Dem activists target Ga-based corporations in bid to oppose GOP voting reforms; Coke, Home Depot first to cave

Left-wing activists are using threats of boycotts and other actions against Georgia-based corporations that donate to Republicans as state GOP lawmakers consider a raft of voting reforms in the wake of the chaotic and controversial 2020 elections.

“It’s a continuation of a dynamic that emerged after the Jan. 6 insurrection, when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in the erroneous belief that widespread fraud handed the 2020 election to President Joe Biden: facing intractable opposition from lawmakers determined to restrict voting, voting rights advocates are taking their case directly to Republican lawmakers’ allies in the business community,” The Washington Post reported Monday.

The campaign of intimidation and threats of boycotts are already having an effect, the Post noted: The Georgia Chamber of Commerce issued a statement last week saying the organization was expressing “concern and opposition” over voting rule changes being considered by the legislature.

The changes encapsulated in HB 531 and SB 241 would “end no-excuse absentee voting, limit early voting hours, restrict drop-boxes for mail ballots, and curtail early voting on Sundays,” the Post reported.

Some corporations appear to have already caved to Democrat-aligned activists’ demands: The Coca-Cola Corporation and Home Depot have issued statements saying the companies are “aligned” with the Georgia Chamber’s sentiments.

Nevertheless, Democratic activists want individual member companies to “do more,” the Post reported, adding that 30 percent of voters in Georgia are black and wield billions in terms of spending power.

“Georgia is backsliding toward a twisted electoral system built on suppressing and manipulating black votes. This is not only blatant voter suppression; it’s an act of retribution against black voting power,” said Black Voters Matter founders LaTosha Brown and Cliff Albright in a statement to the Post.

“This is not only blatant voter suppression; it’s an act of retribution against black voting power,” the statement continued.

The Post noted that representatives from Coca-Cola and Home Depot have confirmed their opposition to the Georgia bills, but other corporations headquartered in the state have thus far have only issued statements of principle that don’t endorse or reject any proposed legislation.

In an analysis, the Post claimed that 250-plus pieces of legislation that could impact tens of millions of voters have been proposed in 43 states as part of “a nationwide GOP-led effort to restrict voting.” The analysis said that collectively, the effort constitutes the “most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction.”

But Republicans dispute that characterization, arguing that their objective is to ensure that state officials cannot simply alter voting rules in violation of existing state balloting laws in future elections.

They note that bills being considered by Georgia and dozens of other GOP-dominated state legislatures seek to address complaints from constituents, lawmakers, and legal groups that Democrat-led changes made to balloting rules in the weeks and months ahead of the Nov. 3 election were illegal, caused confusion and sowed distrust. 

They point to a series of legal actions filed pre- and post-election by GOP legislatures and the 2020 Trump campaign alleging that changes were unconstitutionally made to existing voting laws by state election officials and state courts instead of legislatures.

In Georgia in particular, GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger were pressured by Democratic activist Stacey Abrams and other left-wing groups to make changes to the signature requirement on absentee ballots. “They watered it down to the point where it really doesn’t work anymore,” conservative host and constitutional expert Mark Levin explained in early January.

“The Michigan secretary of state issued seven million ballots,” Levin added. “The problem is, under Michigan law, you have to request a ballot. You need some identity requirements.”

In several battleground states, he added, “the executive and the judiciary had more impact and more input into the election laws leading up to this election than the state legislatures did.”

“They were utterly cut out. So here we have a problem. We have a constitutional crisis that nobody wants to talk about,” said Levin.

Texas sued four of those states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Georgia — based on the premise Levin described. 

The suit alleged that all of those states violated the Constitution’s elector’s clauses because each one made changes to voting procedures and rules via state courts or executive actions, not through their legislatures, as required.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, however.

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Jon Dougherty

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