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Amazon.com Inc (Nasdaq: Chart AMZN - $98.18 0.48 (0.487%) ), Apple Inc (Nasdaq: Chart AAPL - $160.25 1.32 (0.831%) ), Facebook Inc (Nasdaq: Chart FB - $0. 0.99 (0.506%) ) and PepsiCo Inc (NYSE: Chart PEP - $179.09 3.44 (1.958%) ) are among the more than 160 companies calling on US lawmakers to pass legislation to restore and protect voting rights.
In a letter released Wednesday, the companies, part of a group called Business for Voting Rights, urged Congress to reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, legislation that would restore a key provision of the 1965 law that was eliminated by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling.
Named after late U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a longtime congressman and civil rights advocate who died last year, the bill would once again require jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination to receive federal approval to make changes to elections.
“Despite decades of progress, impediments to exercising the right to vote persist in many states, especially for communities of color. We need federal protections to safeguard this fundamental right for all Americans," the letter said.
Amending the Voting Rights Act, the businesses said, would “help ensure that voters of color who remain the targets of voter suppression have equal and unfettered access to the democratic process.”
The bill is pending in Congress, but is considered unlikely to pass in the 50-50 Senate. A second federal voting rights bill, the For the People Act, was passed in the Democratic House but blocked by GOP Senators.
Wednesday’s letter does not mention former president Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to overturn the 2020 election results with his baseless claims nor the ongoing efforts by Republican lawmakers to tighten voting rules in 17 states, but said the most recent election “highlighted deep inequities in how our elections are run.”
“Americans came together to work the polls, get out the vote, and cast their ballots in spite of the pandemic, achieving historic levels of voter participation. The business community is proud of our role in encouraging our employees, customers, and communities to exercise their right to vote and have a say in our government,” the letter said.
According to Business for Voting Rights, the 166 companies who signed the letter collectively employ four million workers. Other noteworthy signatories include: Microsoft Corporation, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Tesla Inc and Unilever Corporation.
Corporate America typically has traditionally had a more conservative view on politics, but large companies have increasingly taken a stance in recent months on certain issues, such as civil rights, that are more in line with Democrats and President Joe Biden.
It has also put them at odds with the GOP, which has long touted itself as a friend of big businesses and opponent of corporate taxes.
Earlier this year, hundreds of corporations publicly opposed voting restrictions enacted or being considered in Republican-led states, like Georgia, Florida and Texas.
Dozens of Fortune 500 companies also froze political contributions to lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 election results after a Trump-fueled mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Source: Equities News