More than 80 business leaders pen letter to Senate calling for the passage of the For the People Act to protect and strengthen democracy
(WASHINGTON, DC): Today, more than 80 of the country’s leading corporations joined When We All Vote, Vote.org and the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition (DFAD) in calling on the Senate to pass the For the People Act. The business leaders, representing Patagonia, ICM, Tumblr, Ben & Jerry’s and more, penned a letter to the Senate urging them to pass this landmark legislation, and called on more businesses to join the fight for fair and accessible elections.
Answering President Biden’s call for a month of action to push for the passage of voting rights bills in Congress, When We All Vote, Vote.org and the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition are calling for more business leaders to step up. Passing the For the People Act is one of the most important ways to stop voter suppression at the state level and enact national standards for voting to ensure everyone has a say in key decisions including pandemic relief, criminal justice, immigration, healthcare and education.
With more than 400 bills in at least 48 states, lawmakers across the country are pushing unpopular voter suppression bills to silence Americans’ voices, especially the voices of Black, Brown, young and working class voters, and voters with disabilities. At least 14 states have enacted 22 new laws that restrict access to voting this year alone. States have cut early voting days and hours, implemented strict voter ID laws, made it illegal to bring food and water to voters waiting in long lines and limited access to ballot drop off locations.
Corporate America is uniquely positioned to use their power for meaningful change and ensure their employees, customers and communities can safely and freely cast their ballots. One study shows that 82 percent of Americans would be more favorable towards a company if they supported policies to make it easier for Americans to register to vote and cast their ballots, including 72 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats.
The full list of companies that signed the letter in support of the For the People Act includes: &pizza, Adasina Social Capital Company, Amalgamated Bank, Ashby & Graff Real Estate, ATTN, Avocado Green Brands, Bad Robot Productions, Ben & Jerry’s, Black Economic Alliance, Blue Ridge Produce, C. Wolfe Software Engineering, Capricorn Investment Group, Centercorp Retail Properties, Chance Art Company, Clare V., ClassPass, Climate First Bank, Climate Positive Consulting, coasap, Collaborative Solutions, Countable, Eighty2degrees Design Studio, Evergreen Sustainability, LLC, Flixbus, Florida for Good, LLC, FundX Investment Group, Funsize, Corp., Greater Good Strategy Company, Gryphon Solutions, LLC, HigherRing, ICM, JLFG Communications, Justworks, Kangaroo Coffee, Legacy Vacation Resorts, Lime, LimeRed Company, Lingraphica, Manale Realty, Mediocre Creative, MeetUp, Monkeypaw Productions, Montanya Distillers, Morris Recruiting and Consulting Company, MPOWERD, Namu Baru Inc., Narrative Food, National Council of Negro Women, National Hockey League, Natural Investments Company, New Leaf BioFuel, NJ Sustainable Business Council, Our Place, Ovonni Ventures, Patagonia, Public Good, Regenerative Rising, Richer Poorer, Ripley Rader, Rosebud Agency, Salt Palm Development, Shockwave Medical Inc., Signet Strategic Wealth Management, Social Goods, SunnySide Social Media, LLC, Symphony Advantage Inc., The Atlanta Dream (WNBA), The Capital Good Fund, The Skimm, Tierra Vista, Tony’s Chocolonely, Transcend, The Fearless Company, Transformative Wealth Management, LLC, Trillium Asset Management, Tumblr, Upworthy, Venner Consulting, Vulintus, Inc., Walk Your Talk Productions, Workforce & Organizational Research Center and Youth To The People.
If passed, the For the People Act would:
- Expand automatic voter registration, adding as many as 50 million people to voter rolls;
- Expand same-day and online voter registration for federal elections, which are especially important for young people and first-time voters;
- Allow for pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds so that when they get their driver’s license, they are also registered and ready to vote when they turn 18;
- Require two weeks of early voting for federal elections, including on the weekends and after work, and increased access to vote-by-mail;
- Make Election Day a national holiday;
- Restore the right to vote for people with felony convictions, which disproportionately impacts Black and Brown communities;
- Strengthen federal criminal penalties for those who misinform and intimidate people at the polls;
- Overhaul the campaign finance system to give ordinary Americans a greater voice in the political process and afford a more diverse array of people the opportunity to run; and
- Ban partisan gerrymandering and discriminatory voter purges.
ABOUT When We All Vote:
When We All Vote is a leading national, nonpartisan initiative is on a mission to change the culture around voting and to increase participation in each and every election by helping to close the race and age gap. Created by Michelle Obama, When We All Vote brings together individuals, institutions, brands, and organizations to register new voters across the country and advance civic education for the entire family and voters of every age to build an informed and engaged electorate for today and generations to come. We empower our supporters and volunteers to take action through voting, advocating for their rights, and holding their elected officials accountable.
In 2020, When We All Vote ran a robust, multifaceted campaign and reached more than 100 million people to educate them about the voting process and get them registered and ready to vote. The initiative also led in voter education, registration, and volunteer engagement and as a result, 512,000 people started or completed the voter registration process, and nearly 500 media, corporate, and nonprofit partners joined its efforts.
Michelle Obama launched When We All Vote in 2018 and is joined by fellow Co-Chairs Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, Selena Gomez, Liza Koshy, Megan Rapinoe, Shonda Rhimes, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kerry Washington, and Rita Wilson.
When We All Vote is a key initiative within Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization, and works with Civic Nation Action, a 501(c)(4). These organizations are homes for changemakers who inspire, educate, and activate people around the issues that will define this generation.
Vote.org is the largest 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan voting registration and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) technology platform in America, with the goal of reaching historically underserved voters of color and underrepresented young voters. Through corporate and nonprofit partnerships, a large-scale community of grassroots donors, diverse coalition building, and influencer-driven outreach, Vote.org leverages innovative solutions that meet prospective voters where they engage and get their information, and has established its brand as the most trusted and accessible online resource for registering to vote and understanding how to cast your ballot.
In 2020, Vote.org ran the largest voter mobilization program in its history, reaching voters more than 650 million times, as well as signing up over 1,000 companies to provide paid time-off to vote for their employees. Over 39.4 million people sought deadlines, polling locations, and other essential voting information for each state through Vote.org, leading to more than 4.2 million people registering to vote, helping over 3.4 million request mail ballots, and setting records across the board with its engagement.
ABOUT Declaration for American Democracy:
The Declaration for American Democracy is an anti-oppression coalition working together to make the promise of democracy real for all of us. Our coalition includes over 220 groups from labor, racial justice, faith, environmental, women’s rights, good government, and many other important communities. Formed in 2018, we set out on a mission to take back our democracy and restore power to the people. We believe that we must build a democracy where everyone participates, every vote is counted, and everyone’s voice is heard.
Working together, we are committed to passing national standards, including the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood, to transform our political system and move our country closer to realizing the true promise of democracy.
What would the Freedom to Vote Act achieve?
The Freedom to Vote Act is a bold and transformative legislative package that would create national standards to protect our freedom to vote, get big money out of politics, combat partisan election subversion, and guarantee that congressional districts are drawn to give fair representation for all.
Together we can realize a democracy that represents, reflects, and responds to all of us.
Protects Our Freedom to Vote
- Automatic Voter Registration and Online Voter Registration: Enacts an automatic voter registration system for each state through the state’s motor vehicle agency and ensures voters in all states have access to online voter registration.
- Election Day Holiday: Makes Election Day a public holiday.
- Uniform Early Voting: Ensures voters have access to at least 15 consecutive days of early voting for federal elections, including two weekends, while accommodating small election jurisdictions and vote-by-mail jurisdictions.
- Same Day Voter Registration: Ensures every state offers same day registration at a limited number of locations for the 2022 elections and at all polling locations by 2024, allowing election officials, especially in rural areas, time to implement the new requirements.
- Federal Minimum Standards on Vote by Mail and Drop Boxes: Ensures all voters can request a mail-in ballot, improves the delivery of election mail, and puts in place minimum standards to ensure drop boxes are available and accessible to all voters.
- Strengthens Voter List Maintenance Standards: Requires that the removal of voters from the rolls is done on the basis of reliable and objective evidence and prohibits the use of returned mail sent by third parties to remove voters.
- Counting of Provisional Ballots: Requires provisional ballots to count for all eligible races within a county, regardless of the precinct they were cast in.
- Standards for Voter Identification: Promotes voter confidence and access by requiring a uniform national standard for states that requires identification for in-person voting, and allowing voters to present a broad set of identification cards and documents in hard copy and digital form.
- Voting Rights Restoration for Returning Citizens: Restores the right to vote in federal elections for people who have served their time for felony convictions after they are released from prison.
- Expanded Voting Access Protections for the Disabled, Native Americans, Military, Overseas Voters, and Underserved Communities: Includes targeted protections to promote accessible voting to communities facing unique challenges.
Ensures Fair Representation in Government
- Bans Partisan Gerrymandering: Prevents states from adopting congressional maps that unduly favor a political party. Maps will be measured against concrete numerical thresholds for each state, created by political scientists using quantitative metrics of partisan fairness. Courts will also be able to look broadly at the maps and mapmakers’ intent to determine whether they are unduly favoring a political party.
- Strengthens Protections for Communities of Color: By bolstering Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, requiring districts be drawn to represent communities of interest, including communities that share racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Requires States to Adopt Transparent and Fair Processes for Maps: Allows states to enact redistricting plans using their legislature, a commission, or any other entity — provided they hold public hearings, accept public input, adhere to transparency requirements, and explain how final plans adhere to the Voting Rights Act and the ban on partisan gerrymandering.
- Takes Effect Immediately and Applies to All 2022 Maps: Prevents any unfair maps ahead of the 2022 elections, and courts may not allow an illegal map to be used simply because an election is imminent. Any resident may sue their state in federal court for violating the redistricting provisions, and if the court finds the law has been violated, it may either draw a new map or require the state to redraw its map.
Reduces the Influence of Big Money in Politics
- Combatting Secret Money and Election Interference (DISCLOSE Act and Honest Ads Act): Requires super PACs, 501(c)(4) groups, and other organizations spending money in elections to disclose donors and shuts down the use of transfers between organizations to cloak the identity of contributors. Ensures that political ads sold online have the same transparency and disclosure requirements as ads sold on TV, radio, and satellite.
- State Election Assistance & Innovation Fund: Establishes a self-sustaining fund to finance critical investments in state-led innovations for our democracy and election infrastructure. The fund is financed through an additional assessment paid on federal fines, penalties, and settlements for certain tax crimes and corporate malfeasance. States would be allotted an annual distribution for eligible democracy and election-related investments. States could select to access their full distribution or a partial distribution, or roll over their distribution for future use.
- Nonpartisan Oversight of Federal Election Law: Improves the ability of the Federal Election Commission to carry out oversight and enforcement responsibilities.
- Stopping Illicit Super PAC Coordination: Creates “coordinated spender” category to ensure single-candidate super PACs do not operate as arms of campaigns.
Combats Partisan Election Subversion
- Preventing State Election Subversion: Establishes federal protections to insulate nonpartisan state and local officials who administer federal elections from undue partisan interference or control.
- Protection of Election Records, Election Infrastructure, and Ballot Tabulation: Strengthens protections for federal election records and election infrastructure in order to protect the integrity and security of ballots and voting systems.
- Voter-Verified Paper Ballots, Reliable Audits, and Voting System Upgrades: Requires states to use voting systems that use paper ballots that can be verified by voters and to implement reliable post-election audits. Also provides grants for states to purchase new and more secure voting systems and make cybersecurity improvements.
- Non-Partisan Election Official Recruitment and Training: Tasks the Election Assistance Commission with developing model training programs to recruit a new generation of election workers and provides dedicated grants for training and recruitment.
- Comprehensive Voting System Security Protections: Puts in place election vendor cybersecurity standards, including standards for manufacturing and assembling voting machines, among other key security measures.
- Establishing Duty to Report Foreign Election Interference: Creates a reporting requirement for federal campaigns to disclose certain foreign contacts.
What is the Declaration for American Democracy?
A Coalition of 230+ Member Organizations
The Declaration for American Democracy is an anti-oppression coalition working together to make the promise of democracy real for all of us.
We believe our democratic systems, institutions, and leaders must reflect, represent, and respect the diverse, multicultural nation that we are and have always been. For democracy to work for all of us, it must include all of us and address the deep systemic, institutional challenges that continue to block meaningful progress to this day. As America’s diversity continues to grow, so must our democracy.
Today our democracy faces crises on multiple fronts -- compounded by a deeply problematic history that has held us back from achieving an inclusive and equitable multiracial nation since our founding. Powerful corporations and wealthy special interests use their money and influence to shape public policy priorities. Extremist politicians are putting up deliberate barriers to block access to the ballot box and silence the voices of Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI, low-income, LGBTQIA, disability, and other marginalized communities. State legislatures are manipulating Congressional maps to allow politicians to pick their voters and hoard power for their political parties. And our government has failed to respond after four years of a corrupt administration and Supreme Court decisions gutting voting rights protections and anti-corruption laws.
Working together, we are committed to passing national standards, including the Freedom to Vote Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and DC Statehood, to transform our political system and move our country closer to realizing the true promise of democracy. However, we will not be satisfied with any single reform and will continue to press for the structural changes necessary to rebalance power for the people and undo the historic harms that have barred communities that have been marginalized and denied political power since the founding of the United States.
We believe people of color, young people, people with disabilities, language minorities, and other historically disenfranchised communities should have equal access to the ballot and be equitably represented in government. We believe everyday people should have a stronger voice in elections than wealthy donors and special interests. And we believe our government should be transparent and accountable to the people.
Together we must ensure the freedom to vote is a fundamental American right and that the people -- regardless of our color, our background, or our zip code - hold the power, not the wealthy and corporations.
Therefore, we, the Declaration for American Democracy, are committed to working together to achieve this vision and model our values in how we work together. As a coalition, we will invest in each other and treat each other with respect. We will acknowledge and learn from our past, including the legacy of racism and white supremacy in our movement and democratic institutions. In decision making we will center Black, Brown, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, language minorities, as well as other impacted communities. And we will invest in each other through professional development, collaborative grantmaking, and shared projects.