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FACTBOX-Companies speak out against Georgia voting restrictions

    April 1 (Reuters) - Facing criticism for staying largely quiet or being vague about a
new controversial voting law in Georgia, some major U.S. companies came out with strong
statements against the restrictions, which civil rights groups say unfairly target Black
and other racial minority voters.
    Companies including Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines were facing boycott
calls, while a campaign from dozens of leading Black executives pushing for corporations
to take a stand added to the growing critical chorus.
    Below are statements from various companies and their executives on the Georgia
voting law: 
    
 Company                         Statement
 Coca-Cola Co       :            CEO James Quincey called the law "unacceptable" and "a
                                 step backwards." He told CNBC the law is "wrong and it
                                 needs to be remedied." (bit.ly/31AmxK7)
 Delta Air Lines Inc        :    CEO Ed Bastian blasted the law: "The entire rationale
                                 for this bill was based on a lie: that there was
                                 widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020
                                 elections."  He said the law was "unacceptable", and did
                                 not match Delta's values. (bit.ly/2PsD3cD)
                                 
                                 It was a course reversal for Delta, which had earlier
                                 praised the law even as it acknowledged having concerns.
                                 (bit.ly/3sHTyQt)
 Citigroup Inc                   "As an American, I am appalled by the recent voter
                                 suppression laws passed in the state of Georgia," Chief
                                 Financial Officer Mark Mason said. "I see it as a
                                 disgrace that our country's efforts to keep Black
                                 Americans from engaging fully in our Constitutional
                                 right to vote continue to this day." (bit.ly/3rBWT2d)
 Apple Inc                       "Apple believes that, thanks in part to the power of
                                 technology, it ought to be easier than ever for every
                                 eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote. We
                                 support efforts to ensure that our democracy’s future is
                                 more hopeful and inclusive than its past," CEO Tim Cook
                                 said in a statement.
 Microsoft Corp                  Company President Brad Smith said provisions of the law
                                 signed last week "unfairly restrict the rights of people
                                 to vote legally, securely, and safely." (bit.ly/2PLJlUB)
 Alphabet Inc                    "We're concerned about efforts to restrict voting at a
                                 local level and we strongly support the John Lewis
                                 Voting Rights Advancement Act," Google's senior
                                 vice-president of global affairs Kent Walker said. (bit.ly/3whFU8S)
 Merck & Co Inc                  The drugmaker tweeted a statement from CEO Kenneth
                                 Frazier taking a stand on the Georgia law, saying
                                 "Democracy rests on ensuring that every eligible voter
                                 has an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot, free
                                 from restrictions that have a discriminatory impact." (bit.ly/2QY3jfm)
 American Express Co             CEO Steve Squeri said the company stands "against any
                                 efforts to suppress voting which is a fundamental right
                                 that belongs to all Americans," and was in support of
                                 former CEO's Kenneth Chenault's call for corporations to
                                 take a harder stance against voting restrictions. (bit.ly/2PLfewz)
                                 
 Cisco Systems Inc               CEO Chuck Robbins tweeted "Governments should be working
                                 to make it easier to vote, not harder. Ensuring equal
                                 #VotingRights isn't a political issue, it's an issue of
                                 right and wrong." (bit.ly/3ugvbth)
 BlackRock Inc                   CEO Larry Fink said "BlackRock is concerned about
                                 efforts that could limit access to the ballot for
                                 anyone. Voting should be easy and accessible for ALL
                                 eligible voters. (bit.ly/2Oi2Fsc)
 Home Depot Inc                  "We believe that all elections should be accessible,
                                 fair and secure and support broad voter participation.
                                 We'll continue to work to ensure our associates, both
                                 in Georgia and across the country, have the information
                                 and resources to vote," the company said in a statement.
 JPMorgan Chase & Co             "We regularly encourage our employees to exercise their
                                 fundamental right to vote, and we stand against efforts
                                 that may prevent them from being able to do so," CEO
                                 Jamie Dimon said in a statement.
 
 (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty and Bernard Orr)
  
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