The MLB’s Baseless Response to Georgia’s Voting Law
By Katelyn McCarthy
An increasing regularity in American life is the accusation of various discriminations employed against any given group by some law, corporate action, or tweet dug up from 10 years ago. A recent example is the hullabaloo regarding The Election Integrity Act of 2021 signed into law in Georgia on March 25. The bill, it is claimed, is modern voter suppression tantamount to a second Jim Crow. But, after having read the bill, I suspect that individuals making such assertions have not actually done the same.
If you have heard of the bill, it has likely been under a headline that reads something like, “Racist Georgia Bill Denies Water to Voters.” Such a statement is grossly erroneous. The bill specifically states that poll workers may “mak[e] available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote” (33.3). The statement that people may not give “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector” (33.a) is in the context of an individual doing so so as to solicit votes. The media pundits, however, won’t tell you this. If you don’t believe me, check the bill: Section 33, Article A.
The bill, moreover, attempts to ease voter discomfort by shortening lines and waiting times. It does this by allowing either for the division of precincts of 2,000 or more voters if voters in such precincts have to wait in line at the poll for longer than an hour or for the supplying of the precinct with more voting equipment or poll workers. Surely, this cannot be described as discouraging voters from voting and forcing them to wait in long lines, can it?
Another complaint is that the bill closes polls at 5PM, before many people have gotten off of work. People who argue thusly fail to mention that this is applicable only for advance voting and that hours can be extended until 7PM. Notification of polling times and locations must be provided at least two weeks before advance voting begins, as well. If you can get to the dentist, the doctor’s, or the library before 5-7PM, then you can get to a polling place, too.
Some lament that drop boxes, while provided for in the bill, are not as prevalent as they would like. They fail to note that this actually makes voting easier in Georgia than it had previously been. Drop boxes did not exist in Georgia prior to the pandemic. The Georgia Assembly is, therefore, taking an extraordinary practice developed due to the extraordinary situation of the pandemic and extending it into non-pandemic times. Expansion of voting places equals voter suppression? Only on opposite day.
The final major complaint is of the age-old topic: voter I.D. In order to cast an absentee ballot in Georgia, an individual must prove identification verification, like a driver’s license or an I.D. card. Such a policy for absentee voting isn’t restrictive—it’s common sense. A fair election is one in which everyone who wants and is eligible to vote votes once and under their own name. The process of mailing a ballot to an individual is certainly apt to be exploited by the unscrupulous. Voter I.D. laws help rout out those who try to cheat the system, not prevent people of color from voting.
Every one of these policies applies to white people just as much as it does to people of color. Ultimately, those who claim that the bill is racist are themselves promoting a “soft” racism by implying that African Americans are less capable than people of other ethnicities of turning their paperwork in on time and being able to prove that they are who they say they are. The bill is meant to discourage voter fraud and establish a uniform election system so as to count votes accurately, securely, and swiftly. Can such a goal legitimately be described as racist?
The MLB seems to think so. Over Democrat backlash against the law, the MLB pulled its scheduled all-star game from Georgia and relocated it to Colorado. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred stated. His statement is wonderful, except for the fact that the bill at which it is aimed has nothing at all to do with setting up “restrictions to the ballot box.”
Sports exist to encourage athletic development, entertainment, and the unification of a people with goodwill. The international Olympics are a case in point. Sports are now, however, becoming leftist tools caving to small but vocal mobs to contradict the entirely reasonable will of a democratically elected assembly and governor.
Senator Marco Rubio wrote to Commissioner Manfred to point out an interesting hypocrisy. “Will Major League Baseball,” he wrote, “now end its engagement with nations that do not hold elections at all like China and Cuba? Will you end your lucrative financial relationship with Tencent, a company with deep ties to the Communist Party and actively helps the Chinese Government hunt down and silence political dissidents? Since Major League Baseball now appears eager to use its “platform” to demonstrate “unwavering support” for fundamental human rights, will you cease your relationship with the Chinese Government, which at this very moment is committing genocide against the Uyghurs Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)?”
The answer, Senator Rubio correctly decides, is, “No.” The MLB’s action, thusly, does not signal virtue. It signals nothing except, perhaps, that they might need to hire lawyers who can read a bill before they make a misguided decision. I suggest that, as the MLB relocates to Colorado, fair-minded MLB fans relocate from the MLB to sports organizations that do not make unfounded political judgments.
Ryan Ford '23,