Why Georgia’s Voting Laws Are Not Like Colorado’s

  • Politics
  • Why Georgia’s Voting Laws Are Not Like Colorado’s

After Major League Baseball announced recently that it would move the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of new voting restrictions in Georgia, numerous prominent Republicans accused it of hypocrisy.

“Georgia has 17 days of in-person early voting, including two optional Sundays; Colorado has 15,” Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia told Fox News. “So what I’m being told, they also have a photo ID requirement. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina made a similar argument in a widely circulated post on Twitter.

But while the 15-day and 17-day numbers are accurate, the overall comparison is not. Here are four key differences between Colorado’s and Georgia’s systems.

  • In Colorado, every registered voter receives a mail ballot by default.

    In Georgia, people who want to vote by mail must apply, and the new law more than halves the time they have to do that: Previously, they could apply as much as 180 days before an election, but now no more than 78 days before. Georgia also forbids officials to send voters an absentee ballot application unless they request it.

  • In Colorado, eligible voters can register anytime, including on Election Day.

    In Georgia, the deadline to register to vote is a month before Election Day, and under the new law, the same deadline applies to any runoff — meaning if a Georgian is not registered by the deadline for the first election, they cannot subsequently register to vote in the runoff.

  • In Colorado, only newly registered voters have to provide identification with their mail-in ballot; for subsequent elections, all that’s required is their signature. And contrary to Mr. Kemp’s statement, there is no photo requirement: Voters can use a birth certificate, a naturalization document, a Medicare or Medicaid card, a utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck or another government document that shows their name and address.

    In Georgia, only photo identification is acceptable for regular mail-in ballots, and it has to be one of six specific types. The requirement will apply to everyone who votes by mail, not just to newly registered voters as in Colorado.

  • In Colorado, there were 368 ballot drop boxes last year across the state’s 64 counties, not just in government buildings but also at schools, parks, libraries, businesses and more. Boxes were open 24 hours a day.

    In Georgia, the new law requires at least one drop box in each of the 159 counties. (Mr. Kemp and other officials note that before the pandemic, Georgia didn’t have drop boxes at all.) The boxes will be only at registrars’ and absentee ballot clerks’ offices or inside early-voting sites, and open during limited hours.

In 2020, Colorado had the second-highest turnout rate in the country: 76.4 percent of eligible voters, behind only Minnesota, according to data compiled by the United States Elections Project. Georgia was 26th, with a turnout rate of 67.7 percent of eligible voters.

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