Politics

Colorado’s voting laws are nothing more restrictive than the laws of Georgia

Misinformation about Colorado election laws is spreading over social media after Major League Baseball She decided to transfer her all-star game To Denver from Georgia.

The association made the decision after the Georgia legislature It reformed its electoral laws In ways that many critics argue will make voting more difficult, especially for people of color and low-income neighborhoods.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred described moving the Midsummer Classic as “the best way to demonstrate our values ​​as a sport,” according to ESPN. Republican governor of Georgia. Brian Kemp responded Again and again – and a mistake – saying Colorado’s voter laws are more restrictive than the laws of Georgia.

The Colorado Sun has analyzed some of the claims made in recent days by comparing the two states’ voting laws. This is what we found.

Voting before election day and polling by mail

Colorado, whose voting system has been praised by Democrats and Republicans, has 15 days of early personal voting compared to 17 days in Georgia. But there is much more to the story than two days.

For example, Colorado automatically mails a ballot to every registered active voter 22 days before Election Day in an “all options” voting system, according to Boulder County writer and recorder Molly Fitzpatrick. This means that voters can cast their ballots by mail, by returning their ballot papers to a drop box or voting in person.

“By treating every voter the same, and by sending each voter a ballot in the mail, that is one of the biggest things that stir the will,” Fitzpatrick said.

Colorado voters cast their ballots in the primary in downtown Denver, June 30, 2020 (Jesse Ball, Colorado Sun)

By contrast, voters in Georgia must request an absentee ballot if they do not plan to vote in person. The New state voting law Reducing by more than half the period during which voters can request an absentee ballot to less than three months from more than six months.

Georgia election officials are also now banned from automatically mailing absentee ballots to all voters.

The availability of mailed or delivered ballot papers also affects the number of people who go to the physical polling places.

Roughly 94% of Colorado residents voted by mail or drop box in the 2020 elections, while a third of Georgia voters cast their votes by mail. For numerical comparison, this is 198,645 Coloradin residents voting personally versus More than 2.7 million Georgians. This often results in long lines at polling stations in Georgia – something rarely seen in Colorado.

In other words, providing two additional days of in-person polling for hundreds of thousands of voters is a “false equivalent,” as Tami Patrick put it, Senior advisor to Democracy FundIt is a non-partisan institution that, among other things, calls for free and fair elections.

Voter Identity Laws

Both Colorado and Georgia require some form of identification to cast their votes. However, Colorado makes it a lot easier.

Colorado personal voters must show identification cards to vote. This could be a traditional state-issued ID card or passport, or they can Submit another document To prove their identity and residency in Colorado, such as a birth certificate, bank statement, utility bill, or employee or student ID card.

Colorado first-time voters who vote by mail or drop their ballot papers may have to include a copy of an identification form if they do not register with an ID.

In Georgia, voters who cast their ballots in person must demonstrate some form of personal identity.

New Georgia Law Voters presenting an absentee ballot – also known as mail ballots – are now required to always present a copy of their identification form, although it does not necessarily have to be a photo ID.

Other major differences are in the voting law

Georgia’s new voting law reduces the number of ballot boxes to one for every 100,000 county voters, or one for each early polling site, whichever is less. For example, if a county had five polling sites but only 300,000 voters, it would only be allowed to have three drop boxes.

“He misses the lack of services,” said Patrick, who works as an advisor to the election team at the Democracy Fund.

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In contrast, Colorado has a minimum requirement for the number of drop boxes per county. Depending on the population of the county, there should be one drop box for every 12,500 to 15,000 voters.

Meanwhile, Colorado state allows voters to register on the same day they vote, including election day. Georgia does not.

Georgia’s new law prohibits people from giving “any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink” to anyone standing in line to vote. Colorado has election campaign laws that prohibit people from trying to influence voter decisions near polling places and polling stations, but there is no ban on serving people food and drink.

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