Stakeholders Look to Companies to Backstop Election Legitimacy
Leadership Now CEO Daniella Ballou-Aares featured in AgendaWeek.
Americans struggling with inconsistent government and media messaging have turned to corporations to guide them on the options available to vote in person or by mail, when to vote, where to vote, and what to expect once the election is over, sources say. A recent poll from Just Capital of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, for instance, shows that three in four Americans believe large companies have some role to play in preserving and protecting democracy, whether that’s by making voting more accessible (69%), taking an active stance against disinformation (63%), or safeguarding election integrity against foreign interference and cyber attacks (62%). Companies typically hesitate to wade into the political process, but with the uncertainty and unrest leading up to the election, there has been more of a willingness to become a resource for employees and customers. Investors, all the while, are keeping a watchful eye on whether public stances align with companies’ practices, one investor group tells Agenda.
Added to the stakes is the impact of the democratic process on the economy in the U.S., sources say. “A functioning democracy is really critical for ultimately getting good policies that are good for the health of business and society over the medium and long term,” says Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO and co-founder of the Leadership Now Project, a nonprofit group of businesses started by Harvard Business School alumni aimed at improving democracy. “There is an increasing recognition that U.S. competitiveness does depend on a functioning democracy.”
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