Large US companies, some based in Georgia, are speaking out against the state’s recently-passed voting rights law.
Coca-Cola’s CEO, which is based in Atlanta, told CNBC the law is "unacceptable" and "a step backwards.” CEO James Quincey said the law is “wrong and needs to be remedied, and we will continue to advocate for it both in private and now even more clearly in public."
Other companies like Microsoft, American Express, Cisco, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, AFLAC, as well as several civil rights groups, have released statements expressing similar concerns that while they support fair and secure elections, they oppose efforts to restrict access.
In response, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, told CNBC on March 31, “I would encourage these CEOs to look at other states that they’re doing business in and compare what the real facts are to Georgia."
Delta Airlines, also based in Atlanta, said in a memo to staff it is “evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong."
In response directly to Delta’s statement, Kemp said the airline’s comments “ignores the content of the new law, and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists," according to NBC News.
After the MLB decided to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, more companies came out with statements supporting voting rights the week of April 5, including United Airlines and SAG-AFTRA.
United's statement does not mention Georgia specifically.
"Some have questioned the integrity of the nation's election systems and are using it to justify stricter voting procedures, even though numerous studies have found zero credible evidence of widespread fraud in U.S. elections," the statement reads.
Georgia’s new law about elections makes changes to how people can vote and who oversees the statewide process. A few of the changes include:
- The Georgia secretary of state is no longer the chair of the state elections board, instead the chair of the board is appointed by the state legislature.
- The state elections board now has the ability to suspend local county elections officials and replace them if the board feels they have been doing their job poorly.
- Absentee ballots will be sent to voters only 29 days before an election, down from the previous 49 days.
- Absentee ballots can only be requested 78 days before an election, down from 180 days.
- Applications for absentee ballots must be received no later than 11 days before an election, the previous was four days before the election.
- Those using absentee ballots must provide their driver’s license number, state ID number, or last four digits of their Social Security number to confirm their identity. The new law does away with the state’s signature matching system.
- It will now be guaranteed that at least one absentee ballot dropbox will be in each Georgia county, however there are now limits on how many each county can have and how many hours and days they can be open. Dropboxes were authorized by a special rule for during the pandemic.
- Two Saturdays of early voting are mandatory, open at least 10 hours each day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Being open for two Sundays is optional.
- A person, who is not a poll worker, can now face a misdemeanor if they give “money and gifts” which includes food and drink, to any voter within a polling place, within 150 feet of a building with a polling place, or within 25 feet of a voter standing in line to vote.