FACTBOX-Companies speak out against Georgia voting restrictions

 (Adds statements from Facebook, Porsche North America)
    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.
 Facebook Inc                    "We support making voting as accessible and
                                 broad-based as possible and oppose efforts to make it
                                 harder for people to vote," Roy Austin, Facebook's
                                 deputy general counsel for civil rights said.
 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)
 ViacomCBS Inc                   "We unequivocally in the importance of all Americans
                                 having an equal right to vote and oppose the recent
                                 Georgia voting rights law or any effort that impedes
                                 the ability to exercise this vital constitutional
                                 right," the company said. (bit.ly/3sKdgLd)
 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)
 Bank of America Corp            "Our company's recent, increased commitment to
                                 advance racial equality and economic opportunity is
                                 informed by our belief that we must seek every avenue
                                 to overcome the systemic obstacles to our democratic
                                 principles that have developed over many years. This
                                 includes obstacles to the right to vote," CEO Brian
                                 Moynihan said. (bit.ly/2QPKnze)
 Wells Fargo & Co                "Wells Fargo supports the right of every American to
                                 exercise their voice by voting... we oppose
                                 legislation that attempts to limit this right or is
                                 discriminatory in nature," the bank said, adding that
                                 it supports making Federal Election Day a national
                                 holiday. (bit.ly/2PItN3P)
 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)
 Hubspot Inc                     "The Georgia legislation undermining voters' rights
                                 is in stark contrast to the democracy our country is
                                 built on. And it’s unacceptable," said Dharmesh Shah,
                                 Hubspot co-founder and chief technology officer. (bit.ly/3cGqIKE)
 PricewaterhouseCoopers U.S.     "We oppose any changes in election laws that result
 arm                             in suppressing lawful votes, especially given their
                                 historical use to suppress votes of people of color,"
                                 PwC US Senior Partner Tim Ryan said. (bit.ly/2QNtWDx)
 Accenture                       Accenture is backing the 72 Black executives who have
                                 called for companies to take a stronger stance, CEO
                                 Julie Sweet said. "The Fierce Urgency Is Now in
                                 taking a nonpartisan stand for equality and
                                 democracy." (bit.ly/31AM45M)
 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.
 United Parcel Service           "UPS believes that voting laws and legislation should
                                 make it easier, not harder, for Americans to exercise
                                 their right to vote," the company said. (bit.ly/3ugygtI)
 Porsche Cars North America      "Equal access to the polls for every voter is core to
                                 a democracy. (We) hope a resolution can be found
                                 between all sides that encourages and enables every
                                 eligible vote," the Georgia-based business said.

 (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty, Bernard Orr and Arun Koyyur)

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Reuters Staff