MLB pulls All-Star Game from Georgia over voting law

Major League Baseball will be moving its 2021 draft and All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest over the state's new voter restrictions.

The removal of the lucrative All-Star Game marks one of the most significant and high-profile gestures yet in response to the restrictions, which added ID requirements for absentee ballots, shortened early voting periods for runoffs, and made it a crime to offer food and water to voters waiting in line.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines also joined a bid by U.S. companies on Wednesday to challenge the restrictions.

In a statement, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred said the decision to pull its Atlanta events in light of the new law would quote "demonstrate our values as a sport," and that the organization "fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box."

The law, signed by Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp, faces challenges from civil rights groups and critics who say it aims to suppress Black and other minority voters.

In a statement, Kemp said MLB's leadership had "caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies," later telling Fox News quote: "They're going to come after your ballgame. They're going to boycott your business if you don't agree with their way of life. We are not backing down."

Meanwhile the Atlanta Braves, who were set to host the All-Star Game, said they would quote "continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities," adding that "Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision."

California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom later offered to host the All-Star Game, writing on Twitter quote: "In California we actually work to expand voter access -- not prevent it."