M.L.B. Pulls All-Star Game From Georgia in Response to Voting Law

Major League Baseball pulled its summer All-Star Game out of suburban Atlanta on Friday, the first major rebuke to the new Republican-backed elections law in Georgia that particularly curtails voting access in the state’s urban areas.

The decision by the baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, came after days of pressure from civil rights groups and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The action is likely to put additional pressure on other leading organizations and corporations to consider pulling business out of Georgia, a move that both Republicans and Democrats in the state oppose despite fiercely disagreeing about the new voting law.

Baseball’s decision comes as other states are moving closer to passing new laws that would further restrict voting in their states. In Texas, home to two professional baseball teams, the State Senate passed a law this week that would limit early voting hours, ban drive through voting, add new restrictions to absentee voting and make it illegal for local election officials to mail absentee ballot applications to voters, even if they qualify. In Florida, also home to two major league teams, the State Legislature has introduced a bill that would severely limit drop boxes.

Earlier this week, President Biden joined a growing call for the relocation of the game because of the new voting law that he and civil rights groups predicted will have an outsize impact on people of color. The Georgia law introduced stricter identification requirements for absentee balloting, limited the use of drop boxes and expanded the Legislature’s power over elections.

In a statement, Mr. Manfred said that after conversations with teams, players, former stars and players union officials he had concluded that “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”

Baseball said it was finalizing details about new locations for this year’s All-Star Game and the draft. The league faced the unsettling prospect of marking the upcoming annual April 15 celebration of Jackie Robinson becoming the first modern Black player in the major leagues, and an All-Star week dedicated to former Atlanta Braves great Henry Aaron, while the state’s voting law widely seen as targeting Black voters loomed.

Georgia Democrats had not called for a boycott of the game but were building pressure on Major League Baseball and other Georgia-based corporations to oppose the state’s new voting law.

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