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The office of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., took a swing at NBC News on Tuesday for its characterization of Major League Baseball’s decision to move its All-Star Game out of Atlanta over Georgia’s new voting law.
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In its coverage of the new legislation, NBC described the situation as a sports league “embracing causes associated with progressives, such as protecting voting rights.”
Hawley press secretary Abigail Marone criticized it as a “very dishonest characterization.”
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Sens. Hawley, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have introduced legislation to strip the league of its antitrust exemptions, which, in part, allow MLB to restrict where a team can relocate.
“The fact that Major League Baseball would get together and try to punish a state because the elected representatives of that state and the elected governor of that state settled on a law to preserve election integrity is unbelievable,” Hawley said in a press conference on Tuesday. “But, of course, Major League Baseball is not the only one. We had news just this past weekend that 100 CEOs of the largest corporations in the world met together to talk about how they are going to launch some sort of plan to influence other states across the country.
“This is exactly what the railroad barons tried to do a century ago … It’s trying to control the democratic process. It’s trying to leverage economic power to exert political influence.”
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Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C. is making similar moves against MLB in the House.
“An overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans support requiring an ID to vote, and any organization that abuses its power to oppose secure elections deserves increased scrutiny under the law,” Duncan wrote as a follow-up.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, R., signed the election law last month to a torrent of liberal outrage. Among its measures are strengthening voter ID for absentee ballots, shortening the absentee application period to 67 days, shortening the runoff election period, codifying drop boxes, and adding early voting days. President Biden and other Democratic critics likened the measures to racist “Jim Crow” voting restrictions.
Addressing the league’s decision to pull out of Atlanta earlier this month, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the organization “opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
The game was moved to Denver’s Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. Colorado has less early voting days than Georgia, although the majority of Colorado’s citizens vote by mail and all registered voters there are automatically mailed ballots.
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Colorado had more than 21,000 ballots disqualified in 2016 over voter-identification issues, according to a report.