Major League Baseball (MLB) chief Robert D. Manfred, Jr. has announced that the league is moving its planned All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the state’s new suppressive election legislation. Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp just recently signed the bill in question, which contains a slew of new restrictions around the electoral process that are poised to disproportionately negatively impact marginalized communities like Black voters. The state, for instance, has now banned the usage of mobile polling places, which were used during the 2020 election cycle in Fulton County, a highly populated Atlanta-area jurisdiction with a substantial Black population.
Explaining that the league has “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 as follows on Friday:
‘Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. 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.’
Manfred added that although the league its moving its planned game out of the state, they will still be moving forward with “investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects,” as he explained. In other words, prospective positive community impacts associated with the All-Star Game will not be leaving along with the game itself.
The league’s move follows similar criticism for the Georgia legislation from other companies like Delta Air Lines, which is based in the state. Some of the legislation’s other particularly controversial components include a ban on outside organizations providing food and water to voters waiting in polling place lines, no matter how long, and new voter ID requirements for the usage of mail-in ballots.
As voting rights lawyer Marc Elias explained it on Twitter, mail-in/ absentee voters will now have to submit certain information from their driver’s licenses along with their ballots if using those IDs to fulfill the voter identification requirements, but it seems easy to mistakenly use the wrong number. This new legislation enacts punitive procedural hurdles that clearly could have the effect of making voting more difficult for marginalized Georgia communities.
The new Georgia law will require voters to submit ID to vote by mail. If they use their driver's license, they need to provide the #.
One of the two numbers below is correct. If they put the other, it will be rejected.
Are you sure you would pick the right one? pic.twitter.com/3yQZAgioLO
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) April 1, 2021