The Atlanta Braves spoke out against Major League Baseball (MLB) after it announced its decision to relocate the All-Star Game in response to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law.
The recently enacted Georgia law places new restrictions on voting by mail, adds voter ID requirements and sets limits on the number of drop box locations and operating hours. It cuts down the time for absentee voting and does away with a signature-match system in favor of providing a driver’s license, state ID or the last four digits of their social security number on ballots to prove identity.
The law mandates two Saturdays of early voting ahead of general elections, an increase from just one, and says two Sundays are optional. The law also bans outside groups from handing out free food or water to those waiting in line to vote. But the law allows for “self-service water from an unattended receptacle.”
The Braves issued a lengthy statement saying it was “deeply disappointed” by the league’s actions.
“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 statement read. “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.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement Friday in response to the mounting pressure to change the location of the July game in response to Republican-backed election reform legislation recently signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he continued. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
The league did not announce a new location, but Manfred said they were working to finalize a new host city.