Delta CEO calls Georgia voting law ‘unacceptable’ following calls for boycott
Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday called Georgia’s controversial voting law “unacceptable” in what appears to be a reversal of the company’s previous position.
In a memo to employees that the company made public, Bastian said that Delta worked with other Atlanta-based corporations to try to remove “some of the most egregious measures” from S.B. 202, which Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed into law on Thursday.
Bastian had faced backlash after he appeared to defend the law, which among other restrictions limits the use of ballot drop boxes, requires photo ID for absentee voting and makes it a crime to provide food and water to those waiting in line to vote.
He said in a statement on Friday that it “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 apparent reversal on Wednesday comes as Delta faces boycott calls over its failure to speak out about the law.
“We had some success in eliminating the most suppressive tactics that some had proposed,” Bastian said. “However, I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”
Bastian further said, “It’s evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.”
“I know this result in Georgia has caused frustration, anger and pain for many members of our Delta family,” Bastian wrote. “I commit to you that as we move forward, Delta will continue to do everything in our power to hear and protect your voice and your rights, both in Georgia and nationwide.”
The law has already been hit with three different lawsuits in less than a week after its passage, the most recent filed on Tuesday in federal court saying the legislation features race-based discrimination.
Other companies, like Coca-Cola, were also threatened with boycotts. Kemp said on Tuesday that it was “ridiculous” to boycott companies during a pandemic over the bill.