Continued backlash over Georgia’s new voting bill

Fletcher Smith, Reporter

Several groups are calling for action against Georgia’s new voting bill, as well as against the companies based in Georgia that have not strongly come out against the bill.

The Election Integrity Act, as it is formally known, was backed by both Georgia Republicans, and by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the bill on March 31. The bill, set to go into effect on July 1, was created in response to the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, in which Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden won, and in response to the Senate runoff races, where Democrats beat out Republicans for both Senate seats, giving the Democratic party a majority in the Senate. Unfounded claims that those elections were skewed by widespread voter fraud were the main force behind the bill, as it was hoped the bill would help the public regain confidence in Georgia’s voting system.

The 96-page-long bill has provisions that, among many other things, give voters less time to request absentee ballots, prohibit the distribution of food and water to voters waiting in line, creates a shorter period for runoff elections, and adds a photo-ID requirement for absentee voters. 

The new bill has faced backlash from people, organizations, and companies all across the United States. President Biden called it “a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” and Stacey Abrams, former Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, stated that “these bills are being promulgated across the country with the intended effect of blocking voters who are becoming inconvenient to the Republican Party: voters of color, young people and the poor,” in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 Additionally, the Major League Baseball All-Star game has been pulled from Atlanta in response to the bill, and over 100 companies, including Apple, Starbucks and Ford, have signed a letter in opposition to the bill.

There have also been several companies that have been criticized for not doing enough to attempt to defeat the bill or to oppose it after it was signed, such as Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, although these companies have since met with activists to discuss ways to oppose the bill.

However, the latest Georgia-based company to come under fire is Home Depot, which has yet to meet or communicate with activists and has not publicly come out against the bill, leading religious leaders representing over 1,000 churches in Georgia to call for a boycott.

“If you as corporate leaders do not believe and lack the courage to speak out against this legislation, we will not spend our money to purchase your products,” says Bishop Reginald Jackson, who oversees Georgia’s African Methodist Episcopal churches.

Georgia is not the only state creating new voter laws – Texas, Michigan and Arizona are among the many state legislatures that have heard several dozen  proposals for restrictions on absentee and mail-in voting that are likely to become law.