Jun 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Obama: Businesses must speak out against GOP voting laws

Former President Obama speaking in Detroit in October 2020.

Former President Obama speaking in Detroit in October 2020. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Former President Obama accused Republicans of "rigging the game" by passing laws that restrict voting in response to baseless claims of widespread election fraud fueled by former President Trump.

Why it matters: Obama said during a virtual Economic Club of Chicago event on Friday that businesses have "a big responsibility" to speak out against the Republican-sponsored bills.

Context: At least two states — Georgia and Florida — have passed voting restriction laws in the aftermath of the 2020 election, though more than 100 of such bills had been introduced in state legislatures this year.

What they're saying: Obama said the bills and Republicans' embrace or indifference to Trump’s election lies were the “kind of dangerous behavior that we’re going to have to push back on.”

  • “It really has to do with the basic rules by which we all have agreed to keep this diverse, multiracial democracy functioning,” he added. “Are we going to stick to those rules or are we going to start rigging the game in a way that breaks it? And that’s not going to be good for business, not to mention not good for our soul.”

The big picture: Over 100 companies publicly opposed Georgia's legislation curbing voting access, though Gov. Brian Kemp (R) dismissed the corporate backlash and signed the bill into law in March.

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