WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In partnership with the Leadership Now Project, more than 50 of our nation's business leaders released a statement: "America Has Held Successful Elections Amid Crises Before. We Can and Must Do So Again," which underscores the importance of maintaining confidence in an election held during an unprecedented health crisis. Signatories include Greylock Partner and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman, D. E. Shaw & Co. Managing Director Eddie Fishman, The Baupost Group CEO Seth Klarman, Lumi Labs Co-Founder and former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, General Assembly CEO Lisa Lewin, KIND Snacks Executive Chairman Daniel Lubetzky and K1 Capital Management CEO Neil Malik, among other leaders.
With an unprecedented number of Americans voting by mail because of the pandemic, officials have consistently stressed that we may not know the outcome on election night. It could take days, weeks or more until the results are confirmed. In light of this, the signatories of the nonpartisan statement are calling for patience and civility until every vote is counted, making it clear that they will refuse to accept any results called too early or based on insufficient data.
"The health of our economy and markets depends on the strength of our democracy," said Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn. "As we prepare for the 2020 election, it is critical that Americans have confidence their votes will be counted. Election results inaccurately or prematurely reported by journalists, elected officials or other leaders would erode faith in American democracy and cause havoc in the business world and beyond."
The signatories expressed support for three key principles:
- Every vote will be counted, and election officials should encourage patience even while processing a higher-than-normal number of absentee ballots.
- The media must take caution to use its voice responsibly and avoid calling the election before sufficient data are available.
- Business leaders should promote patience and civility among employees, communities, and the American people.
The statement was organized by the Leadership Now Project, a membership organization of business leaders committed to protecting democracy. It comes alongside Leadership Now's Five Actions Guide for Businesses to Support A Successful 2020 Election, which provides concrete ways for businesses to advance and support civic engagement.
"Protecting the legitimacy of November's election is, at its core, about preserving American democracy. And business leaders know that doing so is good business, too: stable, inclusive government leads to greater economic growth. Now is the time for business leaders to ensure we maintain the integrity of our elections," said Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO of the Leadership Now Project.
The signatories come from several industries, including media, technology, retail, real estate, finance and more. Together, they point to the successful elections that America has held through other moments of widespread instability or conflict, such as the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the 1918 flu pandemic. "We can and must do so again," the statement says.
The statement and signatories may be found below and on the Leadership Now website.
America Has Held Successful Elections Amid Crises Before. We Can and Must Do So Again.
As business leaders, we know firsthand that the health of America's economy and markets rests on the founding principle of our democracy: elections where everyone's vote is counted.
We are in the midst of a pandemic that has caused great hardship for Americans in the form of lost lives and livelihoods. We must now come together to ensure that the pandemic does not cause even greater damage by threatening the integrity of our election.
Whether a vote is cast at an early voting location, by mail from a military base or by an individual avoiding COVID-19 exposure, or on election day at a local polling place, Americans must have confidence their vote will be counted and that the media will be cautious, patient, and thorough in their reporting of the results. The alternative - election results that are inaccurately or prematurely reported - would pose significant risks to business and markets in an already fragile economic environment.
We are proud of the business community's record of supporting civic participation, and pledge our support for these principles:
- Elected leaders and election officials should count every vote and encourage civility while awaiting election results. In many states, the law requires processing ballots received a week or more after election day, and in all states election officials will need time to process a larger than typical number of absentee ballots
- The media, which play a critical role in our democracy, must take caution to use its voice responsibly and avoid calling the election before sufficient data are available
- Business leaders should promote patience, civility, security, and accurate information for our employees, communities, and the American people during the election and in its aftermath
America has successfully held elections through previous challenges, like the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the 1918 flu pandemic. Now, it is our turn.
Finance: Eddie Fishman, Managing Director, DE Shaw; Seth Klarman, CEO, The Baupost Group; Alan Patricof, Chairman, Primetime Partners; Neil Malik, CEO, K1 Investment Management; Lisa Blau, Founding Partner, _able; Charles Ledley, Managing Partner, Liminality Capital; Kevin Brennan, Head of Investment Analytics, Bridgewater Associates; Abby Miller Levy, Managing Partner and Founder, Primetime Partners; Jeffrey C. Walker, Chairman, Walker Family Foundation, and former CEO, JPMorgan Capital, and Vice Chairman, JPMorgan; Patrick McGinnis, Managing Partner, Dirigo Advisors; Georgie Benardete, CEO, Align17; John Jaggers, Former Managing General Partner, Sevin Rosen Funds; Tricia Glynn, Partner, Advent International; Warren Valdmanis, Partner, Two Sigma Impact; Jigar Shah, co-founder, Generate Capital.
Tech/Media: Reid Hoffman, Partner Greylock and Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Lisa Lewin, CEO General Assembly; Marissa Mayer, co-founder Lumi Labs; Rob Bernshteyn, CEO, Coupa; Rob Marcus, Former Chairman & CEO, Time Warner Cable Inc.; Konrad Feldman, Co-founder & CEO, Quantcast; Tristan Mace, CEO, parkermace; Brian Stafford, CEO, Diligent Corporation; Leonel Azuela, CEO, Quaxar.
Consumer: Daniel Lubetzky, Founder and Executive Chairman, KIND Snacks; Sarah Kauss, Founder and Executive Chairwoman, S'well; Joel Poznansky, Chairman, Columbia Books & Information Services, and President, Wicked Uncle USA; John Pleasants, CEO, Brava.
Real Estate: Amar Lalvani, CEO, Standard Hotels; Jason Pomeranc, CEO, Sixty Hotels; Bess Freedman, CEO, Brown Harris Stevens; Craig Robinson, Former Global Head, Powered by We, WeWork; David Von Spreckelsen, President, Toll Brothers City Living; Joshua M. Wyatt, CEO, NeueHouse.
Other Industries: Michael Porter, Strategist and Professor, Harvard Business School; Anoop Prakash, President, REV Ambulance Group; Leo Sprecher, President, Budd Foods; Christopher Riley, CEO, Guzman Energy; Kartik Shah, co-Founder and Board Member, Oxeia Biopharmaceuticals, Inc; Ravi Chatwani, co-CEO, Prosum; Bill Veghte, CEO, Athene Partners.
About the Leadership Now Project
The Leadership Now Project is a membership organization of business and thought leaders who are committed to long-term solutions to renew American democracy. Leadership Now has four guiding principles that transcend political parties: to protect democracy while renewing it; to promote fact and evidence-based policymaking; to create an economy that works for all, and to embrace diversity as an asset. In 2019-2021, the organization is focused on the threats to the fundamentals of democracy, including low voter participation, gerrymandering, and the influence of money in politics.
Today, Leadership Now has members in six cities and continues to grow. Learn more at www.leadershipnowproject.org and sign up there for our Stay Awake Newsletter. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @LeadershipNP.