Ford and General Motors, Michigan's Biggest Companies, Object to Proposed Election Bills

Three-dozen Michigan-based companies, including General Motors and Ford, expressed opposition on Tuesday to Republican-sponsored election bills that would restrict voting in states including Michigan.

"Government must support equitable access to the ballot to ensure that all eligible voters can exercise their rights," the companies' statement said. "Government must avoid actions that reduce participation in elections — particularly among historically disenfranchised communities, persons with disabilities, older adults, racial minorities and low-income voters."

The leaders of three-dozen major Michigan companies, including General Motors and Ford, announced Tuesday their opposition to any Republican-sponsored election bills in Michigan and other states that would make it harder to vote, reduce voter participation #MILEG

— David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) April 13, 2021

The statement was signed by top leadership at General Motors, Ford, all four Detroit professional sports teams, as well as auto suppliers, banks and other businesses, according to the Associated Press.

The 39 proposed GOP bills include provisions such as limited voter access to absentee ballot drop boxes and a photo ID requirement for in-person or mail-in voting, according to Bridge Michigan. The legislation would also call for a new deadline for election clerks to finish counting ballots and report their results by noon the day after the election.

Republicans are attempting to use a constitutional provision in Michigan that allows them to bypass a veto from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who is a Democrat, if they can collect at least 340,047 voter signatures in support of the legislation.

More here: MI has some differences to Georgia's voting law but many of the effects would be the same.

— Joel Kurth (@joeltkurth) April 9, 2021

The bills come after President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by 154,188 votes in Michigan, prompting baseless theories of voter fraud.

General Motors
General Motors joined dozens of Michigan-based companies that voiced opposition to Republican-sponsored election bills that would raise barriers to voting in Michigan and other states. In he photo, a sign is seen outside of General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant on January 27, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

The companies stopped short of weighing in on specific legislation in Michigan and other states, but said election laws must be developed in bipartisan fashion. They added that government should continuously improve and strengthen election administration "because public faith in the security and integrity of our elections in fundamental."

In a separate statement, GM urged state lawmakers across the U.S. to protect and enhance "the right for all eligible voters to have their voices included in a fair, free and equitable manner."

Republicans have said changes are needed to ensure election integrity following a surge in absentee voting in 2020. More than 5.5 million people voted in Michigan's presidential election—the most ever and the highest percentage of voting-age residents to cast a ballot in 60 years.

Some in the GOP have falsely claimed the presidential election was stolen from Trump despite his 154,000-vote, or 2.8-percentage-point, loss to Biden in the battleground state.

Several bills would be vetoed by Whitmer if they reached her desk. But the state Republican Party has said it plans a maneuver that would enable the legislature to pass them into law anyway if enough voter signatures were gathered for a ballot initiative.

Other measures in the 39-bill package would let 16- and 17-year-olds preregister to vote and create an "early voting" day 10 days before Election Day. Votes submitted at polling places on that day would be counted then.

People already can cast an absentee ballot in person starting 40 days before an election, including the weekend before. Absentee ballots are counted on Election Day, which can lead to delayed results because processing them takes longer.