4/12 Meeting the Moment

Published: 4.12.21

Dear All,

On Friday, Voter Protection Action, our 501(c)(4), brought together a bipartisan group of state leaders from across the country to discuss the coordinated voter suppression effort sweeping state houses and to share best practices for protecting access to the ballot box. The bipartisan group included current and former governors, lieutenant governors, state attorneys general, and secretaries of state (many released statements after the call). They were joined by Joanna Lydgate, Norman Eisen, former Governor Christine Todd Whitman (NJ), and former attorneys general Jahna Lindemuth (AL), Grant Woods (AZ), Tom Rath (NH), and John Farmer (NJ).

The convening was covered in today’s Washington Post as “a chance to build on the momentum coming from Georgia. . . . [and] discuss how to keep the spotlight on other states where similar measures are under consideration.” On the broader voting rights landscape, VPP CEO Joanna Lydgate told the Post, “This is really a watershed moment. . . . We’ve all come to understand the consequences of lies and disinformation and conspiracy about voting.”

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper both noted to the Post their expectation that more businesses, including sports teams, would be weighing in soon. “Georgia is not a one-off,” Benson said. “Georgia is the first state. There’s Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, Wyoming.” “What’s important is to try to stop them in their tracks, before they become law,” said Cooper. “We were talking about ways to do that, and getting businesses to put pressure on legislators even before they take votes.”

In a separate meeting of note over the weekend, more than 100 corporate leaders met on Saturday for a first-of-its-kind gathering (virtual, of course) to discuss the restrictive voting efforts in 47 states. They even broached the idea of pulling their political donations.

Here is today’s update:

National Update

Stateline: “Nation has Georgia on its mind, but many states are making voting easier.” By Matt Vasilogambros. (April 11, 2021)
“There have been efforts by states such as Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia to expand voting by mail, early voting and voter registration. In Kentucky, which did not have early voting before the pandemic, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a bipartisan measure that will establish a three-day early voting period.”

Wall Street Journal: “With Georgia Voting Law, the Business of Business Becomes Politics.” By Chip Cutter, Suzanne Vranica, Alison Sider. (April 10, 2021)
“Now, business leaders are facing new pressures from progressive activists to prove that those commitments were more than just talk. As activists press companies to condemn new voting legislation, CEOs are again finding themselves walking a difficult line on emotional, political issues, risking blowback from all sides.”

CNN: “Polls show majority of Republicans mistakenly think the 2020 election wasn’t legitimate.” By Harry Enten. (April 11, 2021)
“Poll of the week: A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 55% of Republicans falsely believe Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was the result of illegal voting or rigging. Additionally, 60% of Republicans incorrectly agree that the election was stolen from Republican Donald Trump. These polls are the latest to indicate that Republicans mistakenly think that the 2020 election wasn’t legitimate, when it clearly was.”

NPR: “Who Are The Oath Keepers? Militia Group, Founder Scrutinized In Capitol Riot Probe.” By Ryan Lucas. (April 10, 2021)
“In April of 2009, a bespectacled former Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate took the microphone at a small rally just outside of Boston to introduce his new self-styled militia. ‘I’m Stewart Rhodes,’ he said. ‘And I’m the founder of Oath Keepers.”

NBC (Opinion): “Manchin’s filibuster defense contradicts the Senate legacy he claims to protect: The senator from West Virginia says he sees himself as a defender of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd. If we review Byrd’s legacy, however, it’s clear Manchin is not doing that.” By Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21. (April 12, 2021)
“So his party is forced to take notice when Manchin declares, as he did in a Washington Post opinion piece last week, ‘There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.’ Manchin also challenges the use of reconciliation as not good for the future of the country, and he seeks a bipartisan solution to the democracy reforms in S. 1. Yet Manchin’s positions here go against a legacy he has long insisted he is committed to protecting.”

Deadline: “The Battle Over The Filibuster Counters The Myth Of ‘Mr. Smith.’” By Ted Johnson. (April 11, 2021)
“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) seemingly dashed any hopes of Democrats abolishing the filibuster anytime soon when he wrote last week that the legislative maneuver was a ‘critical tool’ to protecting ‘our democratic form of government.’ That’s a far different view than that of former President Barack Obama, who called it a ‘Jim Crow relic,’ along with a slew of other critics. But an idealized view of the filibuster as a force for good isn’t an outlier; it’s the way that many students, of past generations and even today, are first exposed to it, via the 1939 Frank Capra classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Atlantic (Opinion): “How to Stop the Minority-Rule Doom Loop: The next two years might be America’s last chance to protect the basic democratic principle of majority rule.” By Adam Jentleson, author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate.” (April 12, 2021)
“President Joe Biden came into office facing four ‘converging crises’: COVID-19, climate change, racial justice, and the economy. But after a few weeks of fast action on a pandemic relief plan, a fifth crisis will determine the fate of the rest of his administration, and perhaps that of American democracy itself: the minority-rule doom loop, by which predominantly white conservatives gain more and more power, even as they represent fewer Americans.”

State Updates


KOLD: “Arizona activists, faith leaders decry ‘voter suppression’ bills.” By Kiera Riley. (April 9, 2021)
“The Arizona critics echoed a sentiment that voting rights advocates have repeated throughout the country, saying the rush to restrict voting recalls the days of ‘Jim Crow,’ when Black voters routinely were segregated and disenfranchised by state laws and oppressed under the stamp of government policy and often-violent regimes.”


The Guardian: “Georgia governor claims MLB All-Star voting rights move hurts Black voters.” By Guardian staff and agencies. (April 10, 2021)
“It’s minority-owned businesses that have been hit harder than most because of an invisible virus, by no fault of their own,” [Governor] Brian Kemp said. “And these are the same minority businesses that are now being impacted by another decision that is by no fault of their own.” 


Detroit Free Press (Opinion): “Pistons exec to Michigan lawmakers: Restricting voting rights will cost state.” By Arn Tellum, vice-chairman of the Detroit Pistons. (April 12, 2021)
“For the Detroit Pistons, voting access and voting rights are pillars of a social justice platform that grew out of last summer’s protests over the death of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of police. Pistons players have spoken personally about the anguish of Black Americans, channeling their pain and outrage into a plan of action.”

North Carolina

WCNC: “‘The truth is, our elections are very, very secure,’ Winthrop professor debunks basis for restrictive voting laws.” By Ben Thompson. (April 10, 2021)
“Despite a long list of proposals in state capitols promising to secure our elections, the U.S. doesn’t have a problem with election fraud, according to Dr. Scott Huffmon. ‘This is a solution that can’t quite find the real problem,’ said Huffmon, professor of politics at Winthrop University.”


KXAN Austin: “‘I don’t see voter suppression’ – Speaker Dade Phelandefends House Bill 6 from corporate critics.” By John Thomas and Wes Rapaport. (April 11, 2021)
“Controversial election legislation is moving forward at the State Capitol. House Bill 6 advanced out of committee on a party line vote, and now waits for a vote on the House floor. Democrats have criticized the bill, and others like it which tighten voting rules, as amounting to voter suppression. Some large businesses have issued statements against the bills. ‘I have the phone numbers of several of those individuals,’ House Speaker Dade Phelan said Wednesday, adding that he planned to call business leaders who have come out against HB 6. ‘I’m going to ask them to pull up House Bill 6 on their computers and point to me where in that bill they see voter suppression.’”

Social Media

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