Monday, July 4, 2022

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Business Community Warns of Fallout from Voting-Access Roadblocks

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Friday, January 21, 2022   

More than 200 business owners are calling on others to support federal reforms to strengthen election laws, after U.S. Senate Democrats were unable to change filibuster rules in order to pass sweeping voting-access legislation.

Luke Gran, CEO of Prudenterra, a land restoration company in central Iowa, said with Iowa taking steps last year to enact a host of voting restrictions, he worries about his clients and staff not having ample opportunities to cast a ballot. For his business to survive, Gran argued voters need access to the ballot box to demand things like incentives for restoration projects benefitting the state.

"The public can benefit immediately with better habitat quality, better water quality, and you know, more resilient natural areas for recreation and other enjoyment," Gran outlined.

The bill defeated in the Senate would have established minimum federal voting standards. It was a
response to dozens of bills passed in GOP-controlled states, including Iowa, which Democrats contended were designed to make it harder to vote.

Some Senate Republicans are now discussing launching a bipartisan effort to pass a smaller bill focused on safeguarding election results and protecting elected officials from harassment.

Thomas Oppel, executive vice president of the American Sustainable Business Network, said measures restricting access to the ballot can lead to an autocratic government favoring special interests and limiting entrepreneurship.

"If people don't have confidence in their government, you're going to end up with 'crony capitalism,'" Oppel asserted. "Where it's not about your ability to deliver a quality product or deliver a better price. It's about who you know, what connections you have, and how much corruption and graft you're willing to put up with."

In states where voting restrictions have been added, supporters cited the need to restore faith in the election system. They often pointed to false claims about the 2020 presidential election being stolen, despite those claims being widely rejected by election authorities and the courts.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.


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