Washington, D.C. – Business Forward Foundation issued a new report, Arizona Employers Defend Democracy and the Freedom to Vote. Arizona state legislators have introduced nearly 30 bills this session that would make voting more difficult. This report looks at what the state’s top employers are saying in response — and why they are speaking up in the first place.
“For years, Arizona’s economy has prospered because it welcomed investors, workers, and their families,” explained Liz Fairchild, Executive Director of Business Forward. “Arizona enjoys one of America’s fastest growing populations and economies, and ranks in the country’s top ten states for startup employment and business dynamism. But recent efforts to suppress voting threaten to divide Arizona’s communities, which discourages new investment and jobs.”
“Entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and small business owners in Arizona recognize that companies looking to invest in new cities — for example, by building a new lab or factory, or opening a new call center — tend to look for a talented workforce, good schools, sound infrastructure, and a strong community,” Fairchild added.
Intel, for example, has more than 10,000 employees in Arizona and recently announced a major expansion in Chandler. Shortly after the announcement, CEO Pat Gelsinger spoke out in firm opposition to the proposed laws limiting voting rights: “Our country is stronger with more voting, not less, and with the evolution of technology, voting can be more secure, equitable and accessible. We oppose any legislation that seeks to reduce the voting rights or opportunities of American citizens.” Intel’s expansion is expected to add $20 billion and thousands of new jobs to the Arizona economy.
“Business leaders like Gelsinger know that the success of Arizona’s economy depends on the strength and attractiveness of its community — and divisive election laws that undermine Arizonans’ access to the ballot will turn away talented workers,” Fairchild explained, “Business leaders across Arizona are joining in opposition because they recognize that restricting the vote and protecting special interests in Arizona puts our remarkable record of attracting new investment and jobs at risk.”
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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.