Senator Raphael Warnock on Sunday declined to oppose calls by Black Lives Matter activists and supporters to boycott Georgia-based corporations for not taking a position against the state’s new voting law.
The Democratic senator was asked about calls by local activists to boycott Atlanta-based firms like the Coca-Cola Company, Home Depot, UPS, Arbys, and Delta Airlines.
When asked if he thought boycotts ‘should be on the table,’ Warnock told CNN on Sunday: ‘I think we all have to use our voices...I've seen these corporations falling over themselves every year around the time of the [Martin Luther] King holiday, celebrating Dr. King and yes, I think that the way to celebrate Dr. King is to stand up for what he represented, voting rights.
‘We will see how all of that plays out, but I'm focused on what we can do in the United States Senate.’
Senator Raphael Warnock (seen right appearing on CNN alongside journalist Dana Bash on Sunday) on Sunday declined to oppose calls by Black Lives Matter activists and supporters to boycott Georgia-based corporations for not taking a position against the state’s new voting law
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp drew protests on Thursday as he signed into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.
Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.
It is one of a wave of GOP-backed election bills introduced in states around the country after former President Donald Trump stoked false claims that fraud led to his 2020 election defeat.
A group of demonstrators hold a rally outside of Atlanta City Hall on Saturday in support of Georgia State Representative Park Cannon, who was arrested on March 25. Cannon was arrested while knocking on the door of Governor Brian Kemp's office as he signed a sweeping voting rights bill into law
The demonstrators are seen above in front of Atlanta City Hall on Saturday
Coca-Cola, Delta, and Home Depot told Bloomberg that they lobbied Georgia lawmakers to remove some of the more extreme measures called for in the legislation.
Home Depot released a statement on Friday saying that the company ‘supports candidates on both sides of the aisle who champion pro-business, pro-retail positions that create jobs and economic growth.’
‘We believe that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation,’ Home Depot spokesperson Sara Gorman said.
‘We’ll continue to work to ensure our associates, both in Georgia and across the country, have the information and resources to vote.’
Coca-Cola said that while the bill was being debated, the company was ‘active with the Metro Atlanta Chamber in expressing our concerns and advocating for positive change in voting legislation.
‘We, along with our business coalition partners, sought improvements that would enhance accessibility, maximize voter participation, maintain election integrity and serve all Georgians.’
Delta also said that it lobbied both Democratic and Republican lawmakers about the need to ensure free and fair elections that guarantee access to anyone who wants to vote.
‘The legislation signed this week improved considerably during the legislative process, and expands weekend voting, codifies Sunday voting and protects a voter’s ability to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason,’ the company said in a statement.
The Masters is next month in Augusta Major League Baseball's All-Star Game is scheduled to be held this July in Atlanta. American League All-Star Jose Berrios of the Minnesota Twins, is pictured
Tiger Woods is pictured with the Masters Trophy during the Green Jacket Ceremony in Augusta, Georgia in April 2019. There are now calls for the competition to be moved or for players to boycott
President Joe Biden called the GOP efforts to overhaul elections ‘un-American’ and ‘sick’ during a news conference on Thursday.
And a group of voter mobilization groups filed a lawsuit late Thursday in federal court in Atlanta challenging the new law.
The Republican changes to voting law in Georgia follows record-breaking turnout that led to Democratic victories in the presidential contest and two US Senate runoffs in the once reliably red state.
‘After the November election last year, I knew, like so many of you, that significant reforms to our state elections were needed,’ said Kemp, who drew Trump’s ire after certifying Biden’s victory in Georgia.
Kemp signed the bill less than two hours after it cleared the Georgia General Assembly.
The state House approved it 100-75, before the state Senate quickly agreed to House changes, 34-20.
Republicans supported it, with Democrats opposed.
The newly enacted law triggered calls to move major sporting events including The Masters golf tournament and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
American sports commentator Keith Olbermann tweeted that baseball must lead the #Boycott Georgia movement
The Masters, one of golf’s major tournaments, is scheduled to take place in Augusta, Georgia on August 8.
The MLB All-Star Game is set to take place at Truist Park in Atlanta on July 13.
The participants of the annual All-Star Game which was scheduled to be played in Atlanta in July are said to be open to discussing a change in venues, according to The Boston Globe.
'Players are very much aware of the Georgia voting bill, which places restrictions on voting that some believe will make it particularly difficult for black voters to reach the polls,' said Tony Clark to the Globe.
'As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue. If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.'
An op-ed written in the Los Angeles Times also made calls for the All-Star game to be moved by MLB.
Civil Rights groups including The National Black Justice Coalition have argued that golfers should refuse to play at the Masters, held annually at Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia, unless the law is repealed.
The Georgia mayor of Savannah, Van Johnson, said he would not be buying Coke products until the problem was resolved
The mayor of Savannah has said he will boycott Atlanta, Georgia-based company Coca-Cola
'The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country – and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia's new racist voter suppression law – but to also take action,' the statement read.
The Georgia mayor of Savannah, Van Johnson, said he would not be buying Coca-Cola products until the problem was resolved.
The director of films including Walk The Line, Ford v Ferrari and Logan, director James Mangold tweeted on Thursday, 'I will not direct a film in Georgia.'
He later clarified his comments telling The Wrap, 'Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote. I don't want to play there. I am not telling anyone else what to do. I just can't work there till this changes.'
'Georgia has been using cash to steal movie jobs from other states that allow people to vote. I don't want to play there,' Mangold said.
'I am not telling anyone else what to do. I just can't work there till this changes.'
The director of films including Ford v Ferrari, Walk The Line, Logan, director James Mangold tweeted on Thursday, 'I will not direct a film in Georgia.'
The director said that he will hold off making any forthcoming films in the state of Georgia
Scott Dworkin, the Co-Founder and Lead Investigator of the Democratic Coalition has also added his support for a Georgia boycott
The new law which was signed on Thursday by Republican Governor Brian Kemp makes sweeping changes to Georgia election law, including certain provisions that will require driver's licenses or state ID.
There are also new restrictions on ballot drop boxes and even a rule that it would make it illegal to give people waiting in line to vote food or beverages in a practice described as 'line warming.'
The daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernice King, has said a boycott of Georgia companies would not have the right impact adding those on lower-income will be hurt the most.
'That would hurt middle class workers and people grappling with poverty,' tweeted King. 'It would increase the harm of both racism and classism.'
The new bill also sees the introduction of a number of new voting restrictions.
Among them, there will be new voter requirements to identify absentee ballots, state officials will have the ability to take over local election boards, and ballot drop box usage will be limited.
The law replaces the elected secretary of state as the chair of the state election board with a new appointee of the legislature after Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rebuffed Trump's attempts to overturn Georgia's election results.
Activists are also calling for people to boycott Atlanta-based companies such as Delta, Home Depot and Coca-Cola
The drinks maker has not specifically come out against the new voting laws just yet
The daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernice King, has said a boycott of Georgia companies would not have the right impact adding those on lower-income will be hurt the most
It also allows the board to remove and replace county election officials deemed to be underperforming.
Georgia was one of the states of the most controversy during the most recent presidential election.
Joe Biden became the first Democrat in almost 30 years to carry the presidential election in the state.
Two runoff elections that unfolded in the aftermath of Biden's win helped turn the Senate in favor of the Democrats.
Voters are pictured in a long line that stretched around Atlanta's Metropolitan Library last year
Many of Donald Trump's claims of election fraud focused in on Georgia and Trump demanded Kemp overturn the results of the election in the state, which Kemp refused.
Despite Trump's fraud claims being unsubstantiated, however, Republicans have focused on changing election laws across the country.
As of February, 43 states had bills introduced that would curb voting laws across the country.