Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp doubled down on his criticism of Major League Baseball’s decision to pull this summer’s All-Star Game from the state, saying that the move will have a devastating economic impact on minority-owned businesses.
“It’s minority-owned businesses that have been hit harder than most because of an invisible virus by no fault of their own,” Kemp told reporters at a restaurant in Atlanta. “And these are the same minority businesses that are now being impacted by another decision that is by no fault of their own.”
The MLB announced that it was moving its All-Star Game and this year’s amateur draft from the Peach State in an effort to punish the state for its enactment of a law seeking to advance integrity and fairness of elections in the state. The law came in response to election rule changes made during the pandemic that led to controversy surrounding the November 2020 election result.
MLB said on April 6 that this year’s All-Star game will be played in Denver.
Kemp noted during his remarks that Denver has a much smaller percentage of African Americans than Atlanta, and stressed that “the little guy” and minority communities are likely to feel the economic impact of MLB’s decision the most.
MLB previously said the decision to relocate this year’s All-Star Game and draft came after conferring with a number of stakeholders, including clubs and player associations. It characterized the move as a public expression of support for “fair access to voting,” without addressing the controversy surrounding the parallel need for fairness in counting only valid votes.
MLB didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
During the same press conference, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr reiterated his belief that MLB was misguided in its decision. He encouraged corporations to examine the new law carefully.
“Major League Baseball committed a big-league error,” Carr said. “This is about stronger security, expanded access, and greater transparency to allow the public to participate in Georgia’s elections. These companies have been misguided, and I would just encourage them to look at the facts.”
Top executives from several large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Citibank, and Delta Air Lines have openly taken a stance against the Republican-led election changes aimed at protecting the sanctity of the ballot box in the Peach State.
The companies and other critics say they’re worried the law will disproportionately affect minority groups’ access to voting. But Georgia officials have disputed such claims, countering that the law seeks to streamline vote-counting procedures, ensure election integrity and legal votes, and includes some provisions to expand voting access.
Kemp, during an April 3 press conference, said Georgia’s reforms put the state ahead in terms of expanding voting accessibility. He compared his state’s law with election regulations in Democratic-led New York.
“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting. In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional for all counties in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote by absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason and you can do it securely,” Kemp said.
“It’s easier to vote in Georgia than it is in New York.”
Georgia’s law adds a slew of changes to the way Georgians vote, including requiring photo or state-approved identification to vote absentee by mail. The law also mandates that secure dropboxes be placed inside early voting locations with constant surveillance, and expands early voting across the state.
The law also shortens the election cycle to four weeks from nine weeks and requires a minimum of one week of early voting before Election Day. People who wish to vote absentee are faced with new requirements as well.
The White House has also criticized the law. Press secretary Jen Psaki claimed that Georgia’s law “is built on a lie” that there was widespread fraud during the 2020 election. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has assailed the law, describing it as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
Kemp has since pushed back on Biden’s characterization.
“There is nothing ‘Jim Crow’ about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot—every Georgia voter must already do so when voting in-person,” Kemp said in response. “President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box.”