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A voter drops an election ballot off at the Pitkin County Administration box in Aspen, Colorado, on Nov. 6, 2018.Anna Stonehouse / The Aspen Times via AP

The glaring flaw in the GOP's new talking point on Georgia voting

The idea that that Colorado and Georgia are effectively the same in imposing voting restrictions is demonstrably ridiculous.


Major League Baseball recently pulled its All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia's new voter-suppression law. The exhibition will instead be played this year in Denver.

And that, evidently, gave some Republicans an idea for a new talking point. At a briefing today, for example, Fox News' White House correspondent asked:

"Is the White House concerned that Major League Baseball is moving its All-Star Game to Colorado, where voting regulations are very similar to Georgia?"

The premise of the question was, of course, false, but this is clearly the line of the day in GOP circles.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) argued this morning that Colorado has "even stricter voting regulations" than Georgia. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) published a related tweet, insisting the Colorado has fewer days of early voting than Georgia. Matt Whitlock, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, echoed a similar message.

Conservative media ran big headlines such as, "Colorado voting laws are similar to Georgia's despite decision to move Major League Baseball All-Star Game."

The point, of course, is unsubtle: all Georgia Republicans did was pass the same kind of voting regulations that are found in blue states like Colorado, but everyone's picking on them as part of a political vendetta, launched by rascally Democrats and meanies in Corporate America. The fact that the All-Star Game is headed to Denver, the argument goes, proves just how unfair it is to punish the poor, picked on Georgia GOP.

This is, in reality, spectacularly wrong.

Colorado's voting laws have effectively nothing in common with Georgia's newly revised system. In Colorado, for example, every eligible voter is automatically mailed a ballot, which Coloradans are free to return via mail or through drop boxes located throughout the state. The Rocky Mountain State has also automatic voter registration, and same-day registration for both in-person voters who choose to vote early or on Election Day.

Are these election laws "very similar" to Georgia's? Not even a little. In Georgia, it is now illegal to send every eligible voter a ballot. Georgia Republicans have also made it harder to request mail ballots, cast mail ballots, and use drop boxes. Georgia has neither automatic voter registration nor same-day registration.

Yes, Colorado does have voter ID, as does Georgia, but as a Washington Post analysis explained, Colorado's law is "not as stringent as many critics have suggested, or as stringent as what Georgia has and will have."

Colorado has what the National Conference of State Legislatures calls a "non-strict" voter ID law for in-person early voting. Voters can produce a number of different types of ID, including ones without photos. And if they don't have ID, they can vote via provisional ballot, at which time elections officials are charged with verifying their eligibility. Georgia's in-person ID requirement, by contrast, is a "strict" law, requiring photo ID.

Finally, let's not forget that Georgia's new law deliberately strips power from local election officials. As a Vox explainer recently noted, "The [state election board], which now will be fully controlled by the Republican legislative majority, is unilaterally empowered to take over (among other things) the process of disqualifying ballots across the state. Given that Georgia Republicans have helped promote false allegations of voter fraud, it's easy to see why handing them so much power over local election authorities is so worrying."

Lauren Groh-Wargo, executive director of Atlanta-based Fair Fight Action, the voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, told reporters, "It will make what we all lived through in 2020 child's play. Donald Trump won't have to strong-arm our election administrators. The most radical fringes of the Republican Party sitting in the state legislature will be able to wipe out boards of elections."

Is there something comparable in Colorado? Of course not.

The idea that that the two states are effectively the same in imposing voting restrictions, and that Major League Baseball is guilty of hypocrisy, is demonstrably ridiculous.

Either the Republicans pushing this didn't familiarize themselves with the basic details, or they know the comparison is absurd and they're hoping to fool people. Either way, this isn't a talking point to be taken seriously.