Major League Baseball Pulls All-Star Game Out of ATL Over Jim Crow-Like Restrictive Voting Laws

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Written by Ann Brown
All-Star Game
Major League Baseball Pulls All-Star Game Out of ATL Over Jim Crow-Like Restrictive Voting Laws. Photo: Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward, left, celebrates with Javier Baez after the Cubs defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in a baseball game in Chicago, April 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Atlanta was looking forward to hosting the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 13 but new voting restrictions have cost the city big time.

The 2021 All-Star Game will no longer be held in Atlanta due to Georgia’s new voting regulations passed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, MLB commissioner Robert Manfred announced.

The game is estimated to have generated anywhere from $37 million to $190 million in economic impact for Atlanta, Atlantic Business Chronicle reported. 

Under Georgia’s new law, there are strict new guidelines for mail-in ballots and voter identification. State officials have more authority over how elections are conducted. Mobile voting centers are essentially banned.
Offering food or water to voters waiting in long lines is now a misdemeanor.

Some describe the law as Jim-Crow like, akin to the state and local laws in the South that enforced racial segregation. 

A new host city is still being finalizing and “details about these events will be announced shortly,” Manfred said.

The move by MLB is one of the first major responses to the new Georgia election law, which was denounced by business executives across the country, CNBC reported.

Opponents to Georgia’s new voting regulations say they will disproportionately disenfranchise Black voters.

“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and the Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said. “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.”

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted. “Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

Manfred spoke out for voting rights. 

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Gov. Kemp responded to the MLB decision by accusing the organization of being pressured by Democrats.

“Today, Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies,” Kemp said. “Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.”

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Kemp added, “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.” 

Voting rights advocate Abrams, who narrowly lost her race against Kemp for Georgia governor in 2018, is credited with turning the state blue during the 2020 presidential elections.