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More than 100 companies sign letter opposing U.S. state voting restrictions

April 14 (Reuters) - Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc , Ford Motor Co and Starbucks Corp are among the more than 100 companies that have come together to oppose U.S. state voting curbs that activist groups say unfairly target Black and other racial minorities.

"We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot," the companies said in a letter published as a two-page advertisement nyti.ms/3e0fvnL in Wednesday's New York Times.

The statement was organized over the past week and a half by former American Express Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault and Merck & Co CEO Ken Frazier, according to the newspaper.

The two executives pushed for companies to take a stance against a wave of new restrictive voting-rights bills contemplated by states such as Texas and Arizona on a private Zoom call about 100 CEOs, investors, lawyers and corporate directors on Saturday.

Republicans across the country are using former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud to back state-level voting changes they say are needed to restore election integrity.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, the top executives of more than three dozen Michigan-based companies, including General Motors Co and Ford opposed Republican-backed legislation to restrict voting.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co and Delta Air Lines Inc were not among the signatories of the Wednesday letter, but have put out individual statements calling the voting limits in Georgia “unacceptable”.

Delta declined to comment on the Wednesday letter. Coca-Cola said it had not seen the letter but was open to hearing the perspective of the Black Economic Alliance, the group which helped sponsor the ad. (Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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