MADISON, Wis. — Yesterday, more than 60 business owners and leaders across the state wrote a letter to state lawmakers fiercely opposing the voter suppression bills moving through the state legislature. The business community chastised GOP lawmakers for creating barriers to voting and “particularly targeting voters with disabilities, elderly voters, and Black and Brown communities.”
Wisconsin’s GOP lawmakers have proposed at least fourteen election-related bills attacking Wisconsinites’ right to vote, limiting absentee voting, and targeting nonpartisan election workers. Disability advocates have also opposed these bills because they would severely limit the voting rights of Wisconsinites with disabilities.
While Wisconsinites from every corner of the state push back against the Wisconsin GOP’s attempt to suppress votes, Republican lawmakers continue to buy into false claims of election fraud and push for unnecessary limits on voting. This past weekend, four Wisconsin lawmakers traveled to Arizona to observe the state’s “audit,” which is being run by a firm that has zero experience reviewing elections. Speaker Robin Vos and legislative Republicans have also announced their own sham investigation into the election, run by an election conspiracy theorist and former police officer who was banned from the polls in 2008.
A recount, a report from Donald Trump’s Department of Homeland Security, and multiple court rulings proved that the 2020 Wisconsin election was secure time and again.
Read more about the business leaders’ letter below.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Bucks, business leaders join letter opposing GOP voting bills moving through Wisconsin Legislature
Business leaders from across the state, including the Milwaukee Bucks and Weyco Group, are joining a letter to state lawmakers opposing bills moving through the state Legislature that would limit drop boxes, create more paperwork for absentee voters and require disabled voters to provide copies of their IDs in more cases.
More than 60 business owners and leaders signed a statement they plan to release Monday calling on elected officials to oppose the bills, which they said would “create steep barriers to voting, particularly targeting voters with disabilities, elderly voters, and Black and Brown communities.”
“We believe that every Wisconsin voter should have an equal opportunity to participate in our democracy and make their voice heard, regardless of their race, background, or zip code,” their letter reads.
The letter was coordinated by the Wisconsin Voting Rights Coalition, which consists of more than 20 organizations that describe themselves as pro-voter.
Arvind Gopalratnam, vice president of corporate social responsibility for the Milwaukee Bucks, said the organization hopes to amplify the voices of local community leaders who have advocated for voting rights.
Business leaders told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that voting policies should not be regressive and should instead promote access to voting.
Cory Nettles, the president of an investment fund based in Milwaukee that helps small- and medium-sized businesses, said the restrictions would send the wrong message about the state.
John Florsheim, chief operating officer of Weyco Group, said that voting “has become a weirdly partisan issue” and that the business community is made up of both Democrats and Republicans.
Some of the bills are headed to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ desk, where he is almost certain to veto them.
“My basic theory is democracy works best when we get as many people to the polls as possible,” Evers said. “I don’t care if they vote for Republicans or Democrats, as long as they vote. Any time that we take a step back from that, I will look with great disdain on those bills.”