Tim Cook joins chorus in denouncing Georgia’s voting law
Apple chief executive Tim Cook joined the chorus of business leaders who have come out in support of voting rights in light of voting restrictions Georgia’s governor signed into law last week.
“The right to vote is fundamental in a democracy. American history is the story of expanding the right to vote to all citizens, and Black people, in particular, have had to march, struggle and even give their lives for more than a century to defend that right,” Cook said in a statement to Axios.
“Apple believes that, thanks in part to the power of technology, it ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote. We support efforts to ensure that our democracy’s future is more hopeful and inclusive than its past.”
Cook’s statement is just the latest from companies who, after calls from voting rights activists, are starting to speak out against a law that restricts voting access in Georgia that was passed last week.
The law includes a requirement for voters to provide identification when they request and return absentee ballots and limits the availability of absentee drop boxes, reduces the length of runoff election and gives Republicans in the state legislature more influence over election boards in the state.
Many of the state’s largest companies were mostly mute as the law was going through the state legislature, but business leaders eventually bowed to pressure to speak out against the law once the Georgia governor, Brian Kemp, signed it into law last week.
Delta Airlines, which is headquartered in Atlanta, released a forceful statement on Wednesday that said the law was “unacceptable”.
“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 evidence 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,” said the Delta CEO, Ed Bastian, in a statement.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, which is also headquartered in Atlanta, echoed Bastian’s statement, saying the law “is a step backwards” and “needs to be remedied”.
Besides Apple, other major US companies based outside of Georgia have spoken out against the voting restrictions, including American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Microsoft.
Voting rights activists welcomed the statements but expressed frustration that corporations are speaking out only after the law was passed. Kemp has already dismissed the statements, encouraging the businesses to “look at other states that they’re doing business in and compare what the real fasts are to Georgia”.
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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday backed off his stern warning that major companies such as Major League Baseball, Delta and Coca-Cola should stay out of high-profile political fights after they criticized Georgia’s new election law.
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