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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's not just Georgia: Corporate America is under growing pressure to put its muscle behind voting rights.

Why it matters: Big businesses have taken on a bigger role in social political issues, but got involved in Georgia's voting-rights fight too late to block it. And the fallout is raising the stakes for similar legislation in other states.

Where it stands: Over 70 Black executives signed a letter this week calling on fellow executives to speak out against a number of restrictive voting bills in dozens of states.

  • Texas is shaping up to be the next big battleground: Texas-based American Airlines said in a statement it is "strongly opposed" to a state bill with "provisions that limit voting rights."
  • "Governments should ensure citizens have their voices heard. HB6 does the opposite, and we are opposed to it," Dell CEO Michael Dell tweeted, referring to another voting related Texas bill.

Between the lines: Employees and customers are increasingly looking to corporations to take on a bigger role in social and political issues. Many of them have leaned into that role — and gotten results.

  • Big companies, entertainers and ultimately the NBA and NCAA canceled big-ticket events in North Carolina after the state passed its anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill" in 2016. The state lost roughly $3.8 billion in business and ended up repealing that measure less than a year after it became law.
  • There are shades of that organized, well-funded pushback in Georgia, Axios Charlottes's Katie Peralta Soloff reports.

Hollywood studios, which have recently established a major presence in Georgia, thanks to its generous tax credits, threatened to leave the state in 2019 over a controversial abortion law, but that law was then struck down in court.

  • A few Hollywood voices have threatened to leave the region if lawmakers don't take action to overturn the voting law, but most of the big studios have have been relatively quiet this time.
  • The fallout is still growing: The MLB on Friday said it would yank its All-Star game from Atlanta.
  • "I want to tell the Georgia legislature we are not investing in your community if you don't get this bill reversed," SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie, who's company has employees there, told CNBC on Friday.

What's next: Whether Georgia repeals its law or not, the controversy — and the criticism Georgia-based businesses like Delta Air Lines have taken for their initial approach to the bill — will likely push corporations in other states to move faster than their Georgia peers did.

  • "If companies are on the right side of this, the benefit that they get from speaking out is much greater than the blowback they're gonna get," Paul Argenti, a corporate reputation expert and Dartmouth College professor, tells Axios.

Go deeper

Updated Apr 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Flood of CEOs, corporations speak out against Georgia's voting restrictions

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Over 100 companies including Twitter, Zillow and Uber issued a joint statement through Civic Alliance Friday, joining a slew of major corporate players who have expressed concern about Georgia's law curbing voting access.

Why it matters: States often take cues from how hard businesses push back. But many of these corporations, several of which are based in Georgia, could have spoken up earlier when the law was being considered or before the governor signed.

Updated Apr 2, 2021 - Sports

MLB to move All-Star Game out of Atlanta over Georgia voting restrictions

General view of the Major League Baseball logo. Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred announced Friday that the 2021 All-Star Game will be moved out of Atlanta due to Georgia's law curbing voting access, which will disproportionately affect people of color.

What they're saying: "Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," Manfred said in a statement.

Elon Musk's mega-billion bounty

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Here's how insanely rich Elon Musk is: He has unloaded $10 billion of his stock in the past month — and could do that 15+ more times given his silos of shares.