FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Letter released during a call that also featured the results of a recent Small Business for America’s survey shows nearly three-quarters of small business owners support the For the People Act, which the Senate is considering this week
Washington, D.C., June 22, 2021— Small Business for America’s Future, a coalition of small business leaders, and the Leadership Now Project, a membership organization of business and thought leaders taking action to fix American democracy, Tuesday hosted a call demonstrating strong small business support for legislation protecting and expanding voting, as the Senate considers the For the People Act. The groups released a letter signed by more than 500 small business owners urging Congress to expand and protect voting rights and discussed the results of a recent national survey showing that 74% of small businesses support federal legislation that would do so.
The letter states in part: “Recent attempts to limit voices in numerous states by obstructing the voting process and upend our nation’s democratic origins greatly impacts small businesses. As small business leaders, we support Congressional efforts aimed to expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders.”
“Small business owners care about voting access because a strong economy—and a strong small business sector—requires a stable government, but right now, most small business owners are concerned that our democracy is in poor shape,” said Frank Knapp, co-chair of Small Business for America’s Future and the CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “We need our leaders to ensure that the power in this country remains with the people, which is what allows entrepreneurship and the nation’s entire economy to flourish for all rather than just those who have attained power.”
The survey of 1,052 small business owners in the Small Business for America’s Future network asked about their feelings on a number of issues around democracy—from Major League Baseball’s decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Georgia after the state passed legislation restricting voting rights, to their thoughts on corporate CEOs who speak out in favor of voting rights. The survey results show:
- 74% of small business owners surveyed said they support H.R. 1, the federal For the People Act, which would expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, limit partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders
- 60% of small business owners are concerned with the current state of our democracy, with 38% saying it is “Poor” and 22% saying it is “Very Bad”
- 74% of small business owners said they vote in every election they can, 42% give financial contributions to campaigns or causes and nearly a quarter of respondents volunteer for campaigns or causes themselves
“Today’s event demonstrates the collective willingness of the small business community to stand up for our democracy in a moment where the right to vote is under threat. As an immigrant to this country, I understand how essential it is to protect our democracy, and as a business owner, I understand that business has the responsibility to leverage its power and trust in society to ensure that the right to vote is guaranteed to every American,” said Luz Blancas Sevak, amember of the Leadership Now Project steering committee and the co-founder of Mindset Global. “The common-sense reforms included in federal legislation like SB1 would uphold the right to participate in our democracy, which is a pillar of America’s strength, and provide the stability we need to ensure our businesses can thrive.”
During the call, Diana Maldonado president & CEO Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, discussed the impact of recent attempts to restrict voting in Texas and the importance of businesses speaking out.
“During this session, the Texas Legislature introduced some of the most restrictive voting legislation in our state’s history amidst the growth of a diverse population in our state. As business leaders and advocates for Hispanic owned businesses and communities of color, we share a responsibility with speaking on behalf of business and social equity issues,” said Diana Maldonado President & CEO Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Our efforts resulted in convening a statewide coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce to deliver a message on the negative impacts these restrictions would have on the state economy and beyond. As other state legislatures are enacting similar laws, it is vital for the business community to be well represented on business and voting rights legislation at the state and national level.”
A recording of the call is available here.
About Small Business for America’s Future
Small Business for America’s Future is a national coalition of small business owners and leaders working to provide small businesses a voice at every level of government. We’re committed to ensuring policymakers prioritize the nation’s 30 million small businesses to create an economy that works for them, their workers and their communities. Visit www.smallbusinessforamericasfuture.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. #SmallBizAF.