More than 131,000 Georgia residents cast their ballots on Monday, the first day of early voting in the state, marking the highest first-day total for a midterm election and an 85 percent increase compared with the last midterm election in 2018. More than 345,000 residents have applied to vote, which is a 24 percent increase compared with 2018.
Georgians achieved the historic milestone despite a new law—the Election Integrity Act of 2021—that was widely denounced by Democratic politicians and woke corporate executives as a racist attempt to suppress voter turnout. President Joe Biden called it "Jim Crow in the 21st Century," "Jim Crow on steroids," and "Jim Eagle." He compared Republican supporters of the legislation, which expanded access to early voting while rolling back some of the emergency measures implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, to George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama.
Major League Baseball moved the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in response to the law's passage in March 2021. Commissioner Rob Manfred said relocating the game was "the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport" and signal the league's opposition to "restrictions to the ballot box." Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has repeatedly claimed (without evidence) to be the rightful winner of the 2018 governor's race, played a role in pressuring the league to inflict economic punishment on her own state, which she has described as "the worst state in the country."
MLB was hardly the only corporate entity to condemn the Georgia legislature for endorsing so-called voter suppression. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian wrote in a memo to employees that the new law would "make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives." (Context: black voters comprise 38.5 percent of the state's early-voting electorate, according to Georgia Votes.)
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said the company was "disappointed in the outcome" of the Georgia legislation and vowed to support "federal legislation that protects voting access and addresses voter suppression across the country." Left-wing activists had threatened to boycott Coca-Cola, Delta, and other Georgia-based companies that didn't adequately "speak out against racism" by condemning the law. Home Depot, UPS, and the Atlanta Falcons released statements denouncing the law, as did an array of corporations headquartered outside the state.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said the financial giant opposed any "efforts that may prevent [employees] from being able to [vote]." Other corporations that issued statements condemning the Georgia law (implicitly or explicitly) include: American Express, BlackRock, Bank of America, Cisco, Citigroup, Facebook, Mercedes-Benz, Merck, Microsoft, and ViacomCBS.
Notwithstanding the outrage from corporate leaders, journalists, and other partisan Democrats, the so-called voter suppression law has repeatedly failed to curtail voter turnout in Georgia, especially among black voters. Abrams, the election-denying celebrity and candidate for governor, struggled to explain why the state has not seen a return to segregation-era levels of voter suppression. During the Georgia primary elections earlier this year, she boasted of "record turnout among communities of color, among Latino and Hispanic and black communities," despite accusing Republicans of "stealing the right to vote" from minorities.
"We know that increased turnout has nothing to do with suppression," Abrams said with a straight face.