The Republican-controlled Georgia House has voted to rescind tens of millions of dollars worth of tax credits for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines after the company’s CEO ripped the state’s new voter identification law.
The law has been blasted by Democrats who have called for boycotts of Georgia and who have falsely claimed that it restricts minority voters’ access to the polls and is akin to the “Jim Crow” era.
But a number of corporate chiefs whose companies are headquartered in Georgia have also spoken out, including Delta CEO Ed Bastian, who called the law “unacceptable.”
In a statement, Bastian also claimed that the law “could make it harder for many Georgians, particularly those in our Black and Brown communities, to exercise their right to vote.”
“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections,” Bastian wrote. “This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.”
In fact, the law expands voting hours and early voting — but simply requires that most voting be done in person.
The law stems from widespread concerns over alleged voting irregularities before, during, and after the Nov. 3 election, including a viral video appearing to show a polling supervisor in Atlanta dismissing ballot counters, observers, and the media on election night while she and a handful of others remained to continue counting ballots. The video also appeared to show the remaining poll workers pull out containers of ballots hidden under covered tables and add them to the count.
“I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values,” Bastian added. “The right to vote is sacred. It is fundamental to our democracy and those rights not only need to be protected, but easily facilitated in a safe and secure manner.
“After having time to now fully understand all that is in the bill, coupled with discussions with leaders and employees in the Black community, it’s 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,” he claimed.
Other Georgia-based companies also responded to pressure from Democrat-aligned activist groups to condemn the law following threats of boycotts including Coca-Cola and Home Depot.
Though the bill passed the Georgia House, it won’t become law because the state Senate adjourned before taking it up. Still, it’s likely Republicans will revisit the legislation once they reconvene, especially if Delta’s CEO continues to criticize the voting law.
Forbes notes that Delta has 33,000 employees working in the state of Georgia alone.
Not all Democrats supported boycotting the state, including voting rights activist and failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
“[Leaving] us behind won’t save us,” Abrams noted, according to Forbes. “So I ask you to bring your business to Georgia and, if you’re already here, stay and fight.”
Tom Cotton was among those to hit back at Delta for repeating Democrat talking points about the state’s voter reform:
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) April 1, 2021
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) April 1, 2021
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