United joins chorus of businesses speaking out against voting restrictions
United Airlines joined other airlines in speaking out against laws in Georgia and other states that critics say would would restrict voting rights of Black Americans.
The Chicago-based carrier said in a tweet today: “Legislation that infringes on the right to vote of fellow Americans is wrong. We believe that leaders in both parties should work to protect the rights of eligible voters by making it easier and more convenient for them to cast a ballot and have it counted.”
United’s statement comes after Delta Air Lines and American Airlines issued statements on voting laws either enacted or proposed in their respective home states of Georgia and Texas. Increased voter turnout played a key role in last year’s elections in which Democrats won control of the White House and Congress. Black executives have called on fellow executives to oppose a wave of new laws at the state level that appear aimed at making it harder to vote.
“Some have questioned the integrity of the nation’s election systems and are using it to justify stricter voting procedures, even though numerous studies have found zero evidence of widespread voter fraud in U.S. elections,” United said.
“Our mission is to connect people and unite the world. We believe that one of the most effective ways to do this is to engage in the democratic process, which begins with voting — a vital civic duty.”
Airlines are among the most visible consumer companies — and the biggest targets on social media. Atlanta-based Delta came under withering criticism for not speaking out more forcefully against a Georgia law that could discourage voting.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian later said in a memo to employees: “The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.”
Fort Worth-based American Airlines moved quickly to get out in front of a voting law that passed the Texas State Senate. “To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” the carrier said. “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.”
John Pletz is a reporter for Crain's Chicago Business