Over 100 of the country’s top executives and CEOs held a virtual meeting over the weekend to discuss how they plan to respond to a list of new election laws under consideration in several states, according to a statement from the organizers of the meeting.
The group discussed a number of different actions to push back a Republican-led effort that critics say is designed to restrict access to the polls, including stopping donations to lawmakers who back the bills. and delaying investments in states that adopt the measures, like Georgia, according to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at the Yale School of Management and one of the organizers.
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“The CEOs have indicated that they are ready to act individually and collectively to consolidate American democracy and ensure that Americans have access to a world-class voting system,” said a statement from the group, issued by the Yale School of Management and two other civic groups.
The statement did not identify which business leaders participated in the call, but the Wall Street Journal reported that it included Kenneth Chenault, the former CEO of American Express and Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck, as well. as executives from PepsiCo, PayPal, T. Rowe Price Group and Hess Corp., among others.
|AXP||AMERICAN EXPRESS CO.||164.19||+1.72||+1.06%|
|MRK||MERCK & CO. INC.||75.73||-0.43||-0.56%|
|PYPL||PAYPAL MANAGEMENT INC.||192.01||+0.33||+ 0.17%|
|SBUX||STARBUCKS CORP.||112.37||+0.63||+ 0.56%|
Chenault and Frazier have both urged dozens of executives to demand better access to the vote and urged CEOs to sign a statement opposing what they see as discriminatory legislation. The statement, which could arrive as early as this week, would follow one signed last month by 72 black leaders, the Journal reported.
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Corporate political activity is increasingly monitored nationally, with liberals demanding that companies condemn voting rights laws and berating GOP politicians who back them, while conservatives have slammed the industry for leaning to the left.
More than 350 different voting bills are under consideration in dozens of states, according to a tally from the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy think tank.
The outcry over the stance of U.S. business on some of the most controversial political issues peaked two weeks ago after Major League Baseball moved its All-Star game from Atlanta over the controversial new voting law. Georgia. Democrats say the law limits access to postal voting and disproportionately affects minority communities, but Republicans, who drafted the law, say it expands voters’ access to early voting.
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Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, both of which are headquartered in the state, also issued belated convictions of the law after being pressured by activists to do so.
The Associated Press contributed to this report