Washington, D.C. – Today, Business Forward Foundation issued a new report, Virginia Employers Defend Democracy and the Freedom to Vote. Virginia state legislators introduced seven bills this session that would suppress voter turnout. This report explains how the largest employers in Virginia have responded and why they are speaking up in the first place.
“Virginia’s workforce is among the most talented and educated in the country,” said Liz Fairchild, Executive Director of Business Forward. “The state has prospered for years because it has welcomed entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and small business owners. And the business leaders we work with in Virginia recognize that anti-voter policies divide their communities, which makes it more difficult to attract new investment and jobs.” she explained.
Business Forward is hosting a virtual roundtable discussion in Virginia today, where business leaders will brief Attorney General Mark Herring on the importance of pro-democracy and anti-corruption reforms. “Virginians understand that companies looking to expand in new locations look for a talented workforce, good schools, sound infrastructure, and a strong community,” Fairchild said, “which is why they are advocating in defense of democracy. In part due to their support, Virginia enacted 11 bills this session protecting the freedom to vote.”
Headquartered in Richmond, Altria is a Fortune 500 company with thousands of employees in Virginia. Senior Vice President Todd Walker spoke out in firm opposition to the proposed laws limiting voting rights: “We believe voting is a foundational democratic process and should be a non-partisan issue… Legislation impacting voting rights should advance principles of equality, fairness, and transparency, and should encourage more, not fewer, eligible voters to register and vote.”
“Executives like Walker know that the success of Virginia’s economy depends on the strength of its community,” Fairchild explained, “because silencing voters protects special interests and makes Virginia less attractive for new investments.”
ABOUT BUSINESS FORWARD FOUNDATION
The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.