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Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of state and national advocacy and union groups are calling on businesses like Coca-cola, Chevron, FedEx and the Chamber of Commerce to stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of its voter restriction efforts, according to a letter first shared with Axios.

Why it matters: Dozens of bills with measures that could make it more difficult to vote are moving through state legislatures — and 22 laws have been in enacted in 14 states this year, according to the Brennan Center.

The conservative group ALEC writes model legislation for state lawmakers, and has opposed the sweeping election bill in the U.S. Congress supported by Democrats.

  • Organizations, including Common Cause, Stacey Abram's Fair Fight Action and AFL-CIO, write that business "participation in ALEC serves to promote and legitimize the group’s anti-democratic efforts to create more barriers to voting," according to the letter.
  • The letter says that ALEC "has reengaged on highly controversial policies related to elections and redistricting in recent years," pointing to reporting about a secret working group for redistricting and election law issues.
  • It also criticizes the group for working with attorneys, lawmakers and other conservative groups who questioned the validity of the 2020 election results or mail-in voting.

What they're saying: "Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), dozens of corporations — many of whom pledged solidarity with Black workers and consumers just last year — are secretly funding efforts to silence Black voters," Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice and democracy campaigns at Color Of Change, said in a statement.

The big picture: Big corporations can be an important ally in the voting rights war, especially in states where Republicans control the legislature.

  • Democrats and organizations in Texas successfully rallied big businesses, like Dell, Microsoft and American Airlines, to push back against a restrictive voting bill moving through the legislature. Democratic lawmakers ultimately boycotted the vote on the bill.

Go deeper

Election workers departing in droves after "partisan rancor" in 2020

People are given instructions during a hand-count audit of 2020 presidential election ballots at the Gwinnett County Voter Registration office in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Large numbers of election workers have left their jobs in the aftermath of the 2020 election, when many faced persistent threats of violence and harassment while performing their jobs, the Associated Press reports.

Driving the news: Officials in states across the country have quit or retired early due to the "partisan rancor" that now surrounds their jobs and as conspiracy theories about the election continue to thrive within the Republican party, per AP.

9 mins ago - Sports

Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Katie Ledecky at the Tokyo Games. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Katie Ledecky took home the gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Driving the news: The long-distance 1,500m race has traditionally only been available to men at the Olympics, and the Tokyo Games mark the first time that it has been open to women.

Activision Blizzard CEO calls company's response to suit "tone deaf"

Photo: Bloomberg/ Getty Images

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent a lengthy letter to employees late on Tuesday, listing steps the company will take to address widespread allegations of sexist and discriminatory conduct at the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" gaming company.

Why it matters: This was the most comprehensive message from the company, and a softer one than had been sent by Kotick's PR people and a top executive last week.