On Thursday, American Airlines joined Democrats and took a stance against the Texas Senate and the GOP after they passed an election integrity bill, claiming that it restricts voting rights in the state.
The airline claims that the legislation will “limit voting access.” They were urged to take their stand by former presidential candidate Julián Castro (D-TX). It should be noted that SB7 does not keep eligible voters from voting.
“Earlier this morning, the Texas state Senate passed legislation with provisions that limit voting access. To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” American Airlines, which is based out of Fort Worth, said in a statement. “As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote.”
“We acknowledge how difficult this is for many who have fought to secure and exercise their constitutional right to vote. Any legislation dealing with how elections are conducted must ensure ballot integrity and security while making it easier to vote, not harder. At American, we believe we should break down barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our society – not create them,” the statement went on to declare.
(Video Credit: CBSDFW)
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick blasted American Airlines over their posturing against efforts to protect elections in the state. He claimed that a representative from the airline called him and informed him that the head of the company had not read the bill.
“As Lt. Governor of Texas, I am stunned that American Airlines would put out a statement saying ‘we are strongly opposed to this bill’ [Senate Bill 7] just minutes after their government relations representative called my office and admitted that neither he nor the American Airlines CEO had actually read the legislation,” Patrick reported. “We heard these same outcries claiming voter suppression in 2011 when Texas passed the photo voter ID bill. In fact, just the opposite occurred. Voter turnout in Texas soared from 7,993,851 in 2012 to 11,144,040 in 2020, a 39 percent increase. Gubernatorial election voter turnout has increased by 76 percent since photo voter ID was passed.”
BREAKING: Fort Worth-based American Airlines has come out against voting legislation passed by the TX Senate this morning.
"To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it." #txlege
— Blake Hanson (@BlakeFox4News) April 1, 2021
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy. The majority of Texans support maintaining the integrity of our elections, which is why I made it a priority this legislative session,” Patrick continued. “Senate Bill 7 includes comprehensive reforms that will ensure voting in Texas is consistent statewide and secure.”
He concluded: “By the way, this is the same American Airlines that in 2017 led the fight to try to force us to allow boys to play girls sports in Texas and take away their scholarships,” Patrick said. “They are probably still fighting for that today and it is likely they have not read Senate Bill 29 either.”
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) April 2, 2021
Southwest Airlines, which is also based in the Lone Star State, didn’t go quite as far but indicated they are siding with the left as well: “We believe every voter should have a fair opportunity to let their voice be heard. This right is essential to our nation’s success.” AT&T also took a similar stance.
The legislation passed by a vote of 18-13 on Thursday along party lines. It will now head to the Texas House of Representatives.
If the measure passes and then is signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, the bill will put a stop to drive-through voting, limit extended early voting hours, and stop election officials from sending vote-by-mail applications to voters unless they are requested.
Other items included in the voter reform bill include the requirement to obtain a physician’s note for a disabled individual seeking to vote by mail and more leeway is given to poll watchers.
American Airlines is not the only big company in Texas to push back against voter integrity laws being promoted by Republicans. Dell Technologies is also taking sides and is taking aim against Senate Bill 7.
Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell spoke out against House Bill 6 on Twitter. That legislation would stop election officials from automatically sending out applications for mail-in ballots and it would implement new rules for those who help voters fill out ballots.
“Free, fair, equitable access to voting is the foundation of American democracy. Those rights — especially for women, communities of color — have been hard-earned,” Dell declared. “Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 does the opposite, and we are opposed to it.”
Agree. Free, fair, equitable access to voting is the foundation of American democracy. Those rights – especially for women, communities of color – have been hard-earned. Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 does the opposite, and we are opposed to it. https://t.co/srLRfGxgZF
— Michael Dell (@MichaelDell) April 1, 2021
The Texas Organizing Project, MOVE Texas, and the Texas Civil Rights Project have all locked arms with Black Voters Matter in Texas to demand corporations stand against Republicans’ voter integrity bills.
“We are calling for the business community to take a strong stand against current attempts to pass voter suppression legislation that amounts to Jim Crow 2.0,” the groups stated in full-page ads. “It must not be business as usual.”
The criticism of the GOP’s voter integrity laws in Texas follows similar moves by other large corporations in states such as Georgia where the CEOs of Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola also spoke out against what they are labeling as “voting restrictions.”
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey decried the new voting measures as “unacceptable” and “a step backwards.” Delta CEO Ed Bastian claims the bill “includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.”
Former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier both signed a letter protesting the new voting regulations as well.
“Far too many multinational corporations are too eager to make their voices heard on the woke issues of the day in the United States, but remain stunningly silent, or in Delta’s case, complicit, in real, ongoing atrocities in countries like China.” Senator Marco Rubio wrote in response to Bastian who did an alleged flip-flop and now opposes Republicans on voter integrity after coming out in support of it only a week ago.
Other states where Republican lawmakers are moving to reform election laws include Michigan, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa.
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