WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an open letter published on Tuesday, over 50 major companies and chambers of commerce including American Airlines, Microsoft, HP, Patagonia, Warby Parker and Levi Strauss & Co. condemned efforts by Texas lawmakers to enact “any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot.” Like other corporate statements this year, the letter does not specifically name the bills of concern, instead emphasizing the group’s “non-partisan” stance in favor of legislation that makes “democracy more accessible.”
Reports this week revealed a split within the business community as corporate leaders decided how strongly to speak out against the Texas legislation. The Greater Houston Partnership, a major Texas business association, saw its members split in their willingness to oppose legislation by name. Some members joined a separate letter, also published on Tuesday, alongside 175 business leaders that specifically named provisions of omnibus voter suppression bills House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7, such as limiting voting hours and polling sites and banning drive-thru voting, that the group believed would “inevitably damage our competitiveness in attracting businesses and workers to Houston. Especially as we aim to attract major conferences and sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup, voter suppression is a stain on our reputation that could cost our region millions of dollars.” The group sent its letter directly to the Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan (R).