4/5 – Getting Down to Business

Dear All,

By pulling the All-Star Game from Atlanta, Major League Baseball sent more than a brushback pitch to Governor Brian Kemp and his allies for increasing barriers to voting that will disproportionately affect Black and brown voters in Georgia. Not quite the “shot heard ‘round the world,” but other states have certainly been put on notice by corporate leaders, and other states are bidding for the All-Star Game (more on that in the State Updates below). In solidarity with Governor Kemp, Texas Governor Greg Abbott opted out of throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ opening game. Georgia lawmakers also threatened to reverse a tax break that benefits Delta after the company spoke out against the state’s law to restrict voting rights.
 
Coca-Cola, which joined Delta in speaking out, has long been the world’s most popular non-alcoholic drink brand. Nonetheless, the companies have come under recent criticism from former President Donald Trump and his supporters who have declared that they won’t bow to corporate pressure.
 
It’s worth noting that business leaders have not always been supportive of voting rights. According to a new report by Public Citizen, a national non-profit organization representing consumer interests, corporations “have contributed $50 million since 2015 to state legislators supporting voter suppression bills, including $22 million during the 2020 election cycle.” 

Here is today’s update:

National Update

New York Times: “Inside Corporate America’s Frantic Response to the Georgia Voting Law.” By David Gelles. (April 5, 2021)
“Companies like Delta are caught between Democrats focused on social justice and populist Republicans. They face major political consequences no matter what they do.”
 
The Hill: “McConnell: Corporations shouldn’t fall for disinformation on voting laws.” By Alexander Bolton. (April 5, 2021)
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday warned companies like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines to ‘stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex’ in reaction to their executives criticizing a new Georgia voting law that critics say would make absentee voting harder and create new restrictions.”
 
New York Times: “Companies Can’t Stay on the Political Sidelines.” By Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jason Karaian, Michael J. de la Merced, Lauren Hirsch, Ephrat Livni, and Sarah Kessler. (April 5, 2021)
“Corporations have increasingly taken social and political stands, often spurred by the policies of former President Donald Trump. But the dispute over voting rights is different, presenting a ‘head-spinning new landscape for big companies,’ The Times’s David Gelles writes. Both political parties consider the issue a priority, so companies face potentially steep consequences no matter what they do.”
 
Reuters: “Half of Republicans believe false accounts of deadly U.S. Capitol riot: Reuters/Ipsos poll.” By James Oliphant and Chris Kahn. (April 5, 2021)
“Since the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have pushed false and misleading accounts to downplay the event that left five dead and scores of others wounded. His supporters appear to have listened.”
 
CNN: “MLK was killed 53 years ago. His fight for Black voting rights has yet to be won.” Op-ed by Dean Obeidallah. (April 4, 2021)
“On April 4, 1968, a White gunman shot and killed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 50 years later, the fight he waged to ensure Black Americans had equal access to vote is still very much alive.”
 
PolitiFact: “Claims about HR 1 keep pouring in. Here are all of our fact-checks in one place.” By Louis Jacobson. (April 5, 2021)
“Over the past few weeks we’ve checked about 20 statements related to H.R. 1. A few of them are accurate, but most of them exaggerate or otherwise misrepresent aspects of the bill. Here’s a rundown of what we found.”
 
NPR: “Oath Keepers Founder Is Under Scrutiny, Court Documents Show.” By Ryan Lucas. (April 5, 2021)
“The Oath Keepers are a far-right militia group. Court documents indicate Stewart Rhodes, the group’s founder, is being scrutinized in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.”

State Updates

Arizona
 
Fox 10: “Could Arizona voting laws get pushback? Bills in the legislature would make voting stricter.” By Brian Webb. (April 4, 2021)
“Georgia’s governor vows to defend his state’s new voting law against lawsuits and boycotts. Republican Brian Kemp made the comments on April 3, one day after Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star game out of Atlanta.”
 
KJZZ: “Arizona Groups Press Companies On Voter Bills.” By Matthew Casey. (April 2, 2021)
“Business leaders are under pressure to denounce GOP voting bills in Arizona and other states. Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has signed onto a letter by Greater Phoenix Leadership, along with other CEOs, urging the legislature not to pass three senate bills that they say would disenfranchise voters.”
 
KOLD News 13: “23 voter suppression bills in Arizona legislature.” By Bud Foster. (April 1, 2021)
“Some people call them voter suppression bills, while others defend them as protecting election integrity. There are 23 bills left at the Arizona state legislature winding their way to the system, and some may end up on Governor Doug Ducey’s desk to be signed into law or possibly vetoed. They are sponsored by Republican lawmakers.”
 
 
Georgia
 
New York Times: “What Georgia’s Voting Law Really Does.” By Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein. (April 2, 2021)
“Go page by page through Georgia’s new voting law, and one takeaway stands above all others: The Republican legislature and governor have made a breathtaking assertion of partisan power in elections, making absentee voting harder and creating restrictions and complications in the wake of narrow losses to Democrats. The New York Times has examined and annotated the law, identifying 16 provisions that hamper the right to vote for some Georgians or strip power from state and local elections officials and give it to legislators.”
 
Michigan
 
Detroit Free Press: “Benson declines invitation to testify at Senate Oversight hearing, citing election lies.” By Clara Hendrickson and Dave Boucher. (April 5, 2021)
“Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson declined an invitation to testify at a Senate Oversight Committee hearing Monday, voicing concerns that the hearing would provide a platform for misinformation about the November 2020 election and advance election bills introduced by Senate Republicans that Benson opposes.”
 
Axios: “Dominion Voting Systems demands ex-Michigan lawmaker retract baseless fraud claims.” By Orion Rummler. (April 4, 2021)
“Dominion Voting Systems demanded on Friday that ex-Michigan state Sen. Patrick Colbeck retract claims that the company rigged the 2020 election in Michigan, and accused the former lawmaker of waging a ‘disinformation campaign.’”
 
North Carolina
 
PolitiFact: “Voter impersonation is rare, North Carolina’s Roy Cooper says’” By Paul Specht. (April 5, 2021)
“With Georgia lawmakers adopting new voter identification requirements, CNN’s Jake Tapper sought perspective from a politician who’s witnessed a similar push for election security in the South: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.”
 
Pennsylvania
 
GoErie (Opinion): “Rep. Ryan Bizzarro: Voting rights attacks are happening nationwide – and they are coming to PaVoting rights attacks are happening nationwideand they are coming to Pa.”(April 5, 2021)
“The least partisan thing we can imagine is the fundamental right to vote. When we talk with Republicans and Democrats—people, not politicians—there is little debate. Anyone who is lawfully registered should be able to vote, securely and conveniently. What we saw happen in Georgia this week, and what is proposed here in Pennsylvania, is the opposite of that.”
 
AP/CBS: “2 Pennsylvania State Senators Invite MLB To Host 2021 All-Star Game In Pittsburgh.” (April 2, 2021)
“Two state senators are inviting Major League Baseball to host the 2021 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. Senators Jay Costa and Wayne Fontana wrote a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Friday saying Pittsburgh can host the game.”
 
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: “Poll: Most Pa. voters don’t believe American democracy is working for all.” By John L. Micek. (April 2, 2021)
“The Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which involved an unsettlingly large number of Pennsylvanians, and the stubborn endurance of the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, revealed deep fissures in the way that Americans think and feel about the political process. But how deep do those fissures run? And can they be repaired? Recent polling by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., attempted to answer both questions, and delivered some decidedly mixed results. The polling did indicate Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly believe that members of Congress who voted against certifying the election results acted improperly (31% approve, 61% disapprove).”
 
Wisconsin: 
 
NPR: “Milwaukee Makes Its Case For The 2021 MLB All-Star Game.” By Megan Hart. (April 5, 2021)
“After Major League Baseball announced last week that it’s moving the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta, it didn’t take long for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to make his pitch. On Friday, Barrett sent a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred offering up Milwaukee as a possible replacement site. Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley joined the effort with a letter to Manfred on Saturday.”
 
News & Independent: “Election lawsuits cost Wisconsin taxpayers nearly $3 million in 2020.” By Karyn Saemann. (April 4, 2021)
“The legal fight over Wisconsin’s 2020 elections cost taxpayers nearly $3 million in private attorneys, according to bills obtained by WisPolitics.com. And legal bills were still rolling in, as Gov. Tony Evers has indicated he’ll try to recoup some of his costs from those who filed the suits. The bulk of the legal tab was the nearly $2.4 million GOP lawmakers spent in more than a half-dozen federal lawsuits that began ahead of the April election and stretched through the fall. It also includes the successful suit they filed with the state Supreme Court to prevent Evers from moving the April election via executive order.”
 
Madison.com (Opinion): “Rep. Jonathan Brostoff and Sup. Marcelia Nicholson: Wisconsin senators must support voting rights bill.” (April 3, 2021)
“Earlier this month, the U.S. House took a democracy-affirming step that is sorely needed as we confront some of the biggest threats to our rights in recent memory. It passed the ‘For the People Act,’ a comprehensive bill that shores up voting rights and goes after corruption and secretive big spending in politics. Now the Senate has to act, as a wave of anti-democratic measures in legislatures around the country is threatening to engulf our democracy.”

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