Obama on Saturday congratulated the league “for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens,” following MLB’s Friday announcement. The Democrat’s tweeted support of the move struck a starkly different tone from his Republican successor’s statement late Friday that called for a boycott of baseball and all of the “woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections.”
Opponents of the new election law say the legislation, and similar measures being considered in other states, amount to voter suppression efforts that will reduce minority voting. Republicans cast the measure, dubbed The Election Integrity Act of 2021, as necessary to boost confidence in elections after the 2020 election saw Trump make repeated, unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
The legislation, signed into law last month by Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, imposes voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, allows state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to give or offer voters food and drink as they wait in line to vote.
Georgia was key to President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in November, and Biden has called the bill “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and “an atrocity.” On Wednesday, he told ESPN — before the MLB made its decision — that he would “strongly support” moving the game out of Atlanta.
With its Friday announcement, MLB said it still plans to honor baseball legend and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who played for the Atlanta Braves, at the All-Star Game.
In his Saturday tweet praising the league’s move, Obama added that “there’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.”
The new host city for the July 13 game has yet to be announced, according to the league.