Major American companies have taken a public stand against a new electoral law recently passed by the state of Georgia. This bill would make it more difficult, especially for black voters, to cast their ballots, say critics of the Republican-backed law. Coca-Cola and Microsoft, among others, is crucial.
The new rules were passed last week and then approved by the Republican governor of Georgia.
The stricter electoral law comes on the heels of the November 2020 presidential election, which Republican Donald Trump claimed to have lost to massive electoral fraud in Georgia, among others. His party members who now support the law, Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Ravensberger, are under heavy fire.
The vote now includes stricter rules of identification. The possibilities to vote by message or by proxy are also limited, to the detriment of people who cannot vote on Election Day because of their work.
According to activists, it is unlikely that African Americans and Hispanics will have the required identification documents now, and black Americans are more likely to get jobs that do not give them the flexibility to vote within the specified hours. As a result, the new law will hit these groups even harder.
The new law also prohibits people from giving water or food to voters waiting in line in front of a polling station. From now on this is considered a crime. Business groups like the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), which have filed a lawsuit against the law, see this as an attack on their efforts to motivate people to vote. They also say they shouldn’t hand out unwanted ballots to potential voters anymore.
Merck, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Delta
Top black executives of US companies, including Kenneth Frazier of the pharmaceutical company Merck, have called on the co-chief executives to condemn the law. Microsoft responded with a comprehensive statement. The software company, which recently invested heavily in the South, wrote: “ Two things are clear to us: the right to vote is the most respected aspect of democracy, and this new law unfairly restricts the right to vote legally and safely. ” status. Microsoft also expressed these concerns before the Georgian parliament approved the new law.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincy described the new rules as a step backward. “This does not advance the values that we stand for in Georgia in terms of the right to vote and election fairness,” he told CNBC business channel. “This legislation is wrong and needs to be corrected.”
Delta Airlines also described the new law as a “mistake” in a memo addressed to employees, but states that it has already prevented a number of violations by applying pressure.
The latter two companies, both of which are based in Atlanta, Georgia, have come under previous criticism for not explicitly condemning the new electoral law. Some activists even called for a boycott of Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines.
Executives at Google and Facebook have also expressed concern, although they have attacked the law less publicly. “We support making voting available and supported as widely as possible, and we oppose attempts to make it more difficult for people to vote,” said Roy Austin, a civil rights official at Facebook. Google’s vice president for global affairs, Kent Walker, wrote on Twitter that the company was concerned about “attempts to restrict votes at the local level.”