NEW YORK — A boycott of Georgia-based businesses may be on hold now that some companies have come forward to denounce the state’s new restrictive voting law.
Faith leaders and civil rights advocates have been calling on Americans to not do business with major companies such as Delta Airlines, Coca Cola, and Home Depot until the law is overturned. But state leaders say the boycott would do more harm than good.
Some groups are suing to block the new law, but in the meantime activists have set their sights on boycotting the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Course after MLB moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado in response to the voting law.
Rev. Al Sharpton told PIX11’s Betty Nguyen and Dan Mannarino on Wednesday that he spoke with leaders of the planned boycott and they are pausing to make sure they are strategically ready to be effective now that some Georgia-based companies have come forward to denounce the law.
“They have to weigh where the line is on who you punish and who you don’t,” he said. “I don’t think that they’re all backing away from their insistence that these election laws be overturned, and that the corporate world has to weigh in.”
The new law, among other issues, significantly restricts the absentee ballot process. Sharpton and other critics say it would suppress voter turnout among people of color in the state.
Even more alarming, according to Sharpton, is that the law removes the election process from the secretary of state and gives oversight to county and local elections officials.
“If you remember, President Trump was recorded calling the secretary of state, saying ‘well you can find 11,000 fraudulent votes.’ Well if he was calling several of the Republican local guys running these county elections, we may have had a different result in Georgia,” Sharpton said. “To decentralize where the election is going to be conducted is a major point of contention.”
Critics say a boycott could actually hurt the very people who would be impacted by the voting law by driving away much-needed jobs, but Sharpton said the argument is the same fallacy that was promoted during the boycott against Apartheid in South Africa.
“So what you’re saying is, ‘well we don’t mind if we’re restricting their right to vote… they may need a few jobs at the All-Star Game,’” he said.
Sharpton added that “there’s no doubt” the election law was designed so that Republicans can take back control of the state following the 2020 presidential election.
“This is a desperate attempt by the Republicans — both nationally and Gov. [Brian] Kemp who has to run again next year, probably against Stacey Abrams — to try to narrow the lane that Democrats can win on,” he said. “Don’t forget 2018, when Kemp was secretary of state and ran against Stacey Abrams, they changed a lot of [voting laws] … isn’t it interesting every time they do not get the results they want they change the voting laws?”