Major League Baseball has apparently found itself in the exact "tricky" spot reporters and critics predicted the league would end up in after pulling the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the state's new voter ID laws.
According to a report from the Associated Press, MLB will relocate the All-Star Game to Denver's Coors Field — a move that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) blasted as hypocritical because Colorado has similar and arguably more restrictive voting laws than Georgia.
Last Friday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement declaring that MLB "fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions at the ballot box."
MLB's statement came after Kemp signed into law sweeping election reforms that, among other changes, would require absentee ballots to be verified with photo ID. Critics accused Georgia Republicans of attempting to suppress the minority vote in the state, despite the fact that the new Georgia law expands early voting for primary and general elections.
Several other falsehoods were told about the law, including by President Joe Biden, who falsely claimed the law would suppress the votes of working people and said he would "strongly support" MLB moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta.
Manfred said Friday "the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year's All-Star Game and MLB Draft."
The only problem with relocating the game to Denver is, as Gov. Kemp pointed out during an interview on Fox News Tuesday, Colorado has very similar voter ID laws to Georgia.
"Georgia has 17 days of in-person early voting including two optional Sundays, Colorado has 15," Kemp said. "So what I'm being told, they also have a photo ID requirement. So it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me."
Kemp also criticized the president for appearing at the NCAA championship game in Indiana, given Biden's comments, because Indiana was "the birthplace for the photo ID requirement."
"So hypocritical," said Kemp.
Colorado law requires voters to show some form of non-photo identification when voting in person at the ballot box. "All voters who vote at the polls must provide identification. If you are voting by mail for the first time, you may also need to provide a photocopy of your identification when you return your mail ballot," the Colorado secretary of state's website explains.
Acceptable forms of identification include a valid Colorado's driver's license or valid ID card issued by the Department of Revenue, a valid U.S. passport, a copy of a recent utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government documents.
When voting absentee in Colorado, voters only need to provide identification for the first time they cast an absentee ballot. The state uses signature matching to verify a voter's absentee ballots in subsequent elections.
The new Georgia law requires identification for in-person and all absentee voting. Georgia voters without ID can use the last four digits of their Social Security number, a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government documents (similar to Colorado) as acceptable forms of ID, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office told Fox News.
In addition to appearing hypocritical, MLB's decision may have a disproportionate effect on minority-owned businesses in Atlanta, which will lose revenues from the All-Star Game to Denver, Colorado. The 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio, generated an estimated $65 million in local economic activity. Nearly 30% of the businesses in Atlanta are black-owned, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Census data reported by Fox News indicates Atlanta is 51% black, while Denver is 76% white.
A Georgia tourism official told CNN on Friday that MLB's decision to move its All-Star Game out of Georgia could have a $100 million economic impact on the state.
Baseball's 91st Midsummer Classic is scheduled on Tuesday, July 13, at the Colorado Rockies' Coors Field.