Major corporations came out in opposition to newly approved voting restrictions in Texas and additional legislation that has advanced through the legislature, NPR reports.
American Airlines, which is based in Fort Worth, came out against SB 7, a bill that appears aimed at expanded ballot access in urban areas like Houston by limiting early voting hours, banning drive-through voting sites, prohibiting election officials from sending all eligible voters absentee ballot applications, expands the use of partisan poll watchers, and other measures.
The state Senate approved the bill on Thursday and it is expected to sail through the state House.
“We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” the company said in a statement. “As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote.”
“Voting is the hallmark of our democracy, and is the foundation of our great country. We value the democratic process and believe every eligible American should be allowed to exercise their right to vote, no matter which political party or candidate they support,” the statement said.
“We acknowledge how difficult this is for many who have fought to secure and exercise their constitutional right to vote. Any legislation dealing with how elections are conducted must ensure ballot integrity and security while making it easier to vote, not harder.”
Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Technology’s, also came out against HB 6, a bill that would ban local election officials from sending mail ballot applications and other measures.
“Agree. Free, fair, equitable access to voting is the foundation of American democracy,” he tweeted. “Those rights - especially for women, communities of color - have been hard-earned. Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 does the opposite, and we are opposed to it.”
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick slammed the airlines for speaking out against the bills, which he championed.
"Texans are fed up with corporations that don't share our values trying to dictate public policy,” he said in a statement. “The majority of Texans support maintaining the integrity of our elections, which is why I made it a priority this legislative session."
Corporate backlash over restriction push:
Texas, where nearly 50 bills to restrict voting have been introduced, leads the country in efforts to limit ballot access but lawmakers have introduced more than 350 restrictive bills in 47 states, according to a Brennan Center for Justice analysis.
Georgia also came under fire after last month passing a bill that would restrict ballot access.
Atlanta-based Delta Airlines called the law “unacceptable.” Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said it “does not support this legislation, as it makes it harder for people to vote, not easier.”