Following Georgia’s approval of new voter restrictions Thursday, a number of voices are considering a boycott of state businesses.
The Republican-spearheaded legislation, which imposes an ID requirement for mail-in voters, has been criticized by President Joe Biden as “a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.
One of the loudest voices belongs to Bishop Reginald Jackson of the AME Church’s Sixth Episcopal District, who told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he’s calling for a boycott of Coca-Cola products until the company declares strong opposition to the new law.
“We will speak with our wallets,” he said. “This past summer, Coke and other corporations said they needed to speak out against racism. But they’ve been mighty quiet about this.”
The Atlanta-based company said in a statement that it’s been in favor of greater accessibility for voters.
“Throughout the legislative session, we have been active with the Metro Atlanta Chamber in expressing our concerns and advocating for positive change in voting legislation,” it said. “We, along with our business coalition partners, sought improvements that would enhance accessibility, maximize voter participation, maintain election integrity and serve all Georgians.”
LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, has started a campaign to pressure Georgia-based businesses to oppose the voter restrictions.
Asked by MSNBC host Joy Reid Friday if a boycott was in order, Brown said, “I think all things should be considered on the table.”
Voting rights platform Democracy Docket said in a statement Friday that Aflac, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot and UPS are among the companies being pressured to speak out against the law.
Aflac said in a statement last week that it would “only support solutions that make voting easy and accessible for every eligible voter while maintaining the security and transparency of the voting process.”
Delta said Friday it “believes that full and equal access to voting is a fundamental right for all citizens.”
Home Depot and UPS did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
On Friday, Biden called the restrictions, which making it illegal to provide food or water to people waiting in line to vote, the “outrageous” return of racist Jim Crow laws.
Not everyone thinks a boycott is the answer. Bernice King, CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, said such action could hurt some of the very voters it seeks to help.
“Please stop the #BoycottGeorgia talk,” she tweeted Thursday. “That would hurt middle class workers and people grappling with poverty. And it would increase the harm of both racism and classism.”
In 2019, multiple film production companies boycotted the state over its ban on abortions in cases where a fetal heartbeat could be detected.