Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp dismissed the corporate backlash over the voting restriction bill he signed last week.
Last week, Kemp signed a voting restriction bill into law that limits drop boxes, adds identification requirements to absentee voting, and makes it illegal to give food and water to voters waiting in line to vote.
While the bill was met with praise by Republicans, many of whom still believe former President Donald Trump’s debunked stolen election claims, Black Americans see the bill as voter suppression not seen at this level since the Jim Crow era.
Kemp dismissed the claims on CNBC’s Closing Bell Wednesday saying “If they want to have a debate about the merits and facts of the bill, then we should do that.”
More than 70 Black executives have signed a letter urging corporate America to stand against voter suppression and the MLB is considering moving its All-Star Game out of the state, a move President Joe Biden endorses.
Those who signed the letter include Black executives from Merck & Co., American Express, TIAA, Vista Equity Partners, and others. Voting rights advocates have also targeted Aflac, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, Southern Co., and UPS with demonstrations, phone banks, and campaigns.
A Delta internal memo showing praise for the bill was leaked, which led to calls to boycott the airline. Delta CEO Ed Bastian reversed course Wednesday, calling the bill “unacceptable” and “based on a lie.
Kemp responded to Bastian Wednesday in a statement.
“Today’s statement by Delta CEO Ed Bastian stands in stark contrast to our conversations with the company, ignores the content of the new law and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists,” Kemp said.
Voting rights candidate and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams wrote an Op-Ed in USA Today asking Georgia residents not to boycott the state. Instead, Abrams wants residents to stay, fight, and demand companies speak out against the bill.
“Boycotts are complicated affairs that require a long-term commitment to action,” Abrams wrote. “I have no doubt that voters of color, particularly Black voters, are willing to endure the hardships of boycotts. But I don’t think that’s necessary — yet.”