NEWS, ANALYSIS AND PERSPECTIVE FOR SOLUTION PROVIDERS AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATORS
Michael Dell Slams Texas Voting Bill As ‘Opposite’ Of Democracy
‘Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 does the opposite, and we are opposed to it,’ says Michael Dell, CEO of Texas-based Dell Technologies.By Mark Haranas April 05, 2021, 01:24 PM EDTLinkedInFacebookTwitterEmailMore
Dell Technologies CEO and lifelong Texan Michael Dell slammed Texas voting legislation House Bill 6, saying it goes against American democracy in-favor of voter suppression.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Technologies employs tens of thousands of Texans and is one of the largest private employers in many of the state’s biggest metro areas including Austin.
“Free, fair, equitable access to voting is the foundation of American democracy. Those right – especially for women, communities of color – have ben hard-earned,” said Dell recently on Twitter. “Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 [House Bill 6] does the opposite, and we are opposed to it.”
Dell was responding on Twitter to a statement by Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of leading U.S. companies, which came out against several voting laws currently under consideration across the country.
“Unnecessary restrictions on the right to vote strike at the heart of representative government. Business Roundtable members believe state laws must safeguard and guarantee the right to vote” said the company on Twitter. “We call on elected officials across the country to commit to bipartisan efforts to provide greater access to voting and encourage broad voter participation.”
House Bill 6 (HB6) would prohibit local election officials from proactively sending out applications for mail-in ballots and implement new rules for people assisting voters when filling out ballots. The bill also installs severe penalties, including criminal prosecution, if a voter makes an error when voting. Additionally, the bill would limit election workers to protect voters against illegal harassment and disruption from people who poll watch.
One executive from a solution provider who previously worked at Dell Technologies said Michael Dell “is the real deal” when it comes to social issues.
“He’s always very much in tune with hot button issues, social concerns from employees – whether that’s inside Texas or not — political issues, etc. He’s not afraid to take a real stance on some of these things,” said the executive who declined to be identified. “People do listen to what he has to say. He’s one of the most prominent business figureheads in Texas, bar none. … You look at [Dell Technologies] 2030 [vision], it’s not very tech-heavy. It’s social and human impact heavy.”
Michael Dell began Dell inside his dorm room at the University of Texas in 1984. The lifelong Texan employs over 165,000 people on a global basis.
In addition to HB6, there are a slew of other similar voting bills on the docked in Texas, such as House Bill 7, which would ban extended voting hours and drive-thru voting.
Sponsors of the legislation say it would protect election integrity and better prevent against potential voter fraud. The bill is fully supported by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
However, many critics, including non-partisan organizations, say the bill is an attempt at voter suppression. The bills stem from unproven reports of voter fraud during the 2020 general election, critics say.
The Texas-based non-partisan organization MOVE recently said the bill represents “the most egregious assault on voting rights here in Texas” since the Jim Crow era. “In a state that already has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country, the true aim of these bills is abundantly clear: to target young Black and Brown voters and silence the voices of a rising Texas electorate,” said H. Drew Galloway, executive director of MOVE, in a statement.
Software giant Microsoft has also recently raised concerns on HB6 around its prohibition on sending vote-by-mail applications to voters who did not requested it. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in a Twitter post on Saturday said that, “Our country is stronger with more voting, not less, and with the evolution of technology, voting can be more secure, equitable and accessible. We oppose any legislation that seeks to reduce the voting rights or opportunities of American citizens.”
Additionally, Texas-based companies AT&T and Southwest Airlines have issued statements expressing support for voting rights in the state.
The controversial HB6 bill comes as many huge technology market leaders are flocking to Texas to set up new headquarters, in part, for tax purposes. Over the past 12 months, IT giants Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Digital Realty, Oracle and Telsa have all moved headquarters to Texas.