Big-business pushback against voting measures gains momentum

FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, smiles as he plays bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. A multitude of big-name businesses and high-profile individuals, including Buffett, Amazon and Facebook are showing their support for voters rights. In a letter published in The New York Times, the group stressed that Americans should be allowed to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice. For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us, they wrote. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)
FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, smiles as he plays bridge following the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb. A multitude of big-name businesses and high-profile individuals, including Buffett, Amazon and Facebook are showing their support for voters rights. In a letter published in The New York Times, the group stressed that Americans should be allowed to cast ballots for the candidates of their choice. For American democracy to work for any of us, we must ensure the right to vote for all of us, they wrote. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Big business has ratcheted up its objections to proposals that would make it harder to vote, with several hundred companies and executives signing a new statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation."

The letter, published Wednesday in The New York Times and The Washington Post, was signed by companies including Amazon, Google, Starbucks and Bank of America, and individuals such as Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, plus law firms and nonprofit groups.

It was the largest group yet to join protests against Republican efforts to change election rules in states around the country.

“Voting is the lifeblood of our democracy and we call upon all Americans to join us in taking a nonpartisan stand for this most basic and fundamental right of all Americans,” the letter reads. “We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot."

Many of the signers have been loyal donors to Republican political campaigns.

The letter is a direct challenge to Republican officials who have pushed for changes in state voting laws, citing former President Donald Trump's false claim that he lost the November election because of fraud. At the same time, Democrats in Congress propose to overhaul federal voting law in a way that Republicans argue would interfere with state control of elections and hurt the GOP.

There were some notable absences from Wednesday's letter, including Walmart, Delta Air Lines and the Coca-Cola Co.

A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment beyond pointing to a March 31 statement in which CEO Ed Bastian called the Georgia law unacceptable. A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said the company had not seen the letter but that it stands by its support for “free and fair elections.” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has stated that the nation’s largest retailer is against legislation that unnecessarily restricts voting rights.