More Psaki: Sorry, Colorado's voting laws aren't "very similar" to Georgia's

It pains me to say it but she’s right, on more than one point. Ed had fun this morning with the ways in which the new law in Georgia is more liberal than election laws in Colorado, which will now host the MLB All-Star Game. Georgia has two more days of early voting than Colorado does and both states require some form of voter ID. Republican pols are making the same points:

Who can blame them? The fact that two liberal hotbeds like New York and Delaware, the home state of America’s Democratic president, really do have much more restrictive voting laws than Georgia has been an irresistible counterargument to the left’s “Jim Crow” nonsense this week. It was inevitable that similar comparisons would be drawn between Georgia and Colorado, to prove that MLB is guilty of the same hypocrisy and myopia about Georgia.

But it doesn’t wash in this case. And it makes sense that it doesn’t: Obviously, MLB knew that the voting laws in the state that got the All-Star Game after it was yanked from Atlanta would be closely scrutinized by the GOP. If they moved the game to a state with laws like Delaware’s, righties would have dined out on it for months. The legislature in that state would have come under tremendous pressure to liberalize its laws immediately, so that they compare favorably to Georgia’s. It would have been a fiasco. Baseball needed a state where it could easily argue that it’s much simpler to vote there already than it is in Georgia.

And in Colorado, they found one. Watch, then read on.

The best use of your time from this point on is to just read this short but sharp explainer on the differences between Colorado’s and Georgia’s election regimes. The big takeaway is simple, though: Colorado mails every voter a ballot and encourages them to vote from the comfort of their own home. You don’t need to request a ballot application, then fill that in and send it in to receive a ballot. On its own initiative, the state sends you an actual ballot a few weeks before Election Day. You make your choice, drop it in the mail, and you’re done. If you prefer voting in person for whatever weird reason, whether early or on Election Day, they give you that option too. But 99 percent(!) of Colorado voters used mail in the primary last year. And mail is so easy and convenient that they’re doing massive turnout relative to other states, with 87 percent of registered voters having cast a ballot last fall.

Georgia allows voting by mail too, of course — and you don’t need an excuse, like you need in New York — but they don’t automatically send you a ballot. You have to make the request, and the time you’re given to make that request got a little shorter under the new law, not longer. And while Georgia kept drop boxes in its new law, it offers far fewer of them than Colorado does.

The “voter ID” comparison is more complicated than it appears too. Yes, Colorado requires ID, but not necessarily photo ID:

Georgia accepts six different forms of ID when voting in person. Colorado accepts 16. And again, that’s only if you choose not to use the ballot mailed to your home. You don’t need ID for that either; Colorado still uses signature matching to verify a ballot’s authenticity, which Georgia also used last year before moving to ID numbers for ballots in the new law.

Colorado’s even a bit more liberal about handing out food and water to voters on line than Georgia is. According to CPR, “comfort teams” are allowed to do it provided they don’t electioneer by promoting some cause or candidate.

So Psaki’s right about the laws not being very similar, just as she’s right about what motivated Georgia to overhaul its law in the first place. That was the state’s response to the Big Lie of “stop the steal” and the persistent belief among GOP voters that cheating explains the result of the state’s presidential and Senate races. The Republican legislature couldn’t sit by and leave the old law untouched after months of propaganda about fraud; they had to do something, although what they ended up doing is far less draconian than it’s been cracked to be by lefty critics. The telltale sign of motive in the law was demoting the secretary of state from his role as chairman of the State Election Board and replacing him with an official appointed by the state legislature, which may be nothing more than a slap at Brad Raffensperger for having refused to bow to pressure from Trump or may be a more sinister play to make it easier to overturn county results in the next election. Either way, citing the dubious motive for “election reform” is a wise and accurate play by Psaki. More so than shrieking about “Jim Crow” is, for sure.

I’ve seen two Twitter pals ask this question today so I’ll offer it to you in closing, as a turnabout of the stunt Georgia legislator Wes Cantrell pulled yesterday. If Colorado’s and Georgia’s election laws are “very similar,” why not have Georgia adopt the same rules as Colorado?