Controversial Republican-backed reform of elections in Georgia is facing backlash, including calls to move major sporting events out of the state in protest.
The bill, which Gov. Brian Kemp signed on Thursday, includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run. Critics are calling the bill overly-restrictive and suppresses minority votes. The bill's backers frame it as a response to reassuring the public elections are safe.
Organizational leaders are calling for retribution in the form of revoking two of the major sporting events Georgia plans to host this year, The Masters and the MLB All-Star Game.
The Masters, set to begin April 8, is hosted annually at Augusta National Golf Course. The National Black Justice Coalition, a black and LGBTQ civil rights group, said in a statement professional golfers should refuse to play in Georgia until the law is repealed.
"The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country – and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law – but to also take action," David J. Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said.
The Boston Globe reported the Major League Baseball Players' Association is ready to discuss moving the 2021 MLB All-Star Game out of Cobb County-based Truist Park. A Thursday L.A. Times column called for the game to be moved.
The law is already facing legal backlash and Kemp has predicted protests and boycotts of major Georgia-based businesses, including Delta, Home Depot and Coca-Cola.
The changes to voting law in Georgia follow record-breaking turnout and Democratic victories in the presidential election and two U.S. Senate runoffs in the once reliably red state.
"After the November election last year, I knew, like so many of you, that significant reforms to our state elections were needed," said Kemp after signing the bill in in office
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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