MLB: All-Star Game leaves Georgia to protest against voting law

The US professional baseball league has said it will pull the 2021 All-Star Game and the Draft out of Georgia in protest of a restrictive voting law in the state.

Major League Baseball “fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” the Commissioner of Baseball Robert D Manfred, Jr said.

A new host city has not been announced.

The new law has received criticism from voting rights advocates.

It restricts ballot access by placing limits on absentee voting, shortens periods for run-off elections and forbids the practice of giving food or water to voters waiting to cast ballots, among other things.

Georgia’s Governor, Republican Brian Kemp, signed the bill into law last week.

Following the league’s announcement, he accused it of caving in to “fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies” and placed blame on “cancel culture and woke political activists”.

“We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections,” he said on Twitter.

The game was scheduled to play on 13 July at Truist Park in Cobb County, just outside of Atlanta.

The Braves, Georgia’s Major League Baseball (MLB) team, said they are “deeply disappointed” by the decision.

“Businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision,” they said in a statement.

The All-Star Game is an annual event that is played at different ballparks around the country and is estimated to generate anywhere from $37m to $190m for the local economy.

In March, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that “many of [the] surrounding hotels/motels are already completely sold out” ahead of the game.

The 2020 All-Star Game was cancelled due to the pandemic.

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