United and American have spoken out against measures that limit access to voting. American came out against a proposal in Texas they had not read. Delta is against Georgia’s law, after being for it, and after telling employees they helped craft its final form.
Now the CEOs of American Airlines and United have joined a forum of major corporate CEOs concerned about voting rights that was put together just a few days ago.
Also part of the meeting was Adam Aron, former CEO of Starwood Hotels, Senior Vice President of Marketing at United Airlines, and responsible for the launch of Hyatt Gold Passport.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian was invited but did not attend. Bastian also skipped a meeting with President Trump that centered on a key priority pushed by the airline for four years, because it was his week with the kids.
The meeting “ended with no concrete game plan or timetable, but with a general plan to draft potential responses based on a firm’s size and resources.”
New York lacks no-excuse absentee voting, requires registration 25 days prior to an election, and enforces voter ID with registration (or upon first casting a ballot). New York may be worse but it isn’t actively making voting access worse than it is today, in other words the focus is on directional flow when both are clearly important.
New York isn’t an excuse for Texas or Georgia, but ignoring New York is a significant indicator of virtue signaling and latecoming to the issue.
I happen to believe that voter fraud is a potential issue in local elections. For instance just last year a Philadelphia judge was convicted of taking bribes “to cast fraudulent ballots and certifying false voting results during the 2014, 2015, and 2016 primary elections in Philadelphia.”
The number of fraudulent votes in that case was in the hundreds. Voter fraud is rarely significant in national elections. The scale needed is difficult to accomplish, and difficult to conceal.
Voting should be as low cost as possible. There’s no valid reason for systems or structures that make 25 day advance registration necessary, there are other ways to keep people from moving into a district or state at the last minute for voting purposes if that’s a concern. There’s no valid reason someone should have to cast a ballot in person, or even wait in line.
The rules around voting, like the rules around districting and campaign finance, are always written by those in power and always written to advantage those in power. John McCain spoke directly to his motivations for campaign finance reform – incumbent Senators were under assault from groups with significant money, and he aimed to stop it. Elizabeth Warren wants to break up tech companies that criticize her.
Ed Bastian, though, is wise to let others take the lead here since he’s already done so much to anger all sides. Doug Parker would be advised to worry more about employee relations and record levels of debt at his airline. Although anything that distracts Scott Kirby from finding areas where he can cut customer experience is probably a good thing.