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 does the For the People Act (S. 1/H.R. 1) do?
The For the People Act is a sweeping package to realize the promise of our democracy, get big money out of politics, ensure our freedom to vote, 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.
Gets big money out of politics.
The For the People Act (H.R. 1):
- counters the Citizens United decision
- establishes a voluntary small donor public financing system for House races
- enacts the DISCLOSE Act
- reveals who's funding dark money groups
- strengthens the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals
- enacts the Honest Ads Act
- reveals who's buying online political ads
- enacts the Stand By Every Ad Act
- requires political ad buyers to reveal their top donors and chief officials
- mandates greater transparency from tax-exempt organizations
- requires publicly traded companies to consult with shareholders before spending on politics
- leads to disclosure of contributions by government contractors
- holds presidential inaugural committees accountable
- pilots a voucher program, so voters can contribute to candidates of their choice
- establishes a small donor matching system for Congressional elections
- reforms the presidential public financing program
- empowers more people to run by allowing federal candidates who are not incumbents to use part of their campaign funds for childcare and certain other expenses
- encourages small dollar donations to political party committees
- overhauls the FEC
- cracks down on Super PAC-Candidate coordination
- requires disposal of unused campaign funds
Makes voting simpler, safer, and fairer.
The For the People Act (H.R. 1):
- commits to restore and update the full protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) — the most effective civil rights legislation in the history of the United States
- commits to protect and promote Native American voting rights
- ensures access to voting for individuals with disabilities
- supports DC statehood
- supports federal voting rights for Americans living in US territories
- enacts the Redistricting Reform Act of 2019
- bans partisan and racial gerrymandering
- adopts independent redistricting commissions
- combats cyberattacks, election hacking, and disinformation campaigns
- promotes online voter registration in federal elections nationwide
- requires automatic voter registration for federal elections nationwide
- allows same day registration for federal elections nationwide
- prevents voter roll purges
- makes registration deadlines line up with public holidays
- requires USPS to remind movers to update their voter registration
- creates grants to boost youth involvement in election activities
- provide additional state funding to update registration processes
- prohibits interference with voter registration
- standardizes voter registrations across states
- expands pre-registration for future voters currently 16 or older
- prohibits voter caging
- enacts the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act
- restores federal voting rights to those disenfranchised by a prior criminal conviction
- adopt paper ballots
- strengthen provisional balloting
- create a nationwide standard for early voting
- expand opportunities to vote by mail
- protect voting rights for absent military and overseas voters
- provides grants for more poll workers
- enhances enforcement of existing standards
- prevents conflicts of interest with chief state election officials
- allows public universities to become voter registration agencies
- lets students vote where they attend school
- requires a weeks' notice to change polling places
- allows a sworn statement option for voter ID requirements
- makes absentee ballots postage-free
- helps states process absentee ballots
- strengthens voter information support
- standardizes polling place hours of operation
- improves the Election Assistance Commission
- funds election security upgrades
- increases communication about threats to state election systems
Holds public officials accountable.
The For the People Act (H.R. 1):
- requires sitting presidents, vice presidents, and major-party candidates for those offices to disclose their tax returns
- requires a code of ethics for the United States Supreme Court
- updates and enforces the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)
- increases federal lobbying disclosure requirements
- requires presidential appointees to recuse themselves from government matters to which the president or their spouse is a party
- ensures easy public access to lobbying information
- requires the president and vice president to divest from any personal financial holdings that could pose a conflict of interest with their official duties
- demands transparency for White House ethics waivers
- strengthen ethics enforcement in the executive branch
- requires more disclosure of political donations and fundraising by cabinet members and other senior appointees
- makes presidents-elect adopt and enforce ethics rules for their transition teams
- requires all senior executive branch appointees to take an ethics pledge
- restricts travel on private aircraft by cabinet members and other senior appointees
- makes Members of Congress pay any awards or settlements in connection to claims of workplace harassment
- prohibits House members from serving on the boards of for-profit companies
- bars Members of Congress and staff from trying to make laws to make themselves rich
- requires candidates to disclose if they get donations from registered lobbyists
- creates a searchable, public online portal for all reports to Congress
- requires reporting of outside compensation for congressional staff
What is the Declaration for American Democracy?
A Coalition of 200+ 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 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. 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.