Starbucks, Coke Join Call for Congress to Protect Voting Rights
(Bloomberg) -- Starbucks Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. called on Congress to revisit the Voting Rights Act as major corporations push back against Republican efforts in many U.S. states to restrict ballot access.
“The right to vote is core to our democracy,” Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday. “We believe that voting should be free of discrimination of any kind.”
The comments come a day after President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech in defense of broadening the right to vote. GOP leaders in a number of states have introduced new laws they say are necessary to protect election integrity, but critics say they’re intended to limit the ability of people of color to cast ballots.
Starbucks said it joined Business for Voting Rights, a coalition of companies calling on Congress to amend the Voting Rights Act to ensure safeguards against discrimination. In an open letter signed by scores of companies including Amazon.com Inc., PepsiCo Inc. and Tesla Inc., the group endorses H.R. 4, known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. It doesn’t address the wider-reaching H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which would establish considerably more federal control of election policy.
The coffee chain also said in the statement that it would offer information and resources for its employees, help them create a work schedule that will allow them to vote and solidify ride-share partnerships.
Coke said in a separate statement that it supports bipartisan efforts to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. The company publicly criticized a law earlier this year that restricted voting access in its home state of Georgia, prompting a backlash against the brand by conservative groups.
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and for decades the Coca-Cola Co. has advocated to ensure voting is easy and accessible to all eligible voters,” the company said. Coke is not listed among the companies on the Business for Voting Rights website, and a representative for the soda maker didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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