Calls growing for major events to pull out of Georgia in response to voting law

A tradition unlike any other, the Masters tournament at Augusta National is only two weeks away. But like other organizations, Augusta National is finding itself in the middle of a political firestorm.

The National Black Justice Coalition is calling on PGA officials to not have the tournament in Georgia and urging players to boycott in wake of Georgia’s new voting laws.

“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,” NBJC Executive Director David J. Johns said.

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It’s not the only recent call for major events and companies to pull out of the Peach State. The MLB Players Association executive director said he would look forward to discussions surrounding the Atlanta Braves hosting the All-Star Game in July.

“Players are very much aware of the Georgia voting bill, which places restrictions on voting that some believe will make it particularly difficult for Black voters to reach the polls,” Tony Clark told the Boston Globe. “As it relates to the All-Star Game, we have not had a conversation with the league on that issue. If there is an opportunity to, we would look forward to having that conversation.”

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden reached out to the Braves and Augusta National but has not received a response from either as of Sunday night.

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Several protests have been held over the past few days after Gov. Brian Kemp signed the controversial voting bill into law on Thursday.

The new law expands early voting, but requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail and codifies ballot drop boxes.

The law also gives the state a greater power and influence over elections boards that oversee county elections and criminalizes passing out food and water in voting lines within 150 feet of a polling place.

Kemp, along with other Republican supporters, said the new law is aimed at preventing voter fraud and is necessary to restore voters’ confidence.

However, opponents said it’s all about voter suppression that targets Black and poor communities. The law is already facing a court challenge from several voting rights groups.

Seiden reached out to several companies based in metro Atlanta.

“We believe that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure and support broad voter participation. We’ll continue to work to ensure our associates, both in Georgia and across the country, have the information and resources to vote. For example, we promoted voter participation in the last election through our internal Get Out The Vote initiative, confirming 15,500 voter registrations among our associates. In addition, we matched more than 1,800 associates with local opportunities to volunteer at polling locations across the country, including 600 technology worker volunteers in Atlanta to support complex technology issues and cybersecurity related to the election. We also donated 9,200 plexiglass dividers across Georgia to help meet poll station safety requirements,” The Home Depot said in a statement.

Delta Air Lines also sent Channel 2 a statement.

“Delta believes that full and equal access to voting is a fundamental right for all citizens. Over the past several weeks, Delta engaged extensively with state elected officials in both parties to express our strong view that Georgia must have a fair and secure election process, with broad voter participation and equal access to the polls. The legislation signed this week improved considerably during the legislative process, and expands weekend voting, codifies Sunday voting and protects a voter’s ability to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason. For the first time, drop boxes have also been authorized for all counties statewide and poll workers will be allowed to work across county lines. Nonetheless, we understand concerns remain over other provisions in the legislation, and there continues to be work ahead in this important effort. We are committed to continuing to listen to our people and our communities, and engage with leaders from both parties to ensure every eligible employee and Georgia voter can exercise their right to vote.”

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