Microsoft has some critical issues a few just lately handed election legislation in Georgia, saying it unfairly restricts the precise of individuals to vote legally, securely and safely. In a weblog put up printed on Wednesday, Microsoft President Brad Smith slammed the new law and stated the corporate is worried “by the legislation’s affect on communities of colour, on each voter, and on our staff and their households.”
Georgia’s new Election Integrity Act was signed into legislation final week by Gov. Brian Kemp. State officers say the legislation enacts safety measures for elections and expands entry to voting, whereas critics, together with the Georgia NAACP, say the legislation will disenfranchise Black and minority voters.
In February, Microsoft introduced plans to expand its footprint in Atlanta, making the town one of many firm’s largest hubs within the US. Smith on Wednesday raised issues a few handful of provisions within the legislation that place restrictions on voting drop packing containers, absentee ballots and provisional ballots.
“Georgia’s new legislation requires that each county have a safe drop field for absentee ballots (which is nice) however limits them to just one per 100,000 registered voters (which is horrible),” Smith wrote. “Which means that Fulton County, the place most of Microsoft’s staff stay, probably will see an 80 % discount in drop packing containers, from 40 in the course of the 2020 election to solely about eight shifting ahead.”
The secretary of state’s workplace, which organizes and oversees elections in Georgia, did not reply to CNET’s request for remark. In an announcement launched on March 26, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pushed back on criticism of the law, saying “cries of ‘voter suppression’ from these on the left ring hole.”
A number of different main US firms, together with Delta Airways and Coca-Cola, which have headquarters in Atlanta, have additionally spoken out against the new election law. On Friday, MLB stated it could move this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to a different metropolis.
Since Microsoft’s weblog put up, different tech firms have weighed in as nicely. This is what they should say.
In a statement shared with Axios, Apple CEO Tim Cook dinner stated the corporate helps efforts to make democracy’s future “extra hopeful and inclusive” than its previous.
“The precise to vote is key in a democracy. American historical past is the story of increasing the precise to vote to all residents, and Black folks, particularly, have needed to march, battle and even give their lives for greater than a century to defend that proper,” Cook dinner stated in an announcement to Axios. “Apple believes that, thanks partly to the ability of expertise, it must be simpler than ever for each eligible citizen to train their proper to vote.”
In a statement to Popular Information’s Judd Legum, Amazon stated it helps polices that defend and broaden the precise to vote. The web retail large additionally praised latest laws in Virginia, the place it is constructing a second headquarters, that goals to re-create key elements from the federal Votings Rights Act.
“It has been fifty-six years for the reason that Voting Rights Act turned legislation, but efforts to disenfranchise Black folks and different minorities proceed to today,” reads the assertion. “The power to vote is likely one of the most prized elementary rights in our American democracy, and Amazon helps insurance policies that defend and broaden these rights.”
Amazon additionally stated it opposes “efforts in different states aimed toward limiting the power of People to vote, and we name on these states to comply with Virginia’s management by increasing voter safety as an alternative.”
Twitter, which has an workplace in Atlanta, stated the efforts in Georgia are “a harmful step backwards.”
“Voting needs to be accessible to everybody who’s eligible,” Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, vice chairman of public coverage within the Americas for Twitter, stated in an emailed assertion on Thursday. “It’s important that we collectively oppose voter suppression and promote voting entry and election transparency.”
Herrera-Flanigan added that that Twitter “stays dedicated to defending voting rights, as demonstrated via our civic integrity and engagement work, which strives to make sure that folks can take part in elections with out suppression and intimidation, and with the dependable info they should interact. ”
When requested concerning the Georgia election legislation, Fb stated it helps voting that is extra quite than much less accessible however did not particularly point out the state’s new rules.
“We help making voting as accessible and broad-based as doable and oppose efforts to make it tougher for folks to vote,” stated Roy Austin, deputy basic counsel for civil rights at Fb, in an emailed assertion. “We imagine that voting is voice which is why we helped over four million folks register to vote final yr and tens of hundreds of thousands extra get entry to dependable details about easy methods to solid a poll of their state.”
In a tweet despatched Wednesday, Google Senior Vice President of International Affairs Kent Walker stated the corporate is worried about “efforts to limit voting at an area degree” and highlighted the search large’s help for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Applied sciences, tweeted his support for a Enterprise Roundtable assertion that stated “pointless restrictions on the precise to vote strike on the coronary heart of consultant authorities.”
Dell stated he agreed with the assertion, including that “free, honest, equitable entry to voting is the muse of American democracy. These rights — particularly for ladies, communities of colour — have been hard-earned. Governments ought to guarantee residents have their voices heard. HB6 does the alternative, and we’re against it.”