Major League Baseball last week announced it was moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Georgia, citing concerns over the state’s new voting law that was passed in March. On Tuesday, MLB announced the midsummer classic would be played in Denver, Colorado.
The response over Denver hosting the All-Star Game was met with criticism from several Republican leaders who criticized the voting rules in Colorado. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) tweeted that Georgia has more days of in-person early voting than Colorado. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also tweeted the same statistic.
Are voting laws in Colorado as restrictive as in Georgia?
While the statistic tweeted by Sen. Scott and Gov. Kemp about early in-person voting days is accurate, Colorado has several options, from mail-in ballots being sent to all active registered voters, to greater access to drop boxes, to no photo identification requirement for in-person voting, that makes voting less restrictive than in Georgia.
WHAT WE FOUND
Georgia’s new voting law, known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021, was signed by Gov. Kemp on March 25. It was created following unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, voiced by former President Donald Trump during the 2020 presidential election, which current President Joe Biden won, including the state of Georgia.
Voters in Georgia must request an absentee mail-in ballot. As part of the new law, the earliest that request can be made is 78 days before the election. Previously, Georgia voters could request an absentee ballot 180 days before Election Day. In Colorado, voters don’t need to request a mail-in ballot. Ballots are mailed to every active registered voter starting 22 days before Election Day. While in-person early voting is limited in Colorado to 15 days, every active registered voter should receive their mail-in ballot 15 to 20 days before the election, according to the Colorado secretary of state’s website. Mail ballots accounted for 93.9% of votes cast in Colorado during the 2020 presidential election. In Georgia, absentee-by-mail ballots accounted for 26.3% of votes.
Another aspect of the new voting law in Georgia is the availability of drop off boxes. The new law states one drop box must be available in every county. One additional drop box can be added for every 100,000 active registered voters in the county or for every early voting location in the county, whichever number is less. During last year’s general election, Colorado's secretary of state said there were 368 ballot drop boxes across the state, equating to one drop box per 9,400 active registered voters.
Also, under Georgia’s new law, drop boxes must be inside an early voting location, and are open during hours at which early voting is allowed at the site. In Colorado, drop boxes are open 24 hours a day.
For in-person voting, Georgia accepts six forms of photo identification, including a driver’s license or U.S. passport. In Colorado, there are 16 acceptable forms of identification for in-person voting and not all of them are photo identification. Acceptable forms of non-photo identification include a current utility bill or bank statement that shows the name and address of the voter.
As part of the new law in Georgia, no one except poll workers can provide people waiting in line to vote with food or drinks. In Colorado, campaign workers, known as “comfort teams,” can offer water, snacks and other items to people waiting to vote, as long as they don’t campaign or wear apparel or accessories with the name or picture of a candidate, political party or ballot measure.
Also, in Colorado, people can register to vote and cast their ballot on Election Day. That is not the case in Georgia. In the upcoming 2021 general election, which takes place on Nov. 2, the last day to register to vote in Georgia is Oct. 4.
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