Fact Check: Major League Baseball Moves All-Star Game over Law that Expands Some Voting

Phil Niekro
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

CLAIM: Major League Baseball (MLB) is moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of a law that restricts voting.

VERDICT: FALSE. The new Georgia law actually expands some voting, contrary to claims by Democrats and the media.

MLB became the latest victim of a hoax about Georgia’s voting law when it announced Friday that it would move the 2021 All-Star Game out of the state. In a statement, MLB said it supports voting rights and “opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

Major corporations based in Atlanta, such as Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, have also criticized the new law harshly. But as the Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial Thursday, “They’re denouncing Georgia’s election law, but have they read it?”

Fact-checkers have already taken President Joe Biden to task for false statements about the law, as Breitbart News noted:

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick. It’s sick … deciding that you’re going to end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off work,” [Biden] said during last week’s news conference. The following day, Biden claimed the law ended voting hours early “so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over.”

However, Biden’s assertions are not accurate. Election Day hours in Georgia, which are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., have not changed. Those in line by 7 p.m. are permitted to cast their vote.

“Nothing in the new law changes those rules,” the Washington Post reported.

Georgia’s law did, however, make changes to early voting, but the Post explained that experts said the “net effect was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them.”

Critics have also claimed that the law prohibits people from drinking water while waiting in line to vote. In fact, voters are permitted to drink “self-service water from an unattended receptacle.” The law bans a practice called “line warming,” in which party operatives hand out water or other goods to people outside polling places, using the opportunity to campaign.

The local Atlanta Journal-Constitution issued a correction after claiming the law limited voting hours: “A previous version of this story said the new law would limit voting hours. On Election Day in Georgia, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you are in line by 7 p.m., you are allowed to cast your ballot. Nothing in the new law changes those rules.”

The law limits the early voting period before runoff elections, but Georgia’ early voting period is still more generous than that of some other states, including Biden’s home state of Delaware. Georgia allows no-excuse absentee voting, unlike other states — including Delaware and the state of New York, where baseball’s Hall of Fame is located.

Many other provisions of the Georgia law make voting more accessible, not less. For example, it formally allows drop boxes, which were just a temporary measure in the 2020 election.

By MLB’s own logic, therefore, it is supporting “restrictions to the ballot box” by pulling the All-Star Game out of Atlanta.

And since Democrats consider all “restrictions” to voting to be “voter suppression” motivated by racial animus, MLB’s move could be construed as racist. That is especially so given that the brunt of its decision will be felt by Atlanta’s predominantly African American community, including local business owners.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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