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MLB's All-Star Game moved to Denver in wake of Georgia restricting voter access

The Midsummer Classic was supposed to be in Atlanta on July 13 before lawmakers in that state dialed back ballot access.
Image: Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies
Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies on Opening Day at Coors Field on April 1, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.Justin Edmonds / Getty Images

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game will be played in Denver, following its removal from Atlanta in protest of Georgia's new restrictive voting law, officials said Tuesday.

The annual "Midsummer Classic" had been set for July 13 at Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, in addition to other activities connected to the game, including the annual MLB Draft.

Now it'll reportedly be played at Denver's Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, for the first time since 1998.

"MLB chose the Rockies because they were already in the bidding process to host a future All-Star Game," according to a league statement.

"The Rockies had supplied a detailed plan for hotel, event space and security that took months to assemble, and MLB staff had already made several site visits to Denver."

In moving the annual event to the LoDo neighborhood of Denver, the MLB lands in a state with expansive voting laws that enjoys some of the nation’s highest voter turnout.

Colorado has automatic voter registration for voters who encounter certain government agencies, and same-day voter registration for those who do not.

Elections are run primarily by mail, and ballots are mailed automatically to eligible voters.

Voters can choose to vote in-person as well, though most do not. Voters are required to show ID in certain circumstances, but a wide variety of documents including utility bills, pay stubs, and more are eligible.

Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said last week the All-Star Game had to be taken out of Georgia "to demonstrate our values as a sport" after Georgia Republicans passed restrictive changes to the state election process last month.

The new law adds a host of restrictions, including requiring identification for mail voting and making it illegal to take food or water to voters in line.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the bill into law immediately, calling it "common sense" legislation while aligning himself with former President Donald Trump in remarks promoting the bill.

Manfred said in a statement that "Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box."

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In November, Georgia narrowly cast all 16 of its Electoral College votes for now-President Joe Biden, marking the first time the Peach State had backed a Democratic presidential candidate since Arkansas native Bill Clinton won it in 1992.

Then, in January, Georgia voters elected Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate, resulting in both halves of Congress and White House painted blue for the first time since President Barack Obama's initial two years in office.

The Senate is divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties in party-line votes.

Trump has falsely claimed fraud played a role in Georgia's Democratic tilt, and state prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the former president's efforts to overturn election results.

There's been no evidence of substantial voter irregularities in Georgia, or any other state, courts at every level have ruled.