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With All-Star Game pulled out of Georgia over voting law, Rep. Jayapal suggests Seattle step in

Seattle's T-Mobile Park. (Getty Images)

Last week, Major League Baseball announced that it would no longer be holding its annual All-Star Game in Atlanta, in response to a controversial voting bill passed by the Georgia General Assembly, and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp. With the location of the game now up in the air, Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal thinks Seattle may be the perfect alternative.

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The law reduces the window Georgia voters can request ballots by mail, enacts stringent ID requirements for mail-in voting, limits the number of ballot drop boxes permitted during early voting periods, affords more power to state lawmakers over county and local elections, and bans people from handing out food or water to voters in line within 150 feet of polling places.

Georgia Republicans like Gov. Kemp have defended the bill by claiming “it expands access” to voting, while critics have labeled it as a targeted voter suppression initiative akin to “Jim Crow 2.0.”

That saw MLB siding with voting rights advocates and announcing its decision last Friday not to hold 2021’s All-Star Game in Atlanta, stating that it “supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

Democratic Washington Rep. Jayapal responded to MLB’s decision on Sunday, touting her state’s automatic voter registration, universal vote-by-mail system, and high turnout levels in recent elections.

“We want people to vote — and they do!” she said. “Voter turnout was 84% in the last election. So bring the All-Star Game to the home of the Mariners.”

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She reiterated that stance on Monday as well, noting that Seattle is both “a great place to vote and a great place to play baseball.”

Prior to the last presidential election, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman reported that her office fielded calls from officials in numerous states, asking for insight on how to best implement a vote-by-mail system, all sparked by concerns over in-person voting amid the ongoing pandemic.

The vote-by-mail option first became law in Washington state in 2005. Under Wyman’s guidance, the system has been expanded to include fully paid postage, a wide network of ballot drop boxes, and added cybersecurity protections.

The last Major League Baseball All-Star Game held in Seattle was in 2001, in a matchup that infamously ended in a tie between the American and National League.

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