The leaders of over 100 major corporations spoke via Zoom on Saturday about how they could combat election integrity laws similar to the one passed in Georgia, according to multiple reports.
The executives on the call reportedly expressed concern about legislation that they view as restricting voting rights. They included the owner of the Atlanta Falcons, who also co-founded Home Depot, the chairwoman of the Starbucks board, and the CEO of AMC Entertainment, The Wall Street Journal reported.
CONFIRMED: First-of-its-kind call between more than 100 top corporate leaders on Saturday focused on how to respond to proposed changes in state voting laws. Participants included top leaders of airlines, media, law, investment.
— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) April 11, 2021
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a Yale School of Management professor who helped organize the meeting, told The Washington Post that the corporate leaders on the call “felt very strongly that these voting restrictions are based on a flawed premise and are dangerous.”
“There was a defiance of the threats that businesses should stay out of politics,” he continued. “They were obviously rejecting that even with their presence. But they were there out of concern about voting restrictions not being in the public interest.”
Corporations including Citibank, Coca-Cola, Delta, and Microsoft criticized Georgia’s new election integrity bill, SB 202. The law expands early voting opportunities for most counties, while expanding voter ID requirements to include absentee ballots.
In response to corporate criticism, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell slammed the use of “economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.” (RELATED: The Real Story Behind Georgia’s New Rules On Handing Out Food And Water To Voters)
Major League Baseball moved its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in response to pressure from President Joe Biden and corporate leaders over the law. Colorado also requires voters to present identification when they cast in-person and absentee ballots.
Prominent Georgia Democrats, including Sen. Jon Ossoff and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, were skeptical of the boycott efforts.
Just got off the phone with MLB/MLBPA sources who all confirmed the same thing: MLB’s decision to move was the result of corporate sponsor pressure. It was NOT the result of a player-threatened boycott. The players did not even vote on the issue.
— Full Dissident (@hbryant42) April 2, 2021
Companies involved on the call are expected to release a statement expressing their opposition to election law changes like Georgia’s in the coming days, according to The Wall Street Journal.
At least three other Republican-controlled states are considering similar legislation.