Delta Airlines has finally backtracked on its support of Georgia’s restrictive voting law amid both public and internal pressures.
“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.” Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, wrote in a company memo.
“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. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.”
The memo is a complete u-turn from the company’s stance just a fortnight ago, where they endorsed the Republican’s controversial bill.
SB 202 requires new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, permits state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it illegal for voters to receive food and water while waiting in line to vote.
A Delta spokesperson told the Guardian that “ensuring an election system that promotes broad voter participation, equal access to the polls, and fair, secure elections processes are critical to voter confidence and creates an environment that ensures everyone’s vote is counted.”
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey also stepped forward to denounce Gov. Brian Kemp’s signing of the bill.
“Let me be crystal clear and unequivocal. This legislation is unacceptable. It is a step backward and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity.” Quincey told CNBC. He added the new law “needs to be remedied.”
Their change of heart comes after Black business leaders called on corporate America to speak out against the new bill. The campaign, led by former American Express chief executive Kenneth Chenault and Kenneth Frazier, the head of the pharmaceutical company Merck, insisted that the legislation is designed to make it harder for the Black community to vote.
The group took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Wednesday.
Originally posted 2021-04-01 15:00:00.