Expensify's CEO emailed users to encourage them to 'vote for Biden'
Some recipients were already showing anger at the email.
Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
Expensify CEO David Barrett blasted all of his customers with a message to vote for Biden to "protect democracy."
In the email, which the company has said was sent to all users, Expensify's founder said that "anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy" and urged his customer base to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. You can read how he decided to send the email in this Protocol interview.
In the email, he equated a vote for Trump as an endorsement for voter suppression, and took issue with people who may want to abstain or vote for a third-party candidate: "I'm saying a vote for Trump, a vote for a third-party candidate, or simply not voting at all — they're all the same, and they all mean: 'I care more about my favorite issue than democracy. I believe Trump winning is more important than democracy. I am comfortable standing aside and allowing democracy to be methodically dismantled, in plain sight,'" he wrote in the email.
Barrett also said he wasn't afraid of his company taking a political stance, even at a time when some tech companies are arguing that it's better to remain neutral or apolitical. "Expensify depends on a functioning society and economy; not many expense reports get filed during a civil war," he wrote. "As CEO of this business, it's my job to plot a course through any storm — and all evidence suggests that another four (or as Trump has hinted — eight, or more?) years of Trump leadership will damage our democracy to such an extent, I'm obligated on behalf of shareholders to take any action I can to avoid it."
In a conversation with Protocol, Barrett said he and a team of volunteers were responding to customers' concerns.
Update: This post was updated at 8:30 p.m. PT with a comment from Expensify.
Biz Carson ( @bizcarson) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol, covering Silicon Valley with a focus on startups and venture capital. Previously, she reported for Forbes and was co-editor of Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. Before that, she worked for Business Insider, Gigaom, and Wired and started her career as a newspaper designer for Gannett.