Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) vehemently defended the state’s new voting law after Major League Baseball (MLB) said it would pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta, claiming the new restrictions were “worth” boycotts and lawsuits against the Peach State.
“Free and fair elections are the foundation of who we are as a state and a nation. Secure, accessible, fair elections are worth the threats. They are worth the boycotts as well as the lawsuits,” Kemp said at a press conference on April 3, 2021.
Kemp signed the bill on March 25. The legislation places new restrictions on voting by mail, adds voter ID requirements and restricts ballot drop boxes. It also requires two Saturdays of early voting ahead of general elections, with two Sundays remaining optional.
Democrats have slammed the new legislation, arguing that it amounts to voter suppression and pressure on private corporations to speak out against it.
MLB took the most dramatic action of any private entity, declaring that it would scrap its annual All-Star Game in response to the new rules. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred claimed that moving the game is “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he added.
In a defiant response to MLB’s announcement, Kemp says that he “will not be backing down from this fight.”
The regulations have been called “unacceptable” and “a step backward” by Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey, and Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has said the legislation “includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives.”
Kemp stepped up his condemnation of firms who have spoken out against the legislation on Saturday, listing some who have hammered the new restrictions.
“We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced. Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not, and we are not as Georgians,” he said.
Kemp determined that he will not repeal the law even if more activities are canceled in the state.
“There were reasons to try to figure out a better way, a more accessible way and a more secure way for us to hold elections, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We shouldn’t apologize for wanting to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” he said.
“I can tell you that we will not waiver. For anybody that’s out there who’s thinking that any kind of snowball effect is going to have any kind of effect on me, it is not,” Kemp added. “We have worked in good faith with the business community, with the chambers of commerce, with some of these same companies that have flip-flopped on this issue.”