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Georgia Republicans retaliate against Delta for slamming voter suppression law

Republicans are mad the company called the state’s new voter suppression law ‘unacceptable.’

By Emily Singer - April 01, 2021
Georgia Speaker of the House Rep. David Ralston

Republicans in the Georgia state House tried to punish Delta Air Lines for speaking out against the state’s new voter suppression law, voting to repeal a lucrative tax break on jet fuel the company benefits from, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes,” Republican House Speaker David Ralston said.

Had it been successful, Georgia Republicans would have repealed a $35 million tax break for the company, which is the largest private employer in the state, out of anger that Delta’s CEO called the new voter suppression law “unacceptable” and based on a “lie” that voter fraud occurred in the 2020 election.

However, the repeal of the tax break didn’t pass, as the state Senate adjourned at the end of the legislative session without voting on the measure — effectively killing it.

“It is purely retaliation for the business community speaking out on a bill everyone feels is Jim Crow 2.0,” Democratic state Rep. David Wilkerson told Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein.

Georgia Republicans were furious on Wednesday after the CEOs of Delta and Coca-Cola, which is also headquartered in Atlanta, spoke out against the state’s voter suppression law.

The new law requires ID to vote absentee, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, and gives Republicans the ability to take over county election boards if they feel they are not performing well enough.

It has voting rights activists worried, as Donald Trump and his GOP allies made baseless allegations of voter fraud in major Democratic counties like Fulton — which includes the city of Atlanta and helped President Joe Biden and Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win the state.

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp has also expressed anger that major companies in the state are speaking out against the law, issuing a statement on Wednesday that lied about what the law does in an effort to defend himself and his party.

It’s unclear whether pressure from major companies like Delta and Coca-Cola will force Republicans to amend the law.

But it’s also possible that more companies and major organizations will pute pressure on the state to repeal the voter suppression measures.

The Major League Baseball Player’s Association is discussing whether to force the league to move its planned 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta, a move President Joe Biden endorsed on Wednesday.

“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly,” Biden said in an interview with ESPN. “I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They’re leaders.”

In the meantime, civil rights and voting rights groups are suing Georgia over the law, alleging that it violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Voting Rights Act.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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