Major League Baseball (MLB) announced Friday that the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB draft will not be held in Georgia, in response to Georgia’s new voting restrictions that were signed into law on March 25.
MLB is relocating the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft in response to SB 202, which aims to expand in-person voting and to prevent voter fraud. The bill restricts ballot drop boxes, adds identification requirements for absentee voters, and makes it a misdemeanor to provide food and water to voters waiting in line. The bill additionally shortens Georgia’s runoff elections and allows the state election board to temporarily take over local election offices.
President Joe Biden called the law “Jim Crow in the 21st Century,” as the restrictions disproportionately affect Black voters. Black voters are more likely to cast absentee ballots and are less likely to have the newly required identification to cast the absentee ballots. Communities of color are impacted by the prohibition of passing out food and water to those in line, as the voting lines are longer in communities of color than in predominantly white communities.
In a statement, MLB asserted that “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft. Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
The MLB statement also notes that the MLB joined Civic Alliance, a nonpartisan voting rights advocacy group, in 2020. The MLB was the first professional sports league to join Civic Alliance.
The MLB will move forward with planned investments into Atlanta communities, and it will announce the new host city and event details shortly.