
AP: “CEO of firm eyeing ballots appeared to make political posts.” By Bob Christie. April 1, 2021)
“The CEO of a company hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to lead a recount of all 2.1 million ballots cast in the state’s most populous county in November appears to have posted sympathetically about election conspiracies in a now-deleted Twitter account. Senate President Karen Fann announced Wednesday that an independent audit of the election in Maricopa County would use four firms, with a Florida-based cyber security company called Cyber Ninjas leading the effort. The Senate contends the audit is needed to ensure that President Joe Biden’s win was legitimate.”
 
Georgia
 
Georgia Public Radio: “Here Are All The Lawsuits Challenging Georgia’s New Voting Law.” By Stephen Fowler. (March 30, 2021)
“The fight over Georgia’s sweeping new 98-page voting law has moved from the legislature to the courts, as a number of civil rights groups have filed lawsuits challenging various parts of the omnibus as unconstitutional and in violation of the Voting Rights Act.”
 
Michigan
 
CNN: “Michigan voting rights battle looms as Republicans plan to side-step Whitmer veto.” By Eric Bradner. (March 31, 2021)
“Michigan is emerging as the latest battleground in Republicans’ nationwide push to restrict voting rights, with GOP officials planning to end-run Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s all-but-certain veto of proposed restrictions and progressives beginning to mobilize to stop them.”
 
New Hampshire
 
AP: “New Hampshire delegation defends voting rights legislation.” By Holly Ramer. (March 31, 2021)
“Members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation are defending their support of sweeping legislation to overhaul U.S. elections against criticism from Secretary of State Bill Gardner.
 
Tennessee
 
Tennessee Lookout: “As GOP shifts strategy from election lawsuits to laws, voting rights advocates warn of Tennessee.” By Nate Rau. (March 31, 2021)
“As Republican-led legislatures continue a systematic push to pass laws they say are aimed at ratcheting up election security, voting rights advocates in Tennessee worry the entire nation could soon look a lot like the Volunteer State where voter turnout and voter registration figures are among the lowest in the country.”
 
Texas
 
NBC: “Texas Senate passes restrictive new voting bill.” By Jane C. Timm. (April 1, 2021)
“The Texas Senate in the early morning hours Thursday passed a package of election bills that would put new restrictions on voting in the state. The final version of the Senate Bill 7 is not yet online for review, but the original version of the bill banned overnight early voting hours and drive-thru early voting, while restricting how election officials handle mail voting.”
 
Virginia
 
ABC 8News: “Gov. Northam approves Voting Rights Act, making Virginia the first state to approve its own.” By Amelia Heymann. (March 31, 2021)
“Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Wednesday that he approved the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, making the commonwealth the first state in the U.S. to enact its own voting rights act. ‘At a time when voting rights are under attack across our country, Virginia is expanding access to the ballot box, not restricting it,’ Northam said.”

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