Hours after Delta CEO Ed Bastian forcefully spoke out about the Georgia law on Wednesday morning, Microsoft joined in by condemning the restrictive legislation after the company’s president, Brad Smith, voiced concerns prior to its passage.
Microsoft announced last month that it plans to expand its presence in Georgia, which will create one of the company’s largest hubs in the country in the coming decade, after its established offices in the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Smith said that Microsoft is concerned about the law’s impact on communities of color, every voter as well as its employees and their families.
Smith nodded to the dozens of Black corporate executives who have taken a firm stance against the new Georgia voting law, saying that Microsoft shares their views and that the company’s opposition to the law’s “harmful provisions” is “not only right but essential” for the business community.
Smith went on to outline some of his concerns about the restrictive voting legislations that the company believes works to hamper voter access.
Smith said that there is no basis for the Georgia legislature to authorize secure drop boxes while imposing severe limits on them, such as designating one per 100,000 registered voters. The Microsoft president cited that most of Microsoft’s employees based in Atlanta live in Fulton County, where drop boxes will likely be reduced by 80% compared to 40% during the 2020 election.
“Microsoft is headquartered near Seattle in a county and state where secure drop boxes are almost as convenient as a postal service mailbox,” Smith said. “We know first-hand that they make voting more convenient and more secure. A sound approach to voting rights should encourage rather than restrict them.”
Smith also criticized the law’s “unnecessary restrictions” on absentee and provisional ballots.
After offering the caveat that one recent criticism of the legislation has “proven inaccurate,” Smith emphasized that it is “clear” to the company that the new law contains provision that “needlessly and unfairly” pose more hurdles for voters.
“We hope that companies will come together and make clear that a healthy business requires a healthy community. And a healthy community requires that everyone have the right to vote conveniently, safely, and securely,” Smith said. “This new law falls short of the mark, and we should work together to press the Georgia legislature to change it.”