- Gavin Hamrick
Corporate America and Georgia’s New Voting Law
On March 31, Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, signed into law a new bill regarding the process for voting in the state. The changes in the regulations for voting came about following Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden and the defeat of both incumbent Republican senators in Georgia during the 2020 election. The new law brings about several changes to absentee voting, such as requiring voters to provide some form of identification when submitting an application for an absentee ballot.
While proponents of the law see it as a necessary measure to protect the integrity of the election process, critics claim that it unfairly restricts access to voting. Indeed, there was enough backlash to stop Major League Baseball from hosting this year’s all-star game in Atlanta. Other large corporations such as Delta and Coca-Cola have also come out publicly against the law. In response, many conservative proponents of the law have called for the boycott of these corporations.
The political divide in our nation has increasingly crossed over into the business field. Companies face constant pressure to take sides on political issues. Many go as far as to call for intentionally harming the economies of states in which there are laws that do not abide by certain liberal orthodoxies. Many will remember the infamous North Carolina “bathroom bill” that passed in 2016. In a similar manner as the MLB this year, the NCAA boycotted the state of North Carolina as a result of the bill and other companies such as PayPal canceled their plans for investment in the state. In 2015, Indiana came under similar threats of boycott after Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Even when it comes to small-scale business, such as was the case when Trump’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was refused service at the Red Hen, it seems as though business is entirely entangled with politics.
This entanglement brings forth several ethical and civic concerns for our republic. Should corporations have the power to essentially punish states for carrying out the will of their constituencies? Many on the left are quick to oppose the corporate lobbying of the gas and oil industry on the grounds that such disproportionate influence is undemocratic. While they very well may be correct in their assertions, one would be hard-pressed to find a similar sense of outrage from the left directed at the corporations who are effectively attempting to subvert the will of the people in several states across the nation. Whether it is Indiana, North Carolina or Georgia, the issue of corporate power continuously threatens our democracy.