Illinois ‘Would Welcome' MLB All-Star Game, Pritzker Says

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Following Major League Baseball’s decision to yank the All-Star Game from Atlanta in objection to a controversial new voting law, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker floated the possibility of having the game in the state.

"...Our baseball stadiums are among the most storied in the world," Pritzker said in a tweet Friday afternoon. "We would welcome the All-Star Game safely and enthusiastically."

The decision to pull the July 13 game from Atlanta’s Truist Park amounts to the first economic backlash against Georgia for the voting law that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed into law March 25.

Pritzker added he applauds MLB's decision, adding Illinois "just expanded voting access because we want everyone who is eligible to vote to have their voice heard."

Kemp has insisted the law’s critics have mischaracterized what it does, yet GOP lawmakers adopted the changes largely in response to false claims of fraud in the 2020 elections by former President Donald Trump and his supporters. The law includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.

Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately affect communities of color.

The new Georgia law adds strict identification requirements for voting absentee by mail, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to hand out food or water to voters waiting in line, among many other provisions. Georgia Republicans say changes were needed to maintain voter confidence in the election system.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and the amateur draft from Atlanta after discussions with the Major League Baseball Players Association, individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd last year, the commissioner said in a statement. A new ballpark for the events wasn’t immediately revealed.

“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB draft,” Manfred said. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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