Major League Baseball decided to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Truist Park in Cobb County in response to the "Election Integrity Act of 2021." Less than one week later, MLB officially made Coors Field in Denver the game's new home.
In the wake of the decision, Gov. Brian Kemp criticized the MLB for a "hypocritical" decision to move the game to a state that he said has similar voting laws. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pushed back against the notion Colorado is more or as restrictive as Georgia when it comes to elections.
How do the election laws in Georgia and Colorado actually compare?
Voter ID: Georgia vs. Colorado
According to Colorado's Secretary of State office, electors require identification when voting in person, and "if voting by mail for the first time," electors may need to provide a photocopy of acceptable ID.
Acceptable ID is also required to register in Colorado with county clerks providing instructions about the ID requirements with ballots. Colorado voters can register through election day. Georgia's deadline to register to vote in 2021 General Election is October 4.
Perhaps Kemp's chief complaint with MLB's decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game to Coors Field centered around Colorado's requirement for electors to provide identification when voting in person or by mail.
Georgia's election law now requires any person applying to vote absentee-by-mail must "affix a photocopy or electronic image of such identification."
Early voting: Georgia vs. Colorado
Under Georgia's "Election Integrity Act of 2021," Georgia mandated two Saturday early voting days and two optional Sundays.
This is an increase in access; Georgia counties were previously required to conduct early voting on the second Saturday prior to an election.
The new law, however, reduced the early voting time prior to runoff elections for federal positions, which must start "as soon as possible," but no later than the second Monday prior to an election. Runoff elections for federal offices previously began the fourth Monday prior to election day.
Kemp said Georgia has more in-person early voting days (17) than Colorado (15) with the addition of mandatory weekend voting.
Vote by mail/no-excuse absentee voting
One of the primary differences between elections in Colorado and other states is the vast majority of Colorado's electors vote by mail. State data showed 99.3% of voters cast ballots by mail in the 2020 primary.
Neither requires absentee electors to provide an excuse to vote by mail, with Georgia law stating electors "shall not be required to provide a reason in order to cast an absentee ballot in any primary, election, or runoff."
Georgia's new law reduced the number of days electors have to request absentee ballots and made the deadline to submit applications earlier. The earliest an absentee ballot may be requested in Georgia is 78 days (less than the previous 180 days) prior to an election and the application must be received 11 days prior to an election.
Kemp said this change accommodates requests of local election offices, which were inundated with ballots during the pandemic.
Georgia also prohibits absentee ballot applications from being mailed to all voters. SB 202 amended laws to state "neither the Secretary of State, election superintendent, board of registrars, other governmental entity, nor employee or agent thereof shall send absentee ballot applications directly to any elector except upon request." SB 202 states "clarifying the rules regarding absentee ballot applications will build elector confidence while not sacrificing the opportunities for electors to participate in the process."
By contrast, Colorado mails ballots to all registered voters. Mail ballots must be received by the county clerk and recorder no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.
With regards to drop boxes, Colorado's locations are open and are under constant video surveillance and provided one drop box for approximately every 9,400 Colorado active registered voters during the 2020 election.
While SB 202 now codifies drop boxes in all counties, where it was previously only an emergency measure, Georgia's new law limited drop box availability to match early voting hours. It also states total drop-box locations must equal the lesser of one for every 100,000 active registered voters in the county or the number of advance voting locations in the county.
Polling place restrictions
Georgia's limitation on providing refreshments to voters waiting in line has been publicly criticized. SB 202 states no person may offer material, including food or drink, to an elector within 150 feet of a polling place or 25 feet of someone standing in line.
Kemp has stated election workers are allowed to provide refreshments and outside groups can distribute refreshments to voters outside of the prohibited area. Kemp even went as far as claiming a voter can order a pizza in line, the legality of which is ambiguous.
Colorado allows "comfort teams" to offer water, snacks and other items to voters who are waiting to vote as long as they are not campaigning within 100 feet of the polling place.
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