Sen. Raphael Warnock recently refused to condemn calls to boycott Georgia-based companies that haven’t opposed the state’s new restrictive voting law.
Speaking during a Sunday interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Warnock, the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate in the state of Georgia, was asked whether boycotts “should be on the table” days after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a sweeping elections bill that includes a host of new voting restrictions.
President Joe Biden called the bill, which imposes voter identification restrictions for absentee ballots and gives state officials increased power to take over local elections boards, a “blatant attack on the Constitution” and referred to it as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
Georgia-based companies like Delta, Home Depot and Coca-Cola have faced criticism for not taking action to publicly oppose the law.
“I think we need to use out voices,” Warnock told CNN’s Dana Bash when asked whether boycotts should be used to apply pressure on corporations that haven’t spoken up against the law.
Warnock added that he has seen the same corporations “falling over themselves” each year to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, adding that the way to celebrate Dr. King is “to stand up for what he represented — voting rights.”
The senator went on to say his focus is “on what we can do in the United States Senate,” adding that he wants to ensure Georgia is “open to vote.”
Kemp said the controversial elections law, SB 202, is a step toward “ensuring our elections are secure, accessible, and fair.”
The new law limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed, makes it illegal to approach voters in line and provide them with food or water, requires an ID to vote absentee by mail and limits the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot.
When protesters gathered at the Georgia Capitol while the bill was being signed Thursday, Georgia state Rep. Park Cannon was arrested for knocking on Kemp’s office during the signing ceremony. Cannon was led away in handcuffs by Georgia state troopers and charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement, punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison. Footage of her arrest was shared widely on social media after the bill was signed.