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MLB pulls All-Star game from Atlanta due to voter suppression bill

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Major League Baseball decided on Friday to pull this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s new voting law. The decision follows an election bill signed on Wednesday 26th by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, which opponents qualify as a suppression bill of people of color. 

The change of location is one of the first tangible responses to the law, which has been condemned and criticized by companies and high executives all over the country. 

“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

The “Midsummer Classic” was set for July 13 at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, along with other activities connected to the game, including the annual MLB Draft.

While Truist Park is in Cobb County, just outside Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms warned her constituents that MLB’s move will likely be the first “of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

 

Restaurants, hotels, rental car agencies and other businesses make a lot of money when these big events come to town. The MLB All-Star game generated about $49 million for the local economy when it was hosted in Atlanta in 2000, according to Baseball Almanac. Only in 2020, the All-Star Game generated $89.0 Million to Los Angeles, California. 

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said. On the other hand, Georgia Gov. Kemp criticized the decision and said last Friday at a press conference that Major League Baseball “caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies.” 

“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” Kemp added. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections. Earlier today, I spoke with the leadership of the Atlanta Braves who informed me they do not support the MLB’s decision.”

The Atlanta Braves baseball team said on Twitter it is “deeply disappointed” by the decision.

“This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city. The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion,” the statement said.

The new law, passed by the Georgia House and Senate and signed by Kemp on March 25, has generated controversy due to several limits it puts on voting in the state. The bill passed along party lines, with Republicans vocally supporting it and Democrats calling it voter suppression. 

Georgia’s new law adds guidelines around mail-in ballots, voter registration and provides state officials more authority around how elections are operated. The bill includes a host of restrictions, such as requiring identification for mail voting and making it illegal to take food or water to voters in line.

On Wednesday 7th, Major Bottoms signed an executive order to mitigate the effects of the so controversial law.

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