Under Pressure From Activists, ALEC Drops Task Force Behind Voter ID, "Stand Your Ground" Laws
A few weeks ago I wrote about a big progressive win: activists and consumers convincing corporations to drop ALEC, the right-wing group responsible for the recent proliferation of voter ID and "stand your ground." Since then, activists have kept the pressure on, and more companies have severed ties with ALEC. All told, at least ten major corporations have done so, among them McDonald's, Wendy's, Intuit, Kraft, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, plus the Gates Foundation.
Today we have another indication that ALEC is feeling the pressure (of a "coordinated intimidation campaign," if you will): the group announced that it would be "eliminating the ALEC Public Safety and Elections task force that dealt with non-economic issues, and reinvesting these resources in the task forces that focus on the economy." What does that mean in non-PR-speak? It means that ALEC is ditching the task force that was behind the controversial voter ID, "stand your ground," and anti-immigrant laws -- the very laws that are the subject of the recent anti-ALEC campaigns.
Some progressive groups are celebrating the announcement, calling it another big win. Common Cause, for instance, issued a statement this afternoon saying that "In folding its Public Safety and Elections Task Force, ALEC is abandoning under pressure the most controversial part of its agenda; that’s an important victory for the American public."
Others are more circumspect. ColorofChange, one of the main groups behind anti-ALEC petitions, remains committed to holding ALEC and its corporate members responsible for bad deeds already done. Said ColorOfChange Executive Director Rashad Robinson, "ALEC's latest statement is nothing more than a PR stunt aimed at diverting attention from its agenda, which has done serious damage to our communities. To simply say they are stopping non-economic work does not provide justice to the millions of Americas whose lives are impacted by these dangerous and discriminatory laws courtesy of ALEC and its corporate backers. It's clear that major corporations were in bed with an institution that has worked against basic American values such as the right to vote. Now that these companies are aware of what they've supported, what will they do about it? If ALEC's corporate supporters will not hold the institution accountable for the damage it has caused nationwide, then the ColorOfChanng community will hold them accountable."