Companies pressure to blame Republican voting bill

Atlanta (AP) —Liberal activists are intensifying their call to the United States, a company condemning Republican efforts to strengthen state voting laws.

Is under pressure Texas, Arizona and other states, especially after Major League Baseball Friday decision to move 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta.. A Joint statement “Elections improve” when executives from about 200 companies, including HP, Microsoft, PayPal, Target, Twitter, Uber, and Under Armor, impose new barriers on state legislation that “may make voting difficult.” It won’t be done. ” Voting.

Protest comes a week later Georgia Republicans enact a review of state election law Critics argue for an attempt to curb Democratic voting.

Other companies joined the choir of critics a little later.

Delta Air Lines and The Coca-Cola Company, two of Georgia’s most famous brands, Last week, the new law was called “unacceptable.” Although they helped write it. It only offended Republicans, including Governor Brian Kemp and a few US Senators.

This battle has pushed the corporate United States to a place that is often evaded, the center of a partisan political battle. But under the threat of boycotts and bad reputation, business leaders have shown a renewed willingness to participate in the dispute on issues that are not directly related to their bottom line, even if they mean alienating Republican allies. I will.

Mark Banks, a spokesman for the NAACP, said: “When a company appears and speaks, people listen, so the company has a role to play.”

Baseball “is lying for fear of liberal activists,” Kemp said at a press conference on Saturday, and running the game means “cancelling culture.” According to Kemp, state leaders have worked in good faith with business leaders on the bill, including some of the same companies that are now “messed up with the problem.” “We shouldn’t apologize for making it easier to vote and less likely to cheat,” he added.

Civil rights groups have sought to thwart the new Georgian law passed after the Democrats turned over a once credible Republican state in an election that Donald Trump falsely claimed to be fraudulent. Some activists are calling for consumer boycotts such as Delta and Coca-Cola. They dismiss business leaders’ claims that they helped relax the bill to ease earlier, more restrictive proposals. They argue that those leaders should have tried to completely thwart the plan.

In Texas, organizations such as the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and the League of United Latin American Citizens are calling on companies in the state to oppose the Republican-backed slate of voting proposals. “Democracy is good for business,” says the campaign.

Nine organizations have placed full-page ads in the Houston Chronicle and the state’s leading newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, urging companies to oppose the plan. Texas’ proposal limits early voting time, limits Bar County from setting up drive-through votes, and allows local government officials to proactively submit postal ballot applications before voters request them. Prohibit.

Unlike Georgia-based counterparts, American Airlines and Dell Technologies did not wait for the Texas bill to pass. “To clarify the position of Americans: we strongly oppose this bill and other bills,” the Americans said in a statement.

Arizona, which Biden turned over from Trump in November, has yet to see a well-known corporate player involved. However, more than 30 groups have sent joint letters to Allstate Insurance, CVS Health, Farmers’ Insurance and others, urging public opposition to the proposed voting restrictions. Emily Kirkland, secretary-general of Progress Arizona, a progressive group that signed the letter, said there was no response yet.

Other groups are demanding that businesses focus on Washington. Democrats in Congress are pushing for steps aimed at making it easier for Americans to vote, Regardless of state law. In the change, the Democratic Party will establish automatic voter registration nationwide and standardize access to early voting and mail voting.

The Democratic Party also wants to revive part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, requiring the federal government to approve all election procedures in states and regions with a history of discrimination. In 2013, the Supreme Court revoked these provisions that applied to other states, especially Georgia and Arizona.

The corporate giant was almost quiet when Trump falsely claimed to have lost because of fraud. Business leaders largely kept their attention as Republican state legislators used Trump’s lies to justify the flood of new bills and make voting more cumbersome.

The silence was in stark contrast to how the Chamber of Commerce reacted when the Republican-run state promoted “freedom of religion” measures six years ago. Indiana, under the gob at the time. Future vice president Mike Pence soon saw a corporate backlash. After North Carolina passed a “bathroom bill” that limits LGBTQ rights in 2016, PayPal terminated its expansion plans there. NBA ran an all-star game From Charlotte. 2017 AP analysis The reaction was found to result in a business loss of at least $ 3.76 billion in North Carolina.

Later, Georgia’s corporate lobbying group, with the support of Delta and Coca-Cola, missed such an opportunity and strongly opposed Georgia’s conservative “freedom of religion” bill.The legislator passed it anyway, but Kemp’s predecessor Republican Nathan Deal vetoed in protest by Chamber of Commerce..

Today, Delta’s and Coca-Cola’s response to Georgia’s voting battle stands as a warning story for other companies.

The airline’s chief executive officer, Ed Bastian, initially issued a statement mentioning the role of the business lobby in changing the bill as it passes the General Assembly. Officials at the Atlanta Metro Chamber of Commerce, where Bastian is currently president, elaborated on how corporate lobbyists spent weeks relaxing regulations in the Capitol.

Some Georgia Republicans wanted to withdraw the state’s absentee ballot law, end automatic voter registration, and ban Sunday’s early voting, which is often used by black churches. They also wanted to ban “dropboxes” as a receiver for ballot collection, while requesting a copy of the state ID to receive and submit absentee ballots.

The final law maintained absentee ballots and auto-registration without excuses. The new absentee ballot ID requirement allowed voters to write their state ID number instead of making a copy, and Congress included funding a free state ID. The law also codifies weekend early voting, but counties can choose whether to vote up to two Sundays. And it made the ballot dropbox a permanent piece of Georgia equipment, but the number was limited.

According to Democratic Senator Jen Jordan, the philosophy of business leaders was that “basically, Republicans pass something, so they may try to avoid terrible things.”

But by Wednesday, 72 black business owners had issued a letter urging corporate leaders to speak at the New York Times, Bastian was more direct. He didn’t mention Trump, but sent a company-wide note declaring the law “unacceptable” and “based on lies.”

According to Jordan, the mistake of a large company is “I thought there would never be a version that never ends like this.”


Dallas Associated Press Writer David Koenig; Acacia Coronado and Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas. Jonathan J. Cooper of Phoenix contributed to this report.

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