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Ga. voting law, boycotts and MLB pullout of All-Star Game stirring up controversy

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 7:26 AM CDT
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia’s new voting law continues to stir up a war of words.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell spoke out Monday on the law, calling claims that the law restricts voter access a “big lie.”

This as large companies criticize the new law, with Major League Baseball deciding to pull this year’s All-star Game out of Atlanta.

The senator sent a message to large corporations.

“And I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics. My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights,” he said.

Opponents of the law say it adds photo ID information requirements for absentee voting, and restricts the location of drop off voting boxes.

The law also shortens early voting before runoff elections, which will be held sooner after general elections.

This week, a boycott is set to start against Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and Home Depot. Opponents of the law say the Georgia-based companies not done enough to stand against the legislation.

Democrats are largely against the law, but some are on the fence when it comes to the boycott.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the people of Georgia are the ones who get hurt when companies take business out of the Peach State.

“I’m absolutely concerned this will backfire. This is likely the first of many events that will pull from our city and from our state,” she said.

Gov. Brian Kemp has spoken out after Major League Baseball says it’s moving this year’s All-Star game out of the Peach State because of the law.

Almost two weeks ago, Kemp signed the bill into law, sparking controversial feedback.

The MLB commissioner says the decision to move the game came because it is “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”

A new host city has not been announced yet.

The MLB draft, scheduled for July 11-13, will also be moved.

Kemp says he’s disappointed at the negative impact the move will have on the state’s economy.

“It means cancel culture and partisan activists are coming for your business, they’re coming for your game or event in your hometown, and they’re coming to cancel everything from sports to how you make a living,” he said.

On Monday, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr joined Kemp and U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson for a news conference to highlight his office’s work to defend Senate Bill 202 in court.

“Anybody who actually reads this bill sees how comparing it to the Jim Crow era, one of the most tragic periods in American history, where human beings were killed and truly were prevented from casting their ballot, is preposterous, irresponsible, and fundamentally wrong,” Carr said.

“We actually diminish the horrors of Jim Crow when we compare the unjustifiable abuses of those times with a photo ID requirement that applies equally to everyone, to expanded voting hours across the state, and to the assurance that the public has access to our electoral process.”

Formal statements

Here are some formal statements issued by Georgia officials after the MLB decision:

“Today, Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies. Georgians-and all Americans - should fully understand what the MLB’s knee-jerk decision means: cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life, sports included. If the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.

— Gov. Brian Kemp

“Stacey Abrams’ leftist lies have stolen the All-Star Game from Georgia. This decision is not only economically harmful, it also robs Georgians of a special celebration of our national pastime free of politics. But Georgia will not be bullied by socialists and their sympathizers. We will continue to stand for accessible, secure elections that are free and fair. And we will continue to speak truth despite extortion and intimidation.”

— Georgia House Speaker David Ralston

“Businesses and organizations have great power in their voices and ability to push for change, and I respect the decision of the players to speak out against this unjust law. It is not the people of Georgia or the workers of Georgia who crafted this law, it is politicians seeking to retain power at the expense of Georgians’ voices. And today’s decision by MLB is the unfortunate consequence of these politicians’ actions.”

—Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock

“Georgia Republicans knew exactly what they were doing when they rushed through their voter suppression agenda and passed Senate Bill 202 — now, working Georgians will pay the price. It is ludicrous that Brian Kemp and Georgia Republicans are pretending that the MLB’s decision is about anything other than the GOP’s relentless attacks on voting rights of Black and Brown Georgians, and it is plainly dishonest to ‘both-sides’ a bill that legal experts, activists, and county elections officials all agree will make voting more difficult for Georgians.”

— Maggie Chambers, Democratic Party of Georgia spokeswoman

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