United Airlines has become the latest corporation to weigh in on the debate surrounding new voter laws that are moving through the legislative process in a number of states. Critics claim the laws are simply a backlash to record voter turnout in the 2020 Presidential Election, risk restricting access to the polls for legitimate voters and could be discriminatory.
United’s rival Delta Air Lines faced threats of a boycott after apparently supporting one such bill that has now been signed into law in its home state of Georgia. Delta chief executive Ed Bastian led a bungled response to the new law and suggested that the Atlanta-based airline had helped to craft key provisions in the bill.
Bastian initially refused to apologize for apparently helping Senate Bill 7 get passed into law but insisted Delta’s involvement in lobbying lawmakers had helped remove the most “egregious” parts of the bill. Only after days of mounting criticism did Bastian finally denounce the bill.
American Airlines was quick to speak out against a similar bill moving through the legislature in its home state of Texas, saying it was “strongly opposed” to the law – as well as other similar bills in other states. Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick hit back saying AA had criticized the bill before even reading it.
While there aren’t any controversial new voter laws currently under discussion in its home state of Illinois, United Airlines nonetheless decided to join the fray on Monday and speak out against them.
“Some have questioned the integrity of the nation’s election systems and are using it to justify stricter voting procedures, even though numerous studies have found zero credible evidence of widespread fraud in U.S. elections,” the airline said.
“Legislation that infringes on the right to vote of fellow Americans is wrong,” the statement continued. “We believe that leaders in both parties should work to protect the rights of eligible voters by making it easier and more convenient for them to cast a ballot and have it counted.”
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the most restrictive bills take aim at absentee voting, while nearly a quarter seek stricter voter ID requirements. “State lawmakers also aim to make voter registration harder, expand voter roll purges or adopt flawed practices that would risk improper purges, and cut back on early voting,” the center explained.
A spokesperson for United Airlines said on Monday: “Our mission is to connect people and unite the world. We believe that one of the most effective ways to do this is to engage in the democratic process, which begins with voting – a vital civic duty. America’s democracy is stronger when we’re all engaged, and every vote is properly counted.”
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.