MLB voting laws

In his latest article, opinion writer Ozioma Mgbahurike discusses the MLB's decision to cut ties with Georgia following the new voting laws and why corporations should follow suit. 

Every year in America, there's always an unnecessary debate over whether its citizens deserve the right to a free and fair election. Since the inception of the 15th Amendment, which gave Black men the right to vote, America has made it abundantly clear that voting is a right created exclusively to serve the wants and needs of elite white Americans. However, Major League Baseball's decision to move the All-Star Game from Georgia shows how corporations can be a force for freedom and equality for all Americans.

Republican politicians across the country are actively placing barriers on the number of people who can vote. Their justification is rooted in the myth that widespread voter fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election. What is most disturbing about this move is that they are the ones who started this lie of voter fraud. They sowed doubt in the hearts of Americans because they repeatedly said Democrats were cheating; now, they're enacting voter suppression laws to curb the lie they created.

 

If that sounds confusing, it's because it is. It appears that Republican politicians were insulted when Americans had the nerve to exercise their right to vote in record numbers and rightfully made Donald Trump a one-term president.

One act of voter disenfranchisement that has caught many headlines is Georgia's new voting law, recently signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. The bill, known as SB 202, is so anti-democratic that it begs the question, what decade is America living in?  The law has a ridiculous addition making it illegal to pass food and water to voters waiting in line, even though Georgia is known for its notoriously long lines in minority populated areas. You might ask, "How is Georgia able to do this in 2021 America?" Well, the answer lies in the U.S. Supreme Court’s dismissal of an essential portion of the Voting Rights Act. The Court concluded states do not need federal approval before making changes to their election procedures. It would be amazing to live in the fantasy of America being so progressive that certain sections of the Voting Rights Act are no longer necessary. However, this magical land isn't real, and the Court living in this fantasy is causing direct harm to citizens.

Unfortunately necessary, the new laws have created tension between corporations and the state of Georgia. So far, the most significant fallout is the MLB's response to the new voter suppression laws. It is a shame this had to happen because, as voting rights activist Stacey Abrams states, "Georgians targeted by voter suppression will hurt as opportunities go to other states." It is utterly unfair that the Republican Party’s evil actions will hurt everyone in the state, especially marginalized people.

In contrast, the boycott intends to pressure the state and hopefully force its hand to get rid of the law. Since the aftermath of America's racial reckoning concerning police brutality and all other forms of oppression last summer, we have witnessed many corporations commit to the fight toward equality for all Americans. There was some skepticism that it was all performative activism, but it's nice to see a major corporation like the MLB take serious action. Likewise, Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, issued a statement criticizing the voting laws signed by Kemp. In the statement, Bastian stated, "The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections." Although Bastian's critique didn't appear until calls to boycott Delta surfaced online, it's still good to see corporations taking actions against unjust laws.

The Republican Party, of course, objected to all the recent boycotts and cited "wokeness" as the issue plaguing Americans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in his response to the recent boycotts, stated, "Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order." Kelly Loeffler, former Republican senator for Georgia, issued a ridiculous statement attacking the MLB for meddling in politics rather than honoring baseball legend Hank Aaron. In response, Aaron's grandson, Raynal Aaron, told Loeffler to "keep my grandfather's name out of your mouth." Despite all the controversy surrounding the law signed, Kemp is still doubling down on his decision to suppress voters.

America can be an incredibly aggravating country if you are not a nondisabled, heterosexual, white man. There is a constant reminder that your existence is an insult to the country's foundations of white supremacy, and America will try everything to put you in your “rightful place.” By continually making our democracy more difficult for people to be involved in, the Republican Party has made it clear it really doesn’t care about this country anymore, and it’s about time to realize that there’s no compromise to be made with people who just don’t care. It will take serious action for them to act responsibly, and hopefully, MLB’s decision will start a snowball effect on the rest of the country.

Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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