Georgia last week tightened identity requirements for postal ballots, shortened early voting periods for the second round, and criminalized offering food and water to voters who were in line.
Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Robert Manfred said the league was relocating its 2021 All-Star game and MLB Draft from Atlanta, following an outcry over the news. voting restrictions.
“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to move this year’s All-Star Game and the MLB Draft,” Manfred said in a written statement.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports the right to vote of all Americans and opposes restrictions on the ballot box.”
Georgia last week tightened identification requirements for postal votes, shortened early voting periods for the second round, and criminalized offering food and water to voters who did. tail.
The law, which was approved by Republican state governor Brian Kemp, faces legal challenges as civil rights groups say it aims to suppress voting among blacks and others. racial minorities.
Kemp’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democratic President Joe Biden sharply criticized the law and said on Wednesday he would support moving the July All-Star Game out of state as a form of protest, telling ESPN: “It’s Jim Crow under steroids what they do. in Georgia. “
Commissioner Manfred said MLB made the decision after consulting with individual clubs as well as current and former players, adding that the league was in the process of finalizing plans for a new host city.
“Fair voting continues to enjoy the unwavering support of our game,” said Manfred, a day after the league launched its 2021 regular season.
The lucrative All-Star Game is a coveted accommodation opportunity for ball parks across North America.
California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom appeared to propose his home state for the host concert shortly after the announcement, tweeting, “Hey @MLB – don’t hesitate to give us a call. In California, we’re actually working to expand voter access – not prevent it. “
Hey @MLB – Do not hesitate to call us.
In California, we’re actually working to expand voter access – not prevent it.https://t.co/FTeI4AjPaC
– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 2, 2021
Coca-Cola Co and Delta Air Lines joined an offer by U.S. companies on Wednesday to challenge Georgia’s new restrictions.
Microsoft Corp, which in February announced a major new investment in Georgia’s capital Atlanta, added its voice, with President Brad Smith saying that the provisions of the law “unfairly restrict the right of people to vote legally, in any way. safe and secure ”.
Citi CFO Mark Mason said in a post on LinkedIn that he was “appalled by the recent voter suppression” passed in Georgia.
Dozens of black executives, including Merck & Co CEO Kenneth Frazier, have called on their peers in U.S. companies to oppose broader restrictions on voting rights.
Delta and Coca-Cola had been threatened with boycott by activists who said they had to do more to oppose the law.
Critics have questioned why Delta and other companies did not speak out before Kemp signed the restrictions into law.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey called the law “unacceptable – it is a step backwards.” He told CNBC News that the law was “wrong and needs to be fixed.”
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a corporate note on Wednesday: “The whole rationale for this bill was based on a lie: there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 election.
“The final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values,” the memo reads.