Georgia GOP Eyes Removal of Coca-Cola Products From State Offices After CEO Chastises Election Reform

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A general view of the Coca-Cola Roxy in The Battery Atlanta connected to Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, on March 26, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia lawmakers have moved to remove Coke products from state offices after CEO James Quincey went on record criticising Georgia’s election reform legislation

Georgia’s Republican legislators have made the call to remove Coca-Cola’s products from state offices after the beverage company’s CEO publicly criticized election reform laws.

According to a CNBC report, Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO James Quincey blasted Georgia’s election reform laws in a statement issued on April 1, “Let me be crystal clear and unequivocal, this legislation is unacceptable. This legislation is wrong, and needs to be remedied, and we will continue to advocate for it both in private and in now even more clearly in public.”

Quincey said the reforms do not “promote principles we have stood for in Georgia, around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity.”

“We want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation. Throughout Georgia’s legislative session we provided feedback to members of both legislative chambers and political parties, opposing measures in the bills that would diminish or deter access to voting,” added Coke’s CEO.

Cancel culture ‘out of control’

After the comments, eight Republicans in the state legislature sent a letter to Coca-Cola care of Kevin Perry, President of the Georgia Beverage Association, seeking the removal of Coke’s products from state offices, “Upon the passage of the ‘Election Integrity Act of 2021,’ your company has made the conscious decision to perpetuate a national dialogue which seeks to intentionally mislead the citizens of Georgia and deepen a divide in our great State,” read the letter. 

“We have the responsibility to all of Georgia to not engage in those misguided intentions nor continue to support corporations who choose to.” 

In the letter, lawmakers explained their position that the new bill was a positive, rather than a negative for voters, saying the changes, “Expands early voting opportunities, provides a pathway to ensure shorter voting lines, secures the use of drop boxes which otherwise would be illegal, as well as several other provisions allowing all Georgians greater access to fast, secure, and transparent elections.”

“Given Coke’s decision to cave to pressure from an out of control cancel culture, we respectfully request all Coca-Cola Company products be removed from our office suite immediately,” they said.

Among the signatories of the letter were Republican State House Republicans Victor Anderson, Clint Crowe, Matt Barton, Jason Ridley, Lauren McDonald III, Stan Gunter, Dewayne Hill, and Marcus Wiedower.

“Should Coke choose to read the bill, share its true intentions and accept their role in the dissemination of mistruths, we would welcome a conversation to rebuild a working relationship,” they said.

Coca-Cola. Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, speaks during a virtual Memorial Day ceremony at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia on May 21, 2020. Kemp said he isn’t afraid of “Stacy Abrams and Joe Biden and the left” after Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey derided his state’s election reform laws.
Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, speaks during a virtual Memorial Day ceremony at Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia on May 21, 2020. Kemp said he isn’t afraid of “Stacy Abrams and Joe Biden and the left” after Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey derided his state’s election reform laws. (Image: Georgia National Guard via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

In response to Quincey’s comments, Governor Brian Kemp told reporters that Coca-Cola and other corporate critics of the new voting law “may be scared of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden and the left, but I am not.”

Delta Air Lines also threw its hat into the ring, calling the new legislation “unacceptable.”

Following the airline’s comment, Republicans in the Georgia House voted to strip Delta of a tax credit worth $35 million.

Biden: ‘Let the people vote’

While signing the 95-page bill last month, Kemp praised the law as”another step to making our elections fair and secure.”

Changes in the Election Integrity Act of 2021 include:

  • Mail-in voters now must provide a driver’s license or other documentation as identification, eliminating the reliance on signature matching to verify mail-in ballots;
  • A reduction in the number of ballot drop boxes permitted in Georgia;
  • A prohibition against teams distributing snacks or water to people standing in voter lineups; and
  • Replacing the elected secretary of state on the State Election Board with a chairperson appointed by the Legislature.

President Joe Biden derided Georgia’s election reform, calling it, “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” he said, adding “it must end.” 

“I will take my case to the American people — including Republicans who joined the broadest coalition of voters ever in this past election to put country before party.”

“If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide. Let the people vote” Biden said.

Major League Baseball joined the cancellation movement as it announced it was moving its 2021 All-Star Game and Draft out of Atlanta in protest to the new Act.

In addition to Coca-Cola, MLB, and Delta, JPMorgan Chase, ViacomCBS, Citigroup, Cisco, UPS, Merck, and Microsoft also spoke publicly against Georgia’s election changes.

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