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Last week’s decision by Commissioner of Baseball Robert Manfred, Jr. to relocate this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game was wrongly decided. It outraged millions of fans and stoked controversy, and will hurt in very real ways many of the minorities it’s purportedly designed to help. The follow-on decision, to relocate the game to Denver, reveals that the original decision wasn’t really about access to voting, but was nothing more than woke virtue-signaling. While a decision to reverse course and re-relocate the game back to Atlanta won’t undo all the damage caused, it would certainly help prevent future damage. And it has the added virtue of being the right thing to do.
Last Friday, Manfred issued a statement saying, “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft. Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box … Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”
Even before the decision to relocate the game to Denver was announced, it was clear Manfred had made a bad decision.
To begin, how could Major League Baseball oppose voter identification? Major League Baseball teams require photo identification to pick up will-call tickets!
Anyone who actually reads the new Georgia law understands that it will make voting in Georgia easier than it was before. No longer is a signature required for voter identification, for instance. Drop-boxes for absentee ballots – which were not even authorized under Georgia law before the new law was enacted – have now been authorized by the state legislature. And the weekend early voting period has been expanded, with mandatory voting hours on two Saturdays across the state; counties will retain the option to allow early voting on two Sundays, as well. All told, Georgia voters will now enjoy at least 17 days of early voting.
Specifically regarding voter identification requirements, is Manfred aware that Georgia is one of no fewer than 36 states that require some form of identification in order to cast a ballot? In fact, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and 15 other states require not just an ID card, but a photo ID card. Why does Manfred not want Georgians to enjoy the same level of access to voting and ballot integrity that are enjoyed by voters in 35 other states?
Then came the decision to relocate the All-Star Game to Denver, Colorado. Now Manfred must be kicking himself, wondering who was the numbskull who thought Colorado was better on the voting rights front than Georgia?
Colorado, which has all mail voting, also allows in-person early voting. But it only allows for 15 days of early voting, rather than Georgia’s 17.
Colorado also requires voter identification for those who wish to vote in person – a valid Colorado driver’s license, an ID card issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue, a valid passport, or a valid employee identification card with a photo issued by federal, state, or local government agencies or entities, or other forms of identification.
Colorado requires signature verification for mail-in ballots. Georgia, you will recall, removed its requirement for signature verification.
And Colorado prohibits campaign workers from handing out food or water to voters within 100 feet of a polling place if they’re wearing campaign apparel. Georgia prohibits campaign workers or volunteers from handing out food or water to voters within 150 feet of a polling place, so Colorado is 50 feet “better” than Georgia on the no food or water front. But 50 feet is less than the distance between the pitcher’s rubber and home plate, so I’m not sure that’s worth all that much.
Manfred made an unforced error when he first decided to relocate his league’s All-Star Game from Georgia. He compounded the error when he decided to relocate the game to Colorado, a state that by any objective review actually makes it harder for people to vote than does Georgia, thereby revealing his choice had nothing to do with voting rights, and everything to do with woke virtue-signaling.
Manfred won’t be able to undo the damage he’s already done, but there is still time for him to avoid future damage to the league he leads and to the cause he professes to support. Major League Baseball should immediately reverse its decision to relocate the All-Star Game to Denver, and instead move it back to Atlanta.
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