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‘Based on a lie:’ Delta and Coca-Cola CEOs slam new Georgia voting law after public backlash against both companies

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 3/31/2021 Dave Goldiner

The CEOs of Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola on Wednesday decried the new voting law passed by Georgia Republicans as “unacceptable” and said it was “based on a lie” that former President Donald Trump really won the 2020 election.

In his harshest denunciation of the law yet, Delta CEO Ed Bastian told employees of the Atlanta-based airline that the company does not accept the new law that critics say is designed to limit Black turnout in the battleground state.

“I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable,” Bastian said in a memo.

James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, which is also based in Georgia’s capital, echoed Bastian’s statement and called the bill “unacceptable.”

“This bill represents a step backward,” Quincey told CNBC on Wednesday.

The Atlanta business titans launched the new broadsides against the law hours after a coalition of Black business leaders called on corporate America to be more proactive in standing up for voting rights and speaking out against voter suppression measures.

a man wearing glasses and a suit and tie: Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines © PAULO NUNES DOS SANTOS Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines

Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Airlines (PAULO NUNES DOS SANTOS/)

Voting rights activists have called for boycotts of the Georgia-based companies unless they join the fight to widen access to the ballot box.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the bill into law, hit back at Bastian and suggested the company was pandering to liberals and Democratic activists.

“It ignores the content of the new law, and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists,” Kemp said.

The sprawling bill is one of dozens of voting measures put forward by Republicans in states across the country since the 2020 election.

Democrats have slammed them as a shameless effort to prevent minority voters from going to the polls. Democrats are pushing to pass a national law to end gerrymandering and require minimum standards for early and absentee voting.

Republicans have called their voting laws common sense efforts to prevent voter fraud and give GOP voters confidence in the integrity of the electoral system.

The titanic fight comes after Trump spent months complaining that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Trump is under state investigation for allegedly trying to bully Georgia election officials into overturning his state loss to President Joe Biden.

Bastian said it’s no secret that Trump’s false claims are behind the new Georgia law.

“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections,” Bastian said. “This is simply not true.”

After decades of Republican dominance, Georgia has become a key battleground state as the Deep South becomes more racially and economically diverse.

Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state in three decades and Democrats swept both U.S. Senate seats in run-off elections that handed them control of the chamber.

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