Today, more than 100 top business leaders across industry joined a rapid response call to discuss critical information regarding voting law proposals and to explore non-partisan actions business leaders could take to defend voting rights and our democracy. The meeting builds on a growing chorus from business leaders to fight more than 350 voting laws being introduced in 47 states that are discriminatory and designed to limit Americans’ ability to vote. With 68% of business leaders now believing democracy is at risk, today’s meeting signals the urgency with which corporate America is taking responsibility to protect the most fundamental pillar of our democracy.
CEOs indicated readiness to act individually and collectively to shore up American democracy and ensure Americans have access to a world class voting system. CEOs who participated in a live poll indicated they will re-evaluate donations to candidates supporting bills that restrict voting rights and many would reconsider investments in states which act upon such proposals.
Robust participation in fair elections and the rule of law are the foundation of America’s economic dynamism. It’s critical that corporate America show leadership on this issue, for the long-term interests of all of its stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, and the communities in which they operate.
A new poll conducted by Morning Consult discussed on the call found that 73% of adults agree that the government should ensure voters have equitable access to polling locations, hours, and drop-boxes. The poll also found that the majority of Democrats and plurality of Republicans both agree that companies should support legislation which focuses on increasing access to voting and should not support officials who favor limiting voting rights.
The historic levels of participation across the political spectrum in the 2020 election amid a global pandemic were a triumph for democracy. Business leaders view this progress as something to build on, not to roll back. Robust initiatives are underway to protect the democratic process. More than 60 of the leading 100 law firms in the U.S. are working with voting rights organizations to activate against all legislation that restricts the right to vote.
“We are encouraged by the commitment CEOs who met today to reinforce the legitimacy of the 2020 election and expand voting rights,” said Daniella Ballou-Aares, Co-founder & CEO of the Leadership Now Project. “Leadership Now Project’s forward-leaning group of business executives across the country are ready to work with partners locally and nationally to translate this commitment to action.”
“It is our patriotic duty to protect the most vital of rights for all Americans. This is an essential act of inclusive capitalism because without a thriving democracy we cannot have a thriving and secure capitalism,” said Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Founding & Managing Partner of Inclusive Capital Partners and Founder & Chair of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism. “I applaud all the CEOs who use the power of their corporations for the common good.”
“The strength of our democracy and economy rests on every American participating. These business leaders know progress will only be made when we act inclusively, with fair measures that expand voter access,” said Meredith Sumpter, CEO of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism.
“It is inspiring to see such an outpouring of courage and patriotism by a wide cross section of major business leaders supporting the fundamental right of each American to vote,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies at the Yale School of Management. “The spectrum of political views and industries were unified in the voices for greater voter equity and access.”
This meeting was convened in partnership with:
The Chief Executive Leadership Institute (CELI) is the pioneer of CEO learning. The Institute hosts CEO summits, bringing together business leaders, policy makers, and leading academics in a unique learning environment that fosters candid, off-the-record exchanges.
The Leadership Now Project is a membership organization of business and thought leaders who are committed to long-term solutions to renew American democracy.
The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism is a global non-profit organization that works with leaders across the private, public, and civic sectors to make capitalism inclusive and its benefits more widely and equitably shared.