San Francisco Board of Directors President Shamann Walton wants to ban employees from entering the city in states with restrictive electoral laws to protest Georgia’s controversial new legislation, which he describes as “discriminatory and segregationist.”
Walton said Tuesday that he intended to ask the city attorney to amend the administrative code to ban travel to Georgia and other states and city contracts if they also implement similar laws. The prohibition applies to companies that have their US headquarters in the state or that do most of the work in that state.
He hopes other cities and businesses will catch up in a wave of backlash against the new law as Major League Baseball is already pulling its all-star game out of Georgia in protest.
“I am 100% against any kind of technology to take people’s voices away. The law passed by Georgian lawmakers stipulates that color voters are clearly suppressed, ”said Walton, the first black man to serve as chairman of the board. “As the city and county of San Francisco, we can’t do anything legally, but we can let everyone know that we’re against this type of policy.”
The latest protest was sparked by the Republican-led Georgian legislature, which passed a law in late March that further regulates voting – shortly after the state’s first Democratic victory in the state’s presidential and Senate elections in a generation. The lengthy law, among other things, cuts the time it takes to request a postal vote, limits drop boxes, makes it an offense to offer food or water to voters in line, and gives partisan lawmakers more control over election officials.
Civil rights activists argue that the new law will disproportionately affect urban color communities. Brian Kemp, Georgia governor, a Republican who signed the bill, said it was necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of the elections.
San Francisco already bans city-paid employee travel to and city contracts involving Georgia and 23 other states that limit LGBTQ rights and access to abortion. Previously, when Governor Gavin Newsom was the city’s mayor, he banned travel to Arizona because of a conservative immigration law. Exceptions to the prohibitions are trips to enforce laws or to defend legal claims that are contractually stipulated or necessary to protect health and safety.
The Associated Press contributed to the coverage.
Mallory Moench is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @mallorymoench