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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio lashed out Thursday at Delta and Coca-Cola for daring — finally — to speak out against the restrictive Georgia law that makes it harder for people to vote. In a Twitter video, he criticized the two high-profile Georgia companies for ties to China and tried to get a “woke corporate hypocrites” hashtag trending.
But he’s just trying to distract you. This isn’t about the corporations. It’s about a terrible law, a blatant attempt by Republicans trying to control the voting process in Georgia. They stoop so low in the law that they even prohibit giving water to voters waiting in line.
Corporate America has started coming out against all of that. And it’s not just Coke and Delta. Major League Baseball announced Friday it will move the 2021 All-Star game out of Atlanta in response to the law. And on Friday, corporate executives from more than 170 companies issued a statement pushing to protect voting access across the country, noting: “There are hundreds of bills threatening to make voting more difficult in dozens of states nationwide.”
The law approved by the Georgia Legislature last week is a Republican power grab in a state that voted blue in the presidential and Senate elections, the first such Democratic victories there in a generation. Rubio’s video is part of a Republican attempt to punish companies that stand up, even belatedly, against the law..
The law gives voters less time to request absentee ballots, makes it illegal for elections officials to mail out absentee ballots to every registered voter, as some did during the pandemic and drastically cuts down on the number of ballot drop boxes in Atlanta’s core — with its concentration of Black voters — among the many, many provisions in a 98-page bill. The bill is based on the false premise that Georgia’s election was tainted by fraud, something Delta CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo to his employees.
And Florida has started down the same path. Even though the state had a smooth election and former President Donald Trump carried it, Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee are trying to prohibit ballot drop boxes in Senate Bill 90 and force voters to reapply for mail ballots at every election cycle, instead of every two cycles. All of that amounts to another partisan attack on voting in Florida.
Rubio, like Trump before him, is trying to stoke up anger against “wokeness” and corporations and China. He’s trying to play the culture-war card as a way to misdirect and deflect. Don’t let him succeed. Rubio — who is up for reelection next year — and his like-minded colleagues in Florida need to be told that voters will not be discouraged. We will remember this in November 2022.