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Corporations called to help stop Republican-backed ballot reforms

Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines among those asked to oppose efforts to enact sweeping restrictions on voting access in Georgia

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Protesters against tougher voting restriction gather outside the Georgia State Capitol. Photo: Reuters/Dustin Chambers

Protesters against tougher voting restriction gather outside the Georgia State Capitol. Photo: Reuters/Dustin Chambers

Protesters against tougher voting restriction gather outside the Georgia State Capitol. Photo: Reuters/Dustin Chambers

Voting rights groups are calling on companies such as Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines to oppose efforts by Republican lawmakers in Georgia to enact sweeping new restrictions on voting access in the battleground state.

The organisations, including Black Voters Matter, the New Georgia Project and the Georgia NAACP, launched a campaign on social media and in local news outlets this week asking corporations to take a stand against legislation they said aims to curb turnout from Democratic-leaning black voters.

Black voters were crucial to helping elect Democrat President Joe Biden in the November election and two Democratic senators in a January run-off in Georgia, a once unthinkable scenario in the traditionally Republican southern state.

“Some of these companies have made beautiful statements for Black Lives Matter,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a group focused on increasing Black Americans’ voting access. “Yet here, in the moment where it matters most, they have been silent.”

Republicans in Georgia and across the country are using former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud to back state-level voting changes they say are needed to restore election integrity.

Republicans asked the US Supreme Court this week to uphold voting restrictions in Arizona in a case that could further hobble the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

They also opposed an election reform bill passed on Wednesday by the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives.

The For the People Act, the most comprehensive voting bill since the 1965 act, faces long odds in the Senate, with Republicans saying it fails to do enough to combat fraud.

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In Georgia, likely one of the biggest battlegrounds in the 2022 elections with a US Senate seat and the governor’s office on the ballot, Republican state lawmakers sponsoring the voting measures maintain they are meant to safeguard elections.

A bill passed by the Republican-controlled Georgia House last Monday would restrict
ballot drop boxes, tighten absentee voting requirements and limit early voting on Sundays, curtailing traditional ‘Souls to the Polls’ voter turnout programs in black churches.


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