Learning from Delta Air Lines’ indecisiveness in Georgia, American Airlines quickly condemned a new voting law Texas legislators are considering. The mocking response from the Texas Lieutenant Governor’s office underscores the contentious nature of this debate.
What Is Senate Bill 7 In Texas?
In Texas, Senate Bill 7:
- Prohibits public officials from sending out unrequested absentee ballots
- Prohibits drive-thru voting
- Calls for standardized voting rules in counties statewide (in part by limiting early voting hours)
The Republican-controlled legislature is rapidly advancing this bill and the governor has indicated he will sign it.
Why American Airlines Opposes Texas Voting Law
On Thursday, American Airlines issued an unequivocal statement condemning the new law under consideration:
Earlier this morning, the Texas State Senate passed legislation with provisions that limit voting access. To make American’s stance clear: We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it. As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote.
Voting is the hallmark of our democracy, and is the foundation of our great country. We value the democratic process and believe every eligible American should be allowed to exercise their right to vote, no matter which political party or candidate they support.
We acknowledge how difficult this is for many who have fought to secure and exercise their constitutional right to vote. Any legislation dealing with how elections are conducted must ensure ballot integrity and security while making it easier to vote, not harder. At American, we believe we should break down barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion in our society – not create them.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Mocks American Airlines
Hours later, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick issued a scathing reply:
“As Lt. Governor of Texas, I am stunned that American Airlines would put out a statement saying ‘we are strongly opposed to this bill’ just minutes after their government relations representative called my office and admitted that neither he nor the American Airlines CEO had actually read the legislation.
“We heard these same outcries claiming voter suppression in 2011 when Texas passed the photo voter ID bill. In fact, just the opposite occurred. Voter turnout in Texas soared from 7,993,851 in 2012 to 11,144,040 in 2020, a 39 percent increase. Gubernatorial election voter turnout has increased by 76 percent since photo voter ID was passed.
“Texans are fed up with corporations that don’t share our values trying to dictate public policy. The majority of Texans support maintaining the integrity of our elections, which is why I made it a priority this legislative session. Senate Bill 7 includes comprehensive reforms that will ensure voting in Texas is consistent statewide and secure.
“By the way, this is the same American Airlines that in 2017 led the fight to try to force us to allow boys to play girls sports in Texas and take away their scholarships. They are probably still fighting for that today and it is likely they have not read Senate Bill 29 either.”
Senate Bill 29 prohibits the use by a political subdivision of public money for lobbying and certain other activities.
Southwest Offers A More Muted Statement
Meanwhile, Texas-based Southwest Airlines issued a shorter and far broader statement:
“The right to vote is foundational to our democracy and a right coveted by all. We believe every voter should have a fair opportunity to let their voice be heard. This right is essential to our nation’s success.”
Some have called this a condemnation of the Texas voter law, but it is so general that both sides could use it to bolster their case.
American Airlines has strongly condemned a new voter law under consideration in Texas. The Texas Lieutenant Governor has responded back in a mocking tone with a veiled threat. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Southwest Airlines’ non-controversial statement on the new voting law will require “clarification” for not going far enough.