August 3, 2021

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For Voting Rights Advocates, a ‘Once in a Generation Moment’ Looms – The New York Times

2 min read

“People are up in arms,” said Cathy Kouts Sigmon, the group’s founder. “They’re relating these bills to how they vote and how members of their family vote.”

Voting-rights advocates in Georgia, who claim to have slowed or killed some restrictive bills, are aiming at local companies that have supported the bills’ sponsors, including Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and UPS. An advertising campaign led by voting and civil rights groups demands that the firms use their lobbying muscle in the Georgia statehouse to stop repressive voting bills instead of contributing to their Republican authors.

“They spent most of Black History Month peppering us with Martin Luther King quotes, but now that Blacks’ future is in jeopardy, they’re silent,” Nsé Ufot, the chief executive of one participant, the New Georgia Project, said last week. “We’re using digital ads, billboards, direct action at warehouses and call centers — we’re serious. This is urgent.”

One possible sign of some success: On Sunday, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, whose members include those companies, expressed “concern and opposition” to restrictive clauses in two Republican bills.

Credit…Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for Moveon

Increasingly, though, the focus is on federal legislation. Ms. Sigmon’s group is recruiting Arizonans to lobby their senators on the elections bill. So are local chapters of Indivisible, a movement founded in response to Mr. Trump’s election, in Georgia and Arizona.

And so have national advocacy groups. Common Cause runs weeknight phone banks recruiting backers for the bill, and says it has generated 700,000 text messages supporting it. “It’s been a pretty incredible outpouring of support, because we all know what this moment means,” said Izzy Bronstein, the group’s national campaigns manager.

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