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When Major League Baseball decided to move the All-Star Game to Denver, it was a moment of celebration for many Colorado politicians.
MLB had withdrawn the game from Atlanta in response to criticism of Georgia’s new voting law. The choice of Coors Field as the new site was considered by Colorado lawmakers as another validation of Colorado’s reputation for having some of the country’s most accessible and safe choices.
But the movement quickly met a new conservative point: States are not that different, Republican lawmakers argued. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told Fox News that the change “does not make much sense,” arguing that Colorado has equally restrictive laws.
He and others pointed out that Georgia offers voters 17 days of personal voting early, while Colorado only has 15 of those personal days.
“So hypocritical,” Kemp said. Senator Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, posted a similar message on Twitter.
Why Colorado has fewer personal voting days
However, there is one big difference between the states: Colorado votes by mail. Each registered voter receives a vote approx. 15 to 20 days before the election. And instead of waiting in line at a polling station, the vast majority simply drop the ballot in a mailbox or a safe dropbox.
According to the Secretary of State, 99.3% of Colorado’s primary voters used one of these methods last year.
So while it is true that Colorado has fewer days for personal voting, it also has far less demand for personal voting. Voters rarely encounter lines here. And the ultimate result of Colorado’s system is relatively high turnout.
Georgia’s new law moves the state away from Colorado’s vote-by-post approach and pushes more voters to turn up in person. Under the new law, election officials in Georgia can e.g. Only send absence requests out to voters who individually request it, which closes an approach to encourage voting by mail. And voters will have a shorter window to ask for these ballots. (Georgia sent absenteeism requests to millions of voters in the 2020 primary, even though they had not requested it, to encourage absenteeism during the pandemic.)
Georgia law also bans mobile polling stations, and it strictly restricts the use of dropboxes. This is another area where Colorado is moving in the opposite direction. Colorado had one dropbox per. 9,400 active registered voters for the last election, where the Secretary of State boasted of adding a number of new seats in the last few years.
In Georgia, it is limited to one box per. 100,000 active registered voters. The Metropolitan Atlanta area could see its number of dropboxes drop from 94 to 23, The New York Times reported. And instead of being outdoors with 24-hour access, like many in Colorado, the Georgia boxes should be inside government buildings and polling stations.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s law adds an extra Saturday with early voting, but it limits the hours for the early voting days to 6 p.m. 7 to kl.
How states’ ID requirements are compared
Kemp and others have also said that Colorado requires photo identification to vote, which is false.
Colorado requires some form of ID when voters sign up for the first time and when voting in person. But the state accepts 16 different forms of identification. Options include regular identification cards such as driver’s licenses, U.S. passports or government employee IDs – but Colorado also accepts Medicare and Medicaid cards, college IDs, bills, bank statements and payslips.
Colorado does not require postal vote identification when a person is registered. Instead, the state sends a poll to the person’s home and then matches their signature to a database when the poll is returned.
In contrast, Georgia allows only six forms of ID for personal voting. And the state requires voters to provide a driver’s license number, a copy of a state card or a social security number every time they vote by mail.
Georgia allows first-time voters to use documents such as auxiliary papers, bank statements and government documents showing the person’s name and address as identification if they were unable to prove residency when they first applied to vote. But this option is only available for the first time the person votes in the state.
Water and food for the voters
Georgia law’s limits on food and water supplies near polling stations have become another focus of criticism. After the All-Star Game moved, viral tweets claimed that Colorado has the same restrictions, which is false.
In Georgia, the new law prohibits “any person” from distributing food or water within 150 feet of a polling station or within 25 feet of a voter queuing at a polling station. In Colorado, the state says “comfort teams” may provide food and water as long as they do not promote a political candidate or cause.
Colorado voters are also less likely to need nourishment while waiting to vote, as they rarely encounter lines. Georgia lawmakers have argued that polling workers can still set up water stations. They said the law should prevent campaigns from trying to influence voters with gifts.
A version of this story originally appeared at CPR.org.