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A voter casts a ballot in a dropbox Nov. 3, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) A voter casts a ballot in a dropbox Nov. 3, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A voter casts a ballot in a dropbox Nov. 3, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg April 7, 2021

Tim Scott overlooks Colorado’s massive vote-by-mail system in Georgia comparison

If Your Time is short

  • Georgia’s new voting law requires at least 17 days of early in-person voting, while Colorado requires 15.

  • Colorado is a vote-by-mail state where 94% of ballots were mailed in.

  • Early in-person voting was used by about half of Georgia voters in November 2020, but just 3% of voters in Colorado.

  • Colorado allows voters to register right up to election day; Georgia ends registration about a month before election day.

Republicans are heaping scorn on Major League Baseball for moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of Georgia’s new voting laws.

MLB joined Georgia-based businesses like Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines in voicing its opposition to the legislation.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., took a swing at the league and the new game venue, tweeting that Georgia actually offers more days for early voting — 17, compared with Colorado’s 15 days.

"The MLB is moving the All Star Game out of Atlanta which has more day-of voting rights than Colorado?" Scott tweeted April 6, 2021.


Day-of voting rights refers to access to voting on Election Day, either in person or through dropboxes. On this issue, Scott is off the mark. Colorado allows election day registration, while in Georgia, registration closes about a month earlier. 

Colorado also makes greater use of dropboxes, keeping them open until the evening on election day for voters to submit their ballots. Under Georgia’s new law, drop boxes are pulled the Friday before the election.

Scott’s spokesperson Ken Farnaso said there was a "mistype" in the tweet, and it should have said "more days of voting rights." So we checked the claim on that basis, too, and found that he left out important context in comparing voting in Colorado with Georgia.

Number of early voting days

Georgia’s new law expanded early voting by one day. The rules already required early voting for three weeks before election day, but only required that local officials include a single Saturday in that period. The new law requires two Saturdays, so Scott’s figure of 17 days fits. And the law allows for as many as 19 days.

Colorado says that early voting centers must open 15 days before an election.

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"The point of the tweet was to show that Georgia has more days to vote in person than Colorado, contrary to the left’s narrative that it restricts early voting," Farnaso said.

Colorado uses an all-mail system

But Scott’s comparison overlooks that the two states run their elections in very different ways.

Colorado relies almost entirely on mail-in ballots. The state sends every registered voter a ballot, and all they have to do is fill it out and put it in the mail in time.

"Colorado has less of a need to rely on in-person voting than Georgia does because fewer of Colorado’s voters cast in-person votes," said University of Florida political science professor Michael McDonald.

Data from the last general elections in both states show 94% of Colorado voters cast their ballots by mail, while in Georgia, 26% did. As for early voting, 3% of Colorado voters used that option, compared with over half in Georgia.


"There are no reports of long voting lines in Colorado at the state’s vote centers, and the state has the second highest turnout rate in the country," McDonald said. "Compared to Georgia, there is less evidence of a need for Colorado to provide more voting options."

Our ruling

Scott cited the rules for early voting to say that Georgia has more days for in-person voting than Colorado.

But the comparison doesn’t account for Colorado’s universal vote-by-mail option. When 94% of voters mail their ballots, early voting days play a nominal role in elections. And in Colorado, voters have more options to register and use dropboxes on election day.

Scott’s claim has a thread of accuracy, but what it leaves out creates a misleading impression about how voting access compares in the two states.

We rate this Mostly False.

 

Our Sources

Tim Scott, tweet, April 6, 2021

Georgia Ballotpedia, Voting in Georgia, accessed April 6, 2021

Georgia Secretary of State, Vote early in person, accessed April 6, 2021

Georgia SB202, 2021

Washington Post, Expand access? A historic restriction? What the Georgia voting law really does., April 5, 2021

Colorado Ballotpedia, Voting in Colorado, accessed April 6, 2021

Colorado Department of State, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold Certifies the State’s 2020 General Election, Dec. 8, 2021

Georgia Secretary of State Elections Division, Absentee voter data, Nov. 16, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State, 2020 general election: Presidential, Nov. 20, 2020

Georgia Secretary of State, 2021 State Elections & Voter Registration Calendar, accessed April 7, 2021

National Council of State Legislatures, Same Day Voter Registration, Oct. 6, 2020

CNN, Fact check: Republicans falsely equate Georgia and Colorado election laws, April 7, 2021

NPR, Fact Check: How Colorado, Georgia Voting Laws Differ Despite Conservatives' Claims, April 7, 2021

Email exchange, Michael McDonald, professor of political science, University of Florida, April 6, 2021

 

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Tim Scott overlooks Colorado’s massive vote-by-mail system in Georgia comparison

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