Georgia business group comes out against GOP effort to suppress the vote

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Voting rights advocates have been pressuring major corporations in the state to oppose Georgia Republicans' voter suppression bills.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on Friday came out against the spate of voter suppression bills GOP state legislators have introduced in Georgia, saying in a statement that the group supports making it easier to vote rather than putting up obstacles to the ballot box.

"Like many in our community, our interest in these issues began long ago and reflects our collective belief that every eligible Georgia voter — regardless of background or political views — should engage in the voting process," Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Katie Kirkpatrick wrote in a statement.

Kirkpatrick, "We will continue to use our voices to keep accessibility, convenience and security at the center of any discussions about changes to our election process."

The statement marks a victory for voting rights advocates, who have been pressuring major corporations in the state to come out against the voter suppression bills making their way through the state legislature.

A number of massive corporations are headquartered in Georgia, such as Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, and UPS.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber's membership includes the heads of some of the biggest companies in Atlanta, including the CEO of Delta Air Lines, the president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons football team, a senior vice president of Coca-Cola, and the president of Emory University, among many others.

The bills Georgia state Republican lawmakers have been trying to pass would limit who could vote absentee, require voters to submit ID to vote by mail, and eliminate some Sunday early voting days.

Voting rights advocates say these bills directly target Black voters, whose participation in the 2020 election helped President Joe Biden win the state and led the state's two Republican U.S. senators to lose reelection — amounting to a Democratic sweep of Georgia's federal races.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber's statement said it supports absentee voting, keeping drop boxes for voters to put their ballots into, and keeping weekend voting.

Voting rights advocates hope that big corporations in the state would help deter Republicans from passing the voter suppression legislation. And the effort appears to be working.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday reported that GOP lawmakers appear to be pulling back on some of their restrictive bills, with plans to drop the effort to limit who can vote by mail as well as the plan to slash the number of Sunday early voting days.

However, the AJC reported that Republicans are keeping their plan to require ID to vote by mail, are now looking to limit the number of absentee ballot drop boxes in the state, and are pushing for legislation to require voters to request absentee ballots 10 days before Election Day.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.