More than 1,500 small businesses across the country are demanding the immediate passage of the priorities in the Freedom to Vote Act, to ensure a government that reflects voters’ vision to increase local investment, create good jobs, and foster equitable economies. The ranks of small business getting behind the legislation have continued to grow in recent weeks as a series of votes on the legislation are anticipated in the coming weeks.
Business Forward and Common Cause have worked with these businesses to advocate in support of the bill — and 1,500 small business leaders have written letters to the editor, met with senators, and signed on to letters in support of protecting the freedom of every American to cast a ballot and curbing the outsized influence of deep-pocketed special interests in Washington (see the letters below). Efforts to enlist more small business in support of the legislation are expected to continue in the weeks ahead.
“Small businesses are being crushed by the policies that are currently in place that pave the way for big box stores. The Freedom to Vote Act would start to level the playing field to make sure we all can have our voices heard,” said Sean Crute, owner of A1 Holding, LLC in Phoenix, AZ.
“While my businesses suffered through the pandemic, Fortune 500 companies and companies run by the wealthy and politically connected, largely become wealthier, many of them receiving the PPP loans intended for small businesses like mine. The solution here is simple. We need our voices – the voices of our community – to be heard, not overshadowed by dark money and corporate lobbyists,” said Portia Jones, owner of So Damn Good Cuisine and Mad Skillz Salon in Mesa, AZ.
Small business leaders understand what their communities need and how important it is for every American to have a voice in our elections and in our government. Americans want a system that works for every voter. That’s why they have banded together to urge Congress to take immediate action to support the communities where their employees live and work.
“Participatory democracy is the lifeblood of America’s small businesses and it also happens to be a core principle in my business’ work in communities across Western Pennsylvania and Appalachia. The U.S. Senate needs to step up for this essential legislation at this most critical time,“ said Pat Clark, owner of Jackson/Clark Partners in Pittsburgh, PA.
Partly in response to historic voter turnout, state lawmakers across the nation during 2021 legislative sessions have rushed to introduce more than 425 restrictive voting laws in 49 states that hinder access to the ballot box – particularly in the communities of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian American Pacific Islander Americans. States and communities compete with one another for new investment and jobs, and companies look for a talented workforce, sound infrastructure, good schools, and a strong community. Small business owners understand the that when Americans are denied a say in the voting booth, their communities miss out on government funding and investment that they deserve.
“Americans expect and deserve elected officials who will protect their freedom to vote and who will look out for their interests not the special interests,” said Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn. “Small business owners know all too well that their interests and those of their employees and customers too often take a back seat to special interests and big donors in Washington where those with the deepest pockets get what they want at the expense of others. We are proud to count so many small business owners among our broad and diverse coalition working to get the Freedom to Vote Act across the finish line in the Senate and to President Biden’s desk for his signature.”
A group of nine senators crafted the Freedom to Vote Act, a package of voting rights, redistricting reforms and anti-corruption legislation aimed to restore faith in our government and trust in our electoral system. Despite opposition from Senate Republicans on the landmark legislation, the bill has garnered the support of Democrats and Republicans alike and from business owners, veterans and faith leaders. The small business community will continue to urge our elected leaders to follow the will of the people and to fight for a future where all votes are counted and all voices are heard.