The CEOs of both Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola — two of Georgia’s largest corporations — have denounced the state’s controversial new voting law as “unacceptable.” According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to employees on Wednesday (March 31) that the legislation is “based on a lie” of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Bastian added that the new law will make it harder for voters, particularly Black and other underrepresented voters, to exercise their constitutional rights.
“I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values,” he said.
Later in the day, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey appeared on CNBC and urged lawmakers to revise the legislation, which he called “wrong.”
“This legislation is unacceptable. It’s a step backwards and it does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity,” he said.
The statements arrived after both Georgia-based companies faced growing calls for boycotts against them if they did not object to the law. Voting rights activists criticized Delta and Coke for not openly condemning the law before it was signed.
State Republicans, including Gov. Brian Kemp, said they were surprised by Delta and Coca-Cola’s objection to the legislation.
“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 in a statement.
“I would encourage these CEOs to look at other states they’re doing business in and compare the facts to what’s happening in Georgia,” he added on CNBC. “If they want to have a debate about the merits, the facts, of the bill then we should do that.”
Firing back against Delta on Wednesday, the Republican-led Georgia House voted to end a lucrative tax break on jet fuel, which previously benefitted the company.
According to AJC, voting rights activists, companies like Microsoft and a group of over 70 Black executives across the country have spoken out against the law.
Under the wide-ranging legislation, the state will usher in new ID requirements for mail-in voters, limit access to ballot drop boxes and prohibit volunteers from handing out food and water to voters waiting in lines.