What's on Our Mind 4-2-2021
What's On Our Mind
Georgia has just passed an egregious voter suppression bill that's sole purpose is to prevent Black Georgians from voting.
Black voters turned out in large numbers and helped hand Joe Biden the White House, while also giving Georgia two new Democratic Senators. In Georgia, Biden’s winning numbers came from the four largest counties -- all in the Atlanta metro area with large Black populations.
The GOP understands that their success in elections depends on democratic voters staying home. The fewer people who can vote, the better for them. They particularly want Black voters to stay home.
Included in the bill is a voter ID provision, even for absentee voting. A greater share of Black Georgians cast their ballots remotely than White Georgians. There are as many as 200,000 Georgians that lack a driver's license or state identification card. Black voters are less likely than other voters to have the identification now required. Kicking them off the voter rolls would help the GOP.
The County of Fulton, GA, where roughly 45 percent of the population is African American, bought RV-sized mobile voting units to encourage early voting and reduce long lines on Election Day. The new law bans the use of the RVs.
Black voters waited in line to vote eight times longer than white voters. The GOP wants to make it so uncomfortable for them that they leave and go home. That is why, under the new law, it is illegal for anyone to hand water to voters who are waiting in line to vote.
Unfortunately, Georgia is not alone in their unjust election tactics. As of March 24, state legislators have introduced more than 360 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states, according to the Brennan Center For Justice. That’s 108 more than the 253 restrictive bills tallied as of February 19, 2021 — a 43 percent increase in little more than a month.
Georgia is home to more FORTUNE 500 companies than any another state. These companies donate to GOP candidates in Georgia. Since 2018, Delta’s PAC has given over $25,000 to Gov. Kemp and several GOP lawmakers. Other companies such as Home Depot, Walgreens, and Anheuser-Busch have given more than $50,000 combined to Kemp.
Many of these companies have made statements denouncing the bill. However, actions speak louder than words. Kemp and his allies will listen when their campaign funds start to dry up.
Perhaps no brand is more synonymous with the American way of life than Coca-Cola. It is also one of the world's most admired brands. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, this iconic company is ideally positioned to use its massive influence and power to help protect our democracy.
Companies need to hear from us, their consumers. These companies should use their leverage from the revenue they generate for the state to urge changes in the voting law. They should also stop all contributions to any candidate that stands in the way of a person’s right to vote.
Click here on ways you can get involved in fighting voter suppression in Georgia.
Corporate pressure works. In 2019, North Carolina lost $500 million in response to the anti LGBTQ Bathroom Bill the state passed. State Republicans were finally forced to repeal the bill to bring back money and jobs to the state. The same can be done in Georgia.
Protecting voting rights is a responsibility of all. That includes all businesses. We are all in this together.