Amid a growing national discourse about access to ballot papers, several large corporations voiced concerns – and in some cases outright objections – about bills that proxies said would make it difficult to vote in Texas.
Dell and American Airlines explicitly cited the Texas Senate Bill 7 and its House House version Bill 6, while AT&T explored the complexities of elections, legislative responsibilities and a broader “responsibility for engagement”.
“Instead of trying to restrict access, governments should provide innovative ways for citizens to hear their voices. Laws like HB6 do the opposite, and we are against it,” said a Dell statement that added that the right to vote was special. hard earned “by” women and color communities, “said.
Senate Republicans advanced SB7 in the wee hours of Thursday morning. The legislation proposes changing the existing voting rules, including reducing early voting hours and banning drive-through voting, which was popular with densely populated, diverse areas when voters cast ballots in November.
The Senate bill also prohibits electoral officials from mailing voting requests to voters if they have not individually requested the forms, and requires disabled voters to provide specific evidence of disability from the federal government or a doctor.
American Airlines Group Inc. aircraft stand in front of passenger gates at Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) near Dallas, Texas on October 1, 2020.
On the same day, the Texas House Elections Committee heard testimonies of the version of the bill in their chamber. While HB6 reiterated the Senate Act’s provisions on obtaining postal ballot papers, it also included new rules on how voters could be assisted in filling out their ballot papers and expanded the access that election observers could have inside polling stations.
American Airlines addressed its statement to the Senate bill, saying it contained “provisions restricting access to voting.”
“To get the Americans’ stance clear, we strongly oppose this bill and others who like it. As a Texas-based company, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas at home and the victims of honor generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote, “the statement said.
While none of the companies have expressly announced their intention to investigate the economic impact against the state or its Republican lawmakers if the bills go into effect, what they said was a signal that some of the biggest corporate – and employer – stakeholders were in Texas do this keeping track of the bills.
In a statement released shortly after American Airlines’ comment, Texas Lieutenant Dan Patrick claimed the airline giant’s government official had called his office minutes earlier and “admitted that neither he nor the American Airlines CEO was breaking the legislation.” actually read “.
In this November 3, 2020 file photo, residents Cynthia Daugherty and Eugene Binder are voting in the 2020 presidential election in Marfa, Texas.
“Texans are fed up with companies that don’t share our values and try to dictate public order. The majority of Texans support maintaining the integrity of our elections, which is why I’ve made it a priority this legislature,” said Patrick.
The Republican-led focus on “electoral integrity” comes just months after voter turnout hit new heights across the Lone Star State in the run-up to the 2020 pandemic election – and after the Texas Democrats set their roadmap for turning the state around blue in the years to come.
Texas-based proponents of voting rights deplored the effort as being particularly harmful to the constituencies that traditionally make up the Democratic base.
“These bills will make it harder if passed [to vote] and specifically aim to suppress minority voter participation. They would undermine the ability of local electoral officials to promote voter turnout and they would create new barriers for voters themselves, “said US MP Marc Veasey, a Texas Democrat, about the bills in a press conference with reporters.
In this October 29, 2020 file photo, people are waiting in line to vote at the Tarrant County Elections Center on the final day of early voting in Fort Worth, Texas.
Meanwhile, some advocates of disability say the parameters set by SB7 would impose a poll tax on disabled voters, as not every disabled person eligible to vote can provide an official, documented diagnosis as required by law.
Charlie Bonner, a spokesman for grassroots group MOVE Texas, suggested that the legislative push could ultimately backfire against Republicans.
“I think what we’ve seen over and over again is that Texans hate a scammer. You see what’s happening now – that Governor (Greg) Abbott and his friends in the House and Senate can’t win on this matter, try that Change the rules. People see that and understand what is happening, “Bonner told reporters recently on a call.