FACT CHECK: Colorado’s Voting Laws Are More Restrictive Than Georgia’s

Major League Baseball announced on Monday that it would move its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in response to the voting laws passed in Georgia last month.

The move sparked a hue and cry among conservative voices.

Sen. Tim Scott argued that the MLB was, in actuality, moving to a venue that is even more restrictive. Colorado, after all, allows just 15 days of early voting, as compared to Georgia’s 17.

While others both in and outside of Congress proceeded to echo Sen. Scott’s thoughts, the senator offers a shallow analysis of voting rights, failing to make note of the other factors that inform accessibility and enfranchisement.

Georgia, for example, will prohibit state and local governments from mailing absentee applications unsolicited. Colorado, conversely, automatically sends absentee ballots to all active registered voters.

Colorado offers same-day registration, while Georgia’s deadline to register is the fifth Monday prior to Election Day.

Colorado made 397 drop boxes available in the last election, with 302 mandated by law. Counties that have more than 250,000 active registered voters must provide one drop box for every 12,500 voters, and in less populous parts of the state, one drop box per every 15,000 voters is required. Additionally, as previously noted, election officials are free to provide more drop boxes than are mandated by law, if they so desire.

Georgia, on the other hand, limits the establishment of drop boxes beyond the one mandated per county to one per 100,000 registered voters or one per polling location, whichever is fewer. And unlike Colorado’s drop boxes, which are monitored by surveillance video and available 24 hours per day, Georgia’s drop boxes are available only when early polling locations are open, and they close four days prior to the election.

To put these numbers into perspective, in a county of 250,001, Colorado would require at least 20 drop boxes, with the option to add more. In a county of similar size in Georgia, officials would be limited to no more than 3.

As far as identification is concerned, Georgia requires photo identification, while Colorado allows for various alternatives, such as birth certificates, current utility bills, bank statements, or government checks.

And Colorado allows for the distribution of food and drink by any donor so willing, with the proviso that he or she abstain from wearing candidate or party attire. Georgia, per contra, has disallowed the practice entirely.

So while it is the case that Georgia offers two days more of early voting than Colorado does, that is largely because, by way of universal mail-in voting, state law has rendered those early voting days superfluous.

For frame of reference, in 2020, Colorado voters cast 3,092,903 ballots by mail and just 198,645 in person. For those who did not major in math, that is 94 percent by mail. So the remaining 198,645 voters do not require as full a slate of early voting options as the 3,681,539 in-person Georgia voters do. Thus, the fact that Sen. Scott saw fit to single out this solitary aspect is of concern, not only because this cherry-picked fact is unrepresentative of the ease of voting in Colorado on the whole, but because it seems to be an argument advanced in bad faith, designed to elicit false outrage and to blind citizens to on-the-ground realities.

For these reasons, we rate this claim False.

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