Major League Baseball officials are mulling over an option to pull this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta after the GOP-led Georgia legislature passed, and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed, a new voter ID measure aimed at avoiding balloting chaos seen in the 2020 election cycle.
According to Tony Clark, the executive director of the MLB Players Association, the league’s players are “very much aware” of the legislation, which was signed by Kemp on Thursday.
“As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue,” Clark said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.”
Clark’s comments come on the heels of an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times encouraging MLB to move the 91st All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the legislation, which critics claim will only serve to suppress minority voting.
“If Georgia persists in pursuing laws that will make it harder to vote, and disproportionately so in Black communities, MLB should move the 2021 All-Star game out of Atlanta,” sportswriter and columnist Bill Shaikin wrote.
“In 1990, Arizona voters rejected a proposal to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday. The NFL responded by moving the 1993 Super Bowl from Tempe, Ariz., to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Voters later approved the holiday, and the NFL awarded the 1996 Super Bowl to Phoenix,” he noted further.
“In 2016, after North Carolina adopted a law that directed transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, the NBA branded the law as discriminatory. The league moved its 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte to New Orleans. The law later was repealed, and the NBA awarded its 2019 All-Star game to Charlotte,” Shaikin added.
Democrats and left-wing voter groups led by failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams complain that the new law restricts voting for minorities, among other things.
For her part, Abrams called the law “a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie.” And President Joe Biden has used similar language to rip the law, saying, “This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
“This law, like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country, is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” Biden added.
But Republicans counter that the law is needed to address widespread concerns about voting integrity following last fall’s election, with Kemp ripping Biden in response and accusing him of attempting to “destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box.”
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For one, Republicans noted that the law mandates that voters provide either a driver’s license or other state-issued ID in requesting and then submitting absentee ballots. It also restricts the use of unmonitored ballot drop boxes and gives the legislature more control over local election processes.
For his part, former President Trump, who heavily contested the results in Georgia, praised the measure.
“Congratulations to Georgia and the Georgia State Legislature on changing their voter Rules and Regulations,” he said in a statement issued via his Save America PAC. “They learned from the travesty of the 2020 Presidential Election, which can never be allowed to happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been done sooner!”
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