Updated 12:23 p.m.
Major League Baseball will relocate the All-Star Game to Denver’s Coors Field after pulling this year’s Midsummer Classic from Atlanta over objections to sweeping changes to Georgia’s voting laws. The decision is a boon for both the Colorado Rockies and the state’s vaunted all-mail ballot system for voting.
Both national figures, and especially local election officials, like to use the term “gold standard” when they talk about how the Centennial State votes.
“Major League Baseball is grateful to the Rockies, the City of Denver and the State of Colorado for their support of this summer’s All-Star Game,” said commissioner Rober D. Manfred Jr. in a statement. “We appreciate their flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region.”
The Rockies were already in the pipeline for a future game and “when Major League Baseball reached out last week, we couldn't say no,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. The last time Denver hosted the game was in 1998. This year's game would only be the second time the classic has come to town.
Both the mayor and Gov. Jared Polis say the event will be a booster that could inject $190 million into the pandemic-scarred economy.
“This is a big relief win for our economy in Colorado,” Polis said. As he’s prone to do, the governor dropped lots of baseball metaphors in a news conference announcing the move, noting that the state “has really knocked one out of the park on this one.”
MLB pulled the July 13 game from Truist Park in Atlanta in response to Georgia voting rules that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed into law on March 25. Critics have condemned the changes as being too restrictive.
The sweeping rewrite of the state’s election rules represents the first big set of changes since former President Donald Trump’s repeated, baseless claims of fraud following his presidential loss to Joe Biden. Georgia has been at the center of that storm. Trump zeroed in on his loss in the state, even as two Democrats won election to the Senate in January, flipping control of the chamber.
Georgia’s new, 98-page law makes numerous changes to how elections will be administered, including a new photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail.
The gravitational push and pull of the former president’s claims have been felt in Colorado as well. Despite the fact that a state-mandated post-election audit of the results did not uncover any problems, a GOP-led committee held a meeting back in December citing “legitimate concerns” about the outcome — even as other Republicans defended how Colorado runs its elections.
Now that Coors Field is the official replacement landing spot, the new battleground seems to be the voting laws of Colorado.
Several Republicans have taken to social media to criticize Colorado’s election laws for being just as restrictive as Georgia’s. Most of the argument surrounds in-person voting, ignoring that Colorado conducts all-mail elections.