Protesters gather outside the Georgia State Capitol to protest HB 531, which would tighten Georgia election restrictions in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, on March 4, 2021.
Dustin Chambers | Reuters
US corporations are facing increasing pressure and threats of boycotts to publicly oppose Republican-backed electoral laws in Georgia and other states that critics claim undermine the voting rights of black Americans.
The opposition intensified on Friday when Major League Baseball announced it Stop holding the All-Star Game in Atlanta in 2021 That summer, Commissioner Robert Manfred said the league “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions.”
GOP Georgia Governor Brian Kemp last week signed an election revision law This adds new identification requirements for postal voting and gives the state parliament better control over the conduct of the elections.
Legislation prohibits third groups from giving food or water to voters in line, and sets strict guidelines for the availability and location of ballot boxes. It also Mandates two Saturdays of early voting in the run-up to the general election. So far it only took one day.
Civil rights groups and activists put under pressure some of the largest corporations in Georgia, including Delta Airlines and Coketo defy the law. Coke and Delta didn’t speak out loudly against the legislation before it was passed, but their CEOs have since condemned the law.
It is unclear whether a backlash from the business community will change the outcome in Georgia, where the law was passed. Civil rights groups have challenged it in court and in the president Joe Biden said the US Department of Justice would review what he called an “atrocity” bill.
James Quincey, CEO of Coke, told CNBC on Wednesday the company did “always against this legislation” and called it “wrong”.
“Now that it’s over, we’re coming out more publicly,” Quincey said.
James Quincey, President and CEO of Coca-Cola Co.
The President and Chief Operating Officer of the Coca-Cola Company, James Quincey.
delta CEO Ed Bastian initially said the legislation has “improved significantly” and offers broad support for voting rights. He Course reversed Wednesday A memo to the employee states: “The final invoice is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.” Delta is Georgia’s largest employer.
Bastian also tore at Republican lawmakers’ motivation for the bill, suggesting that “the entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread electoral fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections”.
In November, Biden became the first Democrat since 1992 Georgia to win. In January’s runoff election, voters also elected two Senate Democrats, Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Former president Donald Trump and other republicans falsely claimed There was rampant electoral fraud in Georgia last year.
AT&T is based in Texas but gave money to Kemp’s campaign and sponsorship of the legislation. The company’s CEO John Stankey told CNBC in a statement:
“We understand that electoral laws are complicated, not our company’s expertise and ultimately the responsibility of elected officials. However, as a company, we have a responsibility to get involved. This is why we work with other companies through groups like the company around the table in support of efforts to improve each person’s ability to choose. “
In an interview on Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Kemp dismissed the company’s backlash on the state’s electoral legislation, saying he was “glad to deal with it”. He added, “I would encourage these CEOs to look at other states they do business in and compare the real facts to Georgia.”
Suffrage activist and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams urged critics this week not to do so Boycott Georgia’s big corporations for not speaking out against the electoral law. Instead, Abrams said companies should be able to publicly oppose the law and support federal electoral law before encountering a boycott.
“The companies that stood quietly by or gave floury answers during the debate were wrong,” Abrams said said the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “What people want to know now is where they stand on this fundamental issue of voting rights.”
Some religious leaders in Georgia have called for boycott Cola, Delta and Home Depot on April 7thaccording to the AJC. However, religious leaders have suggested avoiding the boycott if companies take other positions, such as asking lawmakers in other states to come up with legislative proposals that they say would restrict access to voting.
While Georgia’s law was being signed, Electoral laws in a number of other states In Texas, in particular, they are subjected to thorough scrutiny. When pressuring companies to speak up, Merck’s Frazier claimed Georgia was “at the forefront of a movement across the country to restrict access to voting”.
There were 361 bills in 47 states that contain provisions that would restrict access to voting rights by March 24th analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice.
The proposals in state houses in the US come as Washington Democrats try to push legislation known as the For the People Act. Proponents say this would make registration and voting easier while preventing the campaign funding rules from being tampered with and reformed. Some Republicans who speak out against the legislation say it will result in the general election being exceeded.
The US house last month passed their version of the For the People Act without a single Republican vote for it. It is The future in the Senate is uncertain as it takes at least 10 GOP votes to overcome a filibuster and move on to a final vote.
Texas powerhouses are also targeting bills that voting advocates say would make voting difficult in Texas.
Senate Bill 7 was approved by the upper house of the state parliament on Thursday. Another bill known as House Bill 6 was under consideration in the Texas House of Representatives.
American AirlinesThe Fort Worth, Texas-based company turned down Senate Bill 7 in a statement on Thursday. “To make the attitude of the Americans clear: We are strongly against this bill and others like it,” said the airline.
Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, whose technology company is based near the state capital Austin, wrote in a tweet that the company does not support House Bill 6.
“Free, fair and equitable access to elections is the foundation of American democracy. These rights – especially for women, color communities – were hard earned,” wrote Dell. “Governments should make sure that citizens hear their voices. HB6 is doing the opposite and we are against it.”