FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Senate passed legislation with provisions that limit voting access on Thursday morning, April 1 and Fort Worth-based American Airlines made it known the company is against it.
The State Senate approved SB 7, which makes it so public employees cannot to distribute unrequested mail ballot applications and calls for consistent voting hours and in-person voting rules statewide.
Drive-thru voting wouldn’t be allowed.
“To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” the company said in a news release Thursday.
The airline went on to say:
“As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote. Voting is the hallmark of our democracy, and is the foundation of our great country. We value the democratic process and believe every eligible American should be allowed to exercise their right to vote, no matter which political party or candidate they support.
We acknowledge how difficult this is for many who have fought to secure and exercise their constitutional right to vote. Any legislation dealing with how elections are conducted must ensure ballot integrity and security while making it easier to vote, not harder. At American, we believe we should break down barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion in our society – not create them.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued the following response:
“As Lt. Governor of Texas, I am stunned that American Airlines would put out a statement saying ‘we are strongly opposed to this bill’ [Senate Bill 7] just minutes after their government relations representative called my office and admitted that neither he nor the American Airlines CEO had actually read the legislation.
“We heard these same outcries claiming voter suppression in 2011 when Texas passed the photo voter ID bill. In fact, just the opposite occurred. Voter turnout in Texas soared from 7,993,851 in 2012 to 11,144,040 in 2020, a 39 percent increase. Gubernatorial election voter turnout has increased by 76 percent since photo voter ID was passed.
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy. The majority of Texans support maintaining the integrity of our elections, which is why I made it a priority this legislative session. Senate Bill 7 includes comprehensive reforms that will ensure voting in Texas is consistent statewide and secure.
“By the way, this is the same American Airlines that in 2017 led the fight to try to force us to allow boys to play girls sports in Texas and take away their scholarships. They are probably still fighting for that today and it is likely they have not read Senate Bill 29 either.”
Later, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines weighed in, saying in a statement, “The right to vote is foundational to our democracy and a right coveted by all. We believe every voter should have a fair opportunity to let their voice be heard. This right is essential to our nation’s success.”
Then AT&T CEO John Stankey issued the following statement:
“We believe the right to vote is sacred and we support voting laws that make it easier for more Americans to vote in free, fair and secure elections.
“We understand that election laws are complicated, not our company’s expertise and ultimately the responsibility of elected officials. But, as a company, we have a responsibility to engage. For this reason, we are working together with other businesses through groups like the Business Roundtable to support efforts to enhance every person’s ability to vote. In this way, the right knowledge and expertise can be applied to make a difference on this fundamental and critical issue.
“We’re an active member of the BRT and fully support its statement of principles on voting laws. Easily accessible and secure voting is not only a precious right and responsibility, it’s the single best way to ensure everyone’s voice is heard.”