Bipartisan State Leaders Applaud Corporate Leadership on Voting Rights; Urge Others to Speak Out

Published: 4.20.21

NATIONWIDE — Today a bipartisan coalition of more than 50 current and former state officials – governors, lieutenant governors, attorneys general, and secretaries of state – released an open letter thanking businesses for speaking out in support of voting rights and encouraging more to do so. The letter was organized by the States United Democracy Center, a new nonpartisan organization formed by the leaders who ran the Voter Protection Program in 2020.

The letter applauds corporate executives for supporting voting rights and urges others to engage on the issue, including the excerpt below. The letter can be read in full here.

“When the foundation of our democracy – the freedom of citizens in our states to cast their ballots – is under attack, it is powerful and important when Americans speak up, especially those in leadership positions.

Companies, and the people who work for them, are vital parts of our communities. We’ve seen the power of corporate leadership in the past on issues foundational to our democracy. We’ve seen corporations rightly rally to the side of equal rights and racial justice. We’ve worked with state and local business leaders to confront the economic struggles of a global pandemic. And now, we need more companies to add their public support for protecting voting rights.”

The bipartisan letter follows hundreds of corporations uniting opposition to limiting access to the ballot box and the recently released letter from 72 Black business executives that called on corporations to protect the freedom to vote following the introduction of more than 360 bills aimed at restricting voting access that have been introduced across 47 states. Many of these bills are based on the same lies that led to violence during the 2020 elections, and add barriers to voting that disproportionately impact voters of color, the elderly, our veterans, and those with disabilities.

“As voter suppression bills are introduced across the country, it’s powerful to see business leaders joining pro-democracy state officials in support of American voters,” said Joanna Lydgate, States United Democracy Center CEO. “We have long seen the power of business to create positive change in this country. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment in our nation’s history, and now is the time to join with leaders from all backgrounds in protecting the freedom to vote.”

“As a former Governor, I know the impact the business community can and does have on issues foundational to our democracy. We all benefit from strong partnership and collaboration across sectors and states in protecting the freedom to vote. In 2020, we got a glimpse of how far anti-democracy forces are willing to go. Now, we must amplify pro-democracy officials and policies on both sides of the aisle to protect the will of the American people,” said former Governor Christine Todd-Whitman, States United Democracy Center Co-Chair.

The letter was led by Governors Roy Cooper (NC) and Gretchen Whitmer (MI) and former Governors Arne Carlson (MN), Bill Weld (MA), and Christine Todd Whitman (NJ). Participating state leaders included:

Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina

Governor Arne Carlson, Minnesota (Fmr)

Governor Bill Weld, Massachusetts (Fmr)

Governor Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey (Fmr)

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan

Governor John Bel Edwards, Louisiana

Governor Andy Beshear, Kentucky

Governor Kate Brown, Oregon

Governor Steve Bullock, Montana (Fmr)

Governor Tony Evers, Wisconsin

Governor Jay Inslee, Washington

Governor Janet Mills, Maine

Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey

Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia

Governor Tim Walz, Minnesota

Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Minnesota

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, Michigan

Lt. Governor Molly Gray, Vermont

Lt. Governor Michael Steele, Maryland (Fmr)

Attorney General Hector Balderas, New Mexico

Attorney General Clare Connors, Hawaii

Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, Nevada (Fmr)

Attorney General TJ Donovan, Vermont

Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minnesota

Attorney General John Farmer Jr., New Jersey (Fmr)

Attorney General Aaron Ford, Nevada

Attorney General Aaron Frey, Maine

Attorney General Brian Frosh, Maryland

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, New Jersey

Attorney General Maura Healey, Massachusetts

Attorney General Mark Herring, Virginia

Attorney General Jim Hood, Mississippi (Fmr)

Attorney General Letitia James, New York

Attorney General Kathy Jennings, Delaware

Attorney General Josh Kaul, Wisconsin

Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth, Alaska (Fmr)

Attorney General Dana Nessel, Michigan

Attorney General Karl Racine, District of Columbia

Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Illinois

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon

Attorney General Josh Stein, North Carolina

Attorney General Phil Weiser, Colorado

Attorney General Grant Woods, Arizona (Fmr)

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, Maine

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Michigan

Secretary of State Jim Condos, Vermont

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, Oregon

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island

Secretary of State Trey Grayson III, Kentucky (Fmr)

Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Colorado

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Arizona

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, North Carolina

Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Connecticut

Secretary of State Steve Simon, Minnesota

Secretary of State Tahesha Way, New Jersey

*List in formation 


The States United Democracy Center is a nonpartisan organization advancing free, fair, and secure elections. For more information, visit www.statesuniteddemocracy.org