April 13, 2021 | From The Daily Mail
More than 100 corporate leaders joined in a Zoom call on Saturday to discuss ways they could counter new voting regulations that some see as a move to reduce electoral participation.
Their call was convened in response to new rules in Georgia, signed into law by the governor on March 31, which critics say brings back Jim Crow-era restrictions.
Executives who have said they would sign on include ones from: Pepsi, PayPal, Starbucks, AMC Entertainment, Merck, Hess and T. Rowe Price, according to The Wall Street Journal
Among the most controversial elements are a rule that early voting for some elections cannot be carried out on a Sunday – a move which critics see as an attack on the ‘souls to the polls’ work done by many black-majority churches – and a ban on handing out food and drink to those waiting in line to vote. . . .
On Saturday’s call, many senior business leaders spoke out in favor of another letter from many more executives, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale School of Management professor who helped convene the gathering. . . .
Among the companies who have said they would support moves to condemn the new laws are Pepsi, PayPal and T. Rowe Price, said Kenneth Chenault, the former chief executive of American Express, who organized the black executives’ letter.
Five bills with new voter restrictions have been passed nationwide so far, with 55 restrictive bills in 24 states being considered by legislatures, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute.
Mellody Hobson, chairwoman of Starbucks’ board, said on the call that political unrest is bad for business, the WSJ reported. . . .
Arthur Blank, founder of Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons NFL team and Atlanta United soccer team, as well as the PGA Tour Superstore, said he believes many sports fans want the groups to make their positions known on voting rights.
Blank said he felt sports fans were expecting more from their teams compared with five years ago, when NFL player Colin Kaepernick first spoke out on racial justice.
Lynn Forester de Rothschild, director of Estee Lauder, said that she was proud to support a statement against limiting voter participation.
Forester de Rothschild is the founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, a group that focuses on bridging the wealth divide. . . .
Baseball officials decided to move the All-Star Game this summer from Georgia to Colorado because of the voting bill.
President Joe Biden has likened the new law to ‘Jim Crow’ – a reference to the institutional segregation that denied African-Americans civil rights in the South in the decades following the Civil War. He has lauded companies, including outdoor retailer Patagonia, that have spoken against the law.
Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, who plans to sign the new statement, said that many CEOs have told him they do not see the need for laws to tighten voter access.
But, he told The Washington Post, many are fearful of speaking out. . . .