On Thursday, corporate giants American Airlines and Dell Technologies slammed Texas Republicans for their effort to further restrict voting in the state, becoming the first business heavyweights to forcefully voice their opposition to a series of GOP legislative proposals aimed at voter suppression.
As noted by The Texas Tribune, American Airlines took specific aim at Senate Bill 7, which would impose sweeping restrictions that take particular aim at local efforts meant to make it easier to vote — like extended early voting hours. Senate Republicans advanced that measure in a 2 a.m. vote Thursday.
“Earlier this morning, the Texas State Senate passed legislation with provisions that limit voting access. To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” the company said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell declared in a Twitter post that his company’s opposition to House Bill 6, another voting proposal that would prohibit local election officials from proactively sending out applications for mail-in ballots and impose new rules for people assisting voters to fill out their ballots.
“Free, fair, equitable access to voting is the foundation of American democracy. Those rights — especially for women, communities of color — have been hard-earned,” Dell said. “Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 does the opposite, and we are opposed to it.”
Both measures are legislative priorities for Texas Republicans, who this year are mounting a broad campaign to scale up the state’s already restrictive voting rules and pull back on local voting initiatives championed in diverse urban centers, namely in Harris County, during a high-turnout election in which Democrats continued to drive up their margins. That push echoes national legislative efforts by Republicans to change voting rules after voters of color helped flip key states to Democratic control.
Democrats have criticized Republicans for their voter suppression efforts, calling it the 21st century Jim Crow.
“Major Texas employers are stepping up and speaking out against voter suppression, and for good reason. Texas should not go down the same path as Georgia,” said former House Speaker Joe Straus, the San Antonio Republican who helped bottle up the bathroom bill in the House, according to The Tribune. “It’s bad for business and, more importantly, it’s bad for our citizens.”
The news outlet also reported that “Texas voting rights groups, including Texas Organizing Project, MOVE Texas and theTexas Civil Rights Project, have joined with Black Voters Matter to demand similar stands by corporations against Republicans’ bills, including SB 7, starting with full-page ads in the local newspapers in recent days.”
“We are calling for the business community to take a strong stand against current attempts to pass voter suppression legislation that amounts to Jim Crow 2.0,” the groups said in the ads. “It must not be business as usual.”