The bill was passed by Georgia’s Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) at the end of last month. Now, the GOP machine is scrambling to defend the action the prompted the move — and its mouthpieces have chosen to lie, loudly and repeatedly, about Colorado’s voting system.
On Tuesday, Republican politicians and conservative outlets alike claimed that Colorado’s and Georgia’s voting laws are actually quite similar. Fox News went further, suggesting that Colorado’s laws may actually be more restrictive. Even the smallest amount of research exposes these claims as clearly false.
The basis of the argument here is that if Colorado’s laws are just as bad as Georgia’s now are — they aren’t — then Georgia shouldn’t be punished for its Republican-backed voting restrictions. Republican legislators argue that the real enemy is the MLB, for caving to what Kemp lazily dismissed as “the ‘woke’ mob’s lies.”
But when it comes to election laws, Colorado and Georgia aren’t even in the same ballpark.
“Colorado’s election model works,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold told HuffPost in an emailed statement, pointing to the state’s consistently high voter turnout as proof.
“We mail ballots to all voters, have early voting, and same day voter registration. Voters can participate easily in our elections, which are also the most secure in the nation. Election accessibility and security can go hand-in-hand.”
Here’s a rundown on some of the broad differences between the two states’ voting laws:
Colorado has universal mail-in voting, which means every registered voter gets a ballot in the mail two to three weeks before each election. Once completed, the ballot can be mailed back or dropped off at one of 368 drop boxes, which are accessible ― and surveilled ― 24 hours a day. In 2020, there was roughly one drop box per 9,400 voters and 94% of Coloradans voted this way.
In Georgia, absentee ballots are only supplied to voters who apply for one, and under the new law, it’s illegal for election officials to send absentee ballot applications to voters unless they explicitly request them. Georgians who do obtain an absentee ballot will have a more difficult time dropping it off: The new law limits drop boxes to one per 100,000 active registered voters per county, and they’re only accessible during business hours. (In 2020, the core Atlanta metropolitan area had 94 drop boxes. The new law cuts that to a maximum of 23 boxes, a New York Times analysis found.)
Fox News’ reporting on the topic yesterday repeatedly failed to mention this very large, crucial difference. One story — topped by a grossly misleading headline — posited that Colorado’s rules may actually be “more restrictive” than Georgia’s.
Both states require voters to prove they are who they say they are. But Colorado makes it much easier to do so.
In Colorado, those who are among the 6% of voters who go to the polls in person can use one of 16 different forms of identification, ranging from driver’s licenses and passports to current utility bills and valid Medicare cards. People voting by mail for the first time must also provide ID; that requirement is dropped with subsequent mail-in ballots, which are verified via signature.
Georgia voters, meanwhile, must show a photo ID when voting in person. Those who cast an absentee ballot must now also provide identification where a signature sufficed in the past, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a photo ID.
Sean Spicer, former President Donald Trump’s first press secretary, tweeted a screenshot of six of Colorado’s 16 acceptable forms of ID — and presented them as the entire list:
Colorado offers 15 in-person early voting days compared to Georgia’s 17. But since 94% of Coloradans vote by mail, this is a moot point.
A breakdown of the numbers by The Colorado Sun shows that 198,645 Coloradans voted in-person across 15 days, compared to more than 2.7 million Georgians across a slightly longer timeframe.
Long lines to access polling locations of the sort seen across Georgia are almost unheard of in Colorado.
Kemp drew an apples-to-apples comparison of the two states’ early voting periods, neglecting to mention Colorado’s universal vote-by-mail system. And the Georgia governor earned bonus points for accusing “cancel culture” of ignoring the facts — while he himself willfully ignored the facts: