More than 150 corporate giants, including Target, PepsiCo and Google, urged Congress to strengthen voting rights for minority voters in a letter released Wednesday.
The companies, which collectively employ 4 million U.S. workers, urged Congress to pass the John LewisJohn LewisDebt ceiling fight pits corporate America against Republicans House Democrats unveil legislation to curtail presidential power Michelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms MORE Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill is named after civil rights leader and former Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who died last year.
The legislation would require parts of the U.S. with a history of discrimination to get federal approval to change voting laws, similar to a provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013.
“Despite decades of progress, impediments to exercising the right to vote persist in many states, especially for communities of color,” the group wrote in a letter to members of Congress. “We need federal protections to safeguard this fundamental right for all Americans.”
The coalition, dubbed Business for Voting Rights, wrote that states used the Supreme Court to institute voter ID requirements, reduce early voting times and eliminate same-day registration, measures that “disproportionately affected communities of color.”
The voting rights bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where Republican leaders have said its provisions aren’t necessary. Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff Graham tries to help Trump and McConnell bury the hatchet Trump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear MORE (Alaska) is the only Republican who has endorsed the proposal. She’s expected to reintroduce the measure alongside Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Poll from liberal group shows more voters in key states back .5T bill Why Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong MORE (D-W.Va.) this year.
In recent years, businesses have called on lawmakers to pass bills to overhaul voting rights, LGBT protections and immigration, among other issues. Their calls have done little to sway Republican lawmakers who have historically allied themselves with corporate America on economic policy but are growing further apart on social issues.
Republican state legislatures passed a record number of bills curtailing voting access this year after former President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE claimed without evidence that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud. Business leaders have spoken out against voting restrictions enacted in several states, including Georgia and Florida.