After Major League Baseball announced on Friday that it was relocating the All Star Game from Atlanta, the reaction was quick. MLB said it opposes new Georgian law that restricts some voting rights.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
How far should private companies go if they reject an electoral law in Georgia? Several major Georgia-based national brands have already challenged this new law. Now Coke and Delta are being boycotted for stopping, as is Home Depot. Major League Baseball has already announced that it will move this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta. Prominent black church and community leaders criticized a number of actions Georgia Republicans took after their side lost the 2020 elections.
Under heavy criticism, Republicans amended a plan to abolish the Sunday election, which is commonly used by black voters. However, the law still reduces early voting in urban areas and prohibits the distribution of water to people standing in line to vote. It steals a lot of power from Brad Raffensperger, the Republican official who defied efforts to overthrow a Democratic election last year. Emil Moffatt begins our reporting. He is at our member station WABE.
EMIL MOFFATT, BYLINE: Hello Steve. Good Morning.
INSKEEP: Before we talk about this boycott, I want to point out that Delta has already said that the new laws are unacceptable from Delta’s point of view. Coca-Cola said it was disappointed with the legislation. What else should companies do?
MOFFATT: Yes, they would like these companies to support the lawsuits against these laws and hold press conferences to denounce these and similar proposed election laws across the country. And they want companies to use their national and national influence to push for the protection of voting rights at the federal level. This is Bishop Reginald Jackson of Georgia AME Church.
REGINALD JACKSON: You must speak out against any effort to suppress votes, any racist effort, or any effort to turn back time.
MOFFATT: And Bishop Jackson says he continues to meet with these corporate leaders in hopes of fending off the boycott, but he still wants commitments from them.
INSKEEP: I think we should just remember that these changes to the franchise came out of a lie – the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen. This is something that Governor Brian Kemp knows is not true. He actually defended the legal results during the 2020 election but has now signed this law and supports the law. How does he defend his course?
MOFFATT: Yes, he says the laws need to be updated regardless of what may or may not have happened during the 2020 elections, especially after so many changes due to the pandemic. But Kemp continued to accuse Major League Baseball of only targeting prominent Democrats. He said what baseball does is a continuation of what he calls a demolition culture aimed at conservatives.
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BRIAN KEMP: What sport are you doing now? After what event will they leave? What convention? What will they do when the Braves make the playoffs? Are they going to postpone the damn playoff game?
MOFFATT: And Kemp claims that the new laws actually expand access to elections and make elections safer. We should note that some of the measures expand the options, but mostly in smaller counties. In large areas like Metro Atlanta, laws either maintain the status quo or reduce access. Several lawsuits have already been filed against these new laws. Georgia Republican Attorney General Chris Carr has to defend the state.
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CHRIS CARR: Anyone who actually reads this draft law will quickly see that it strengthens security, increases access and improves transparency in the elections in Georgia.
MOFFATT: And Carr, like Kemp, accused President Biden and Stacey Abrams of using misinformation to push companies against this bill.
INSKEEP: Emil, thank you very much, I really appreciate your reporting.
MOFFATT: You’re welcome.
INSKEEP: Emil Moffatt with the member station WABE in Atlanta.
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