Microsoft voices concern over new Georgia law’s impact on voting as it plans major growth in state

The Atlanta skyline. (Flickr Picture by way of Georgia National Guard)

A month in the past, Microsoft was excited to introduced its plans to develop its presence in Georgia and ultimately flip Atlanta into one of many firm’s largest hubs within the U.S. On Wednesday, Microsoft President Brad Smith was voicing concern about the way forward for truthful elections and voting rights within the state.

In a blog post, Smith stated Georgia’s new Republican-backed “Election Integrity Act,” signed into regulation final week by Gov. Brian Kemp, “has necessary provisions that unfairly prohibit the rights of individuals to vote legally, securely, and safely.”

Microsoft, in response to Smith, is anxious by the regulation’s affect on communities of shade, on each voter, and Microsoft staff and their households. He identified points of the regulation that had been most troubling, together with restrictions on voting drop containers, restrictions on absentee ballots and restrictions on provisional ballots.

Right here’s what Smith needed to say about drop containers particularly:

Georgia’s new regulation 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). Which means that Fulton County, the place most of Microsoft’s staff dwell, doubtless will see an 80 % discount in drop containers, from 40 throughout the 2020 election to solely about eight transferring ahead.

From our perspective, there is no such thing as a rational foundation for the Georgia legislature to authorize safe drop containers however restrict their use so severely. Microsoft is headquartered close to Seattle in a county and state the place safe drop containers are nearly as handy as a postal service mailbox. We all know first-hand that they make voting extra handy and safer. A sound method to voting rights ought to encourage moderately than prohibit them.

Microsoft’s transfer put it forward of different giant firms who had failed to precise vocal sufficient opposition to the regulation and confronted rising public cries for boycotts. These calls on social media could have lastly pushed Coca-Cola and Delta Air Strains, two of Georgia’s greatest firms, to difficulty sharply worded statements on Wednesday calling the law “unacceptable.”

“We hope that firms will come collectively and clarify that a wholesome enterprise requires a wholesome neighborhood. And a wholesome neighborhood requires that everybody have the best to vote conveniently, safely, and securely,” Smith wrote.