Major League Baseball won’t hold its annual all-star game in Atlanta this year after Georgia passed a law that makes voting a lot harder.
The announcement is perhaps the most consistent measure taken since Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed the measure.
Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola spoke out against the bill, which, according to critics, particularly affects minority groups who vote more democratically. However, both companies have been criticized for failing to do so before the law went into effect, when such votes could have had a significant impact.
“I’ve decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to reschedule this year’s All-Star game and MLB draft,” the league commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports the voting rights of all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions.”
Georgian law introduces new requirements for postal voting, a process that will use the state’s voters in record numbers with no evidence of fraud in 2020.
This gives voters less time to request a postal ballot, limits the availability of ballot boxes, shortens the deadline for runoff elections, enables unlimited voter-initiated challenges to the qualification of other voters, and gives the state parliament more control over elections.
It also criminalizes the provision of food and water to voters waiting in line to vote.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the baseball players union, last week said some support for the relocation of the All-Star game. Joe Biden said this week he would be “very supportive” of moving the game from Atlanta.
“Today Major League Baseball gave in to fear, political opportunism and liberal lies,” Kemp said in a statement. “Georgians – and all Americans – should understand exactly what the MLB’s decision means: breaking culture and awakening political activists who come for every aspect of your life, including sports. When the left doesn’t agree with you, the facts and the truth don’t matter. “Kemp added that he was” not going to back down “.
The Atlanta Braves, the city’s baseball team, said in a statement Friday it was “deeply disappointed” with the decision and was hoping to use the event to “improve” the discussion about access to voting. “This was neither our decision nor our recommendation and we are sad that the fans cannot see this event in our city.”
Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting rights activist, tweeted Friday that she was “disappointed” with the decision to postpone the game. In a USA Today published this week, Abrams wrote, “One lesson of boycott is that the pain of deprivation must be shared in order to be sustainable. Otherwise, those who are least resilient will bear the brunt of these actions. and as a result they struggle to gain access to victory. “
Disappointed @MLB will postpone the all-star game but proud of their stance on voting rights. GA GOP exchanged economic options for oppression. On behalf of the PoC chosen by # SB202 as a target to lose votes + now wages, I urge events and productions to come and speak or stay and fight. #gapol
– Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) April 2, 2021
After Donald Trump’s defeat in the presidential election, which he described as the result of massive electoral fraud, a lie laughed repeatedly out of court. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there are 361 measures pending in state legislatures to restrict voting. Fifty-five such measures are proceeding.
The controversial legislation in the Republican states has previously encountered business and athletic problems. For example, in 2016 North Carolina lost the right to host valuable NCAA college sporting events due to a law that restricted the rights of transgender people.
In the midst of the outcry, many companies are starting to speak out.
American Airlines, based in Texas, released a statement this week in which it “strongly opposed” a comprehensive electoral law under scrutiny by the state legislature. Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies, also spoke out while Microsoft raised concerns about certain provisions of the Texas Bill.
On Friday, 170 companies signed a statement expressing their support for access to voting.
Prominent black businessmen released a letter earlier this week calling on companies to step up their opposition to efforts to make it harder to vote.
“There’s no middle ground here,” Kenneth Chenault, former executive director of American Express, told the New York Times. “You are either in favor of getting more people to vote or you want to suppress the vote.”