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Other states have more voting restrictions, so the league could be in a 'tricky' spot now
Updated 4/2/2021, 4:46 p.m. ET: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued a statement reacting to the news, saying in part that "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."
He 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. I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections."
Original story continues below....
Major League Baseball announced Friday that it will no longer hold the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta, citing Georgia's recently passed law that implemented voting reforms.
But reporters say the league's bold move might put them in a "tricky" spot, given that other states — including the last host of the All-Star Game — have greater voting restrictions than the Peach State.
The game was scheduled for July 13 as part of the midsummer break that includes the Futures Game on July 11 and Home Run Derby the following night.
What are the details?
MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. issued a statement saying that after consulting with "Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance," he has "decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year's All-Star Game and MLB Draft."
Manfred went on to say that the MLB "fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions at the ballot box," adding that "fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support."
He concluded by saying that the league is "finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed the state's sweeping new election reforms into law last week, which includes changes such as requiring absentee ballots be verified with a photo ID, and expanding early voting for primary and general elections.
But Democratic politicians are furious over the legislation's passage, with some calling for a boycott of Georgia over the new law, calling it restrictive.
As the news broke of MLB's decision to pull the All-Star Game out of Georgia for political reasons, several journalists were quick to point out that the league might have put itself in a tough position with the move.
The Dispatch associate editor Declan Garvey noted on Twitter, "The last MLB All Star Game was held in Cleveland in 2019. Ohio requires voters applying for an absentee ballot to provide the same thing Georgia does. Ohio offers 22 days of early voting, Georgia offers at least 17, up to 19."
Business Insider senior reporter Grace Panetta tweeted that the "MLB may be putting themselves in a tricky situation here w/ a voting angle for host places for all-star games — do you base it on a state's laws or their recent legislative actions? Bc if it's the former, there are lot more states w more restrictive laws than GA."
She added, "like, if Georgia is now out by this standard, all of Texas kinda has to be for.....a while."
Following MLB's announcement, the Atlanta Braves issued a statement saying the franchise is "deeply disappointed" by the league's decision.
The Braves' statement said:
"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. Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.
"Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision," the Braves added.
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