Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is placing blame on President Joe Biden and former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams for Major League Baseball pulling its 2021 All-Star Game and draft out of the state in response to the Republicans' restrictive voting laws.
Kemp, who spoke on Saturday after the league's relocation announcement, said Biden and Abrams mischaracterized SB 202, the Atlanta Black Star reported.
“The Election Integrity Act expands access to the polls and ensures the integrity of the ballot box. Then, why did MLB move the All-Star game yesterday? Because Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams have spent days lying to Georgians and the American people,” Kemp said on Saturday.
He accused Biden of not reading the bill and implied that Abrams was profiting from the outrage over the new voting law.
“The truth is that Joe Biden hasn’t read the bill and Stacey Abrams is raising millions off the fake outrage that she has created,” he said.
Kemp signed the controversial voting law that prevents volunteers from handing out snacks and water to voters in line outside of polling sites, enforces new voter ID rules, reduces early voting and restricts ballot drop boxes, as Blavity previously reported.
Critics of the new bill say it directly impacts a record number of Georgia voters who flipped the state blue in the 2020 general election.
The bill additionally limits how many ballot drop boxes are permitted in each county. Each county is required to have at least one dropbox but cannot have more boxes than polling sites or one per 100,000 active voters, meaning Atlanta's Fulton County could have only five drop boxes or fewer for its nearly one million residents.
The governor, however, condemned MLB's decision on Friday, calling it "cancel culture."
“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,” he said, adding that the bill will make elections fair.
Biden compared the Georgia voting bill to Jim Crow-era laws and Abrams spoke out against the companies who stood idly.
Companies that have a presence in Georgia including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines and Home Depot spoke out against the bill, too.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said the law is "unacceptable" and "a step backward." Delta Airlines also released a statement.
“[I]t’s evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong,” the company said.
American Airlines, based in Texas, said it is "strongly opposed" to the bill and honors those who fought "to protect and expand the right to vote."
Despite harsh criticism the bill has received, the Atlanta Braves baseball team said it was "deeply disappointed" by the league's decision, CNN reported.
"This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city," according to a statement from the team. "Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision."
The first Black person elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock, encouraged voters to use their voice in speaking out against the law.
Tourism officials believe the league's decision will cost the city more than $100 million in lost revenue during a time the industry has suffered a substantial loss due to the pandemic.
"In the initial stages of the pandemic, many Cobb [County] hotels saw single digit occupancy numbers," Holly Quinlan, president and CEO of Cobb Travel and Tourism, said. "The 8,000-plus MLB contracted hotel room nights that will not actualize as a result of the MLB All-Star Game relocation will have a negative impact on Cobb's hospitality industry and other local businesses, further delaying recovery."
Across the country, there are 47 other states that are seeking to introduce similar bills totaling 361.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms believes that the MLB's decision will be the first to come of many more boycotts.