Major League Baseball has officially responded to calls to move its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta by pulling the game, along with the upcoming MLB Draft, from the state altogether. In a statement released by the league on Friday afternoon, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that conversations with “Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others” regarding a new sweeping bill passed by Georgia Republicans to restrict voting rights in the Peach State informed the league’s decision to find a new home for both events.
Whoa. MLB announces it is pulling this year's All-Star game and the amateur draft from Georgia. pic.twitter.com/QqJzR3lAcy
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) April 2, 2021
“Major League Baseball fundamentally support 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 perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our games unwavering support.”
The controversial bill was signed into law by Republican governor Brian Kemp last month after it made it through the state legislature behind a wave of support from the GOP. The impetus for the bill’s passing was the widespread misinformation spread by now-former president Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election — Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to lose in Georgia since 1992, and was recorded as having called the state’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger with a request for him to overturn the result by “finding” votes that did not exist. Even if Raffensperger broke the law to do this, Trump still would have lost in the Electoral College.
According to CNN, the law, “imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.”