Washington, D.C. – Today, Business Forward Foundation issued a new report, Georgia Employers Defend Democracy and the Freedom to Vote. Georgia state legislators introduced nearly 30 bills this session that were designed to make voting more difficult. Most notably, they enacted Senate Bill 202, an anti-voter bill with wide-ranging implications across absentee voting, voter ID requirements, early voting, election authority, and more. This report looks at what the state’s top employers said in response.
“Georgia enjoys the lowest cost of doing business and the most favorable regulatory economy in the country,” said Liz Fairchild, Executive Director of Business Forward. “Its population growth and GDP also rank among America’s best, but recent efforts to suppress voting threaten to divide Georgia’s communities, which discourages new investment and jobs,” she added, “Defending democracy not only protects Georgians’ right to vote, but also the quality of Georgia’s infrastructure, schools, and workforce.”
Microsoft, for example, recently announced a $75 million expansion in Atlanta, which would add more than 1,500 high-tech jobs to the Georgia economy. Shortly after the announcement, Microsoft President Brad Smith spoke out in firm opposition to the laws limiting voting rights: “Governor Kemp’s decision to sign legislation limiting voting rights is a blow to small business owners and all Georgians who should have a voice in selecting the lawmakers who make the policies that impact their livelihoods… Entrepreneurs agree: our democracy is strongest when all Georgians have fair access to voting.”
“Business leaders like Brad Smith know that the success of Georgia’s economy depends on the strength of its community — and divisive election laws that undermine Georgians’ access to the ballot weaken business and community ties,” Fairchild explained, “Business leaders across Georgia are joining in opposition because they recognize that protecting special interests silences voters and puts Georgia’s remarkable record of attracting new investment and jobs at risk.”
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The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.