Ferguson responds to Delta CEO Ed Bastain’s memo on Georgia’s election law

Published 12:09 pm Friday, April 2, 2021

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As CEO of Delta Air Lines, one of Georgia’s largest employers, you took to the airwaves to denounce the state’s election reform law and in the process offered a shockingly inaccurate and irresponsible assessment of the law.

In your internal memo and throughout the entirety of your interview, it became increasingly clear you have been misinformed — or are simply uninformed — about what the bill actually accomplishes. To be clear, the Georgia bill will not make it harder to gain access to the polls, despite your claims to the contrary.

Following your misinterpretation of the new election law, I wanted to outline a few facts:

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4Voters will be able to vote by absentee ballot with no excuse, unlike in New York where Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport infrastructure upgrades.

4Large precincts will be required to add voting machines and election personnel to shorten voting lines.

4Early voting days are increased to include two mandatory Saturdays instead of one and the option of two Sundays for all localities, unlike Delaware where there are zero mandated days of early voting.

4Voter ID requirements — supported by 74% of Georgia voters, including 63% of Black voters — simply call for either a driver’s license or free state ID number.

4Drop boxes, never utilized before the pandemic, are preserved and will be available in every county at early voting sites to ensure the integrity of the process.

4Drinking water is not banned in voter lines as has been reported, it just can’t be distributed at the polls by groups advocating for votes.

People with hidden agendas suggesting these reforms are targeted to suppress the votes of African Americans so Republicans can win elections do so incorrectly and irresponsibly. According to a 2019 paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan research organization, “strict ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup.”

This suggestion also wrongly and stereotypically assumes that all African Americans are Democrats. Since Republicans have gained higher numbers of African American voters, suppressing these votes should not and cannot be assumed to benefit only Republicans. Republicans want to protect and restore the rights of all of our citizens to vote. Such efforts are quite the opposite of suppressing the votes of political opponents.

Without question, free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy, and the security of our electoral system is vital to preserving its integrity. We should no longer accept the false choice between voter access and voter integrity. We should demand and achieve both.

Georgia’s law does just that. I represent a large number of Delta employees, and on their behalf, I request that you provide a detailed list of your issues with the new election law in writing. Establishing trust with your customers, employees, and our constituents starts with telling the entire truth in an open and transparent manner.

To this point, you have not been truthful, and it’s time to change the tact.