Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law the 98-page Election Integrity Act of 2021 at the end of March, initiating an overhaul of state elections backed by the GOP and opposed by Democrats. The condemnation was swift.
Democratic State Rep. Park Cannon was arrested and charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement and disrupting a session of the General Assembly after knocking on Governor Kemp’s door in protest of his signing of the bill. A state trooper has claimed that she stomped on his foot, but she has denied the accusation. She has revealed that she is facing eight years in prison for the arrest. President Joe Biden harshly criticized the move and referred to the bill as “Jim Crow of the 21st Century.” He beseeched Congress to pass voting rights legislation. Many could not ignore the irony of the optics, with white politicians signing the bill beneath a painting of Callaway Plantations in Wilkes County, Georgia.
A Black business executive coalition signed a letter demanding that corporations take a stand against the voter suppression efforts in Georgia and in other states around the country. This pressured Atlanta companies, Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, to strongly condemn SB 202.
With eyes on Atlanta, who was set to host the upcoming Major League Baseball summer All-Star Game on July 13 at Truist Park, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred began having conversations about relocating the game and consulted “former and current players, The Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” he said in a released statement.
After finalizing details, it appears that the All-Star Game and, presumably, the new MLB Draft will be held at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. Manfred announced that the MLB still plans to honor Braves’ Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who passed at the age of 86 in January of this year, despite the venue change.
The pulling of the All-Star Game from Atlanta met with mixed reviews. The Atlanta Braves issued a statement expressing their disappointment in the decision and implying that Atlanta could have been the right platform to have this discussion. Some Cobb County Democrats, home of the original game location, also opposed the move with Lisa Cupid reminding the MLB of the challenges the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon the area and State Rep. Teri Anulewicz adding that the governor is not the one being punished in the move.
On the other hand, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms supports the decision and cautions that the loss of the MLB All-Star Game and its economic bolstering could be just the beginning “until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”
For more information and explanations on the new voting restriction/suppression bills, view the Full Legislative Report from the Capitol, Week 11 at https:// bit.ly/3cQgyHn.