Georgia's new voting restrictions spark major pushback from corporate America

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

ICYMI... Georgia made big changes to its voting laws — and they've received a lot of pushback. In case you didn't have time to read the 98-page law, we've highlighted a few key changes:

  • New ID requirements for absentee voters. Like: providing their driver’s license number, the last four digits of their social, or some other form of accepted ID to request ballots.
  • Shortened absentee voting: Absentee ballots can be sent out only 29 days before an election, down from 49 days.
  • Expanded weekend early voting, requiring at least two Saturdays (up from only one weekend day).
  • Guaranteed (but limited) drop boxes: Now, each county must have at least one absentee drop box. But the law limits how many boxes each county can have, how long they can be open, and where they can be located.
  • No hand-outs: The law makes it a misdemeanor to hand out “any money or gifts," including snacks and water to people standing in line to vote.

Back to the pushback... While GOP lawmakers say the law is necessary to restore confidence in Georgia's elections, Democrats say it'll restrict voting access for underrepresented voters — especially people of color. Now, dozens of execs at America's biggest companies are speaking out against the law, including: Apple, Microsoft, and American Express. Patagonia compared the laws to Jim Crow bills. And Georgia's biggest corporations are getting vocal:

  • Delta CEO Ed Bastian: “The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true.”
  • Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey: The Georgia 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."

Silence is no longer an option. Neither is inaction... Last year, we wrote that 2020 was the year when “no comment” was no longer an option for companies. While 2020 demanded a position, 2021 is demanding action. 72 Black execs have called on corporations to oppose voting restrictions — which have been proposed in dozens of other states, too. The MLB said it would move the All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest. And companies like Dell and American Airlines are already condemning a restrictive voting bill that's advancing in Texas. Companies' action against voting restrictions could set new expectations for how they respond to other key civic issues, too.