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Colorado, Site of New MLB All-Star Game, Has More Restrictive Voting Laws Than Georgia

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Major League Baseball (MLB) plans to move the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of Georgia’s new restrictive voting laws, despite Colorado, in some cases, having more stringent laws.

“Georgia has 17 days of in-person early voting including two optional Sundays, Colorado has 15,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp told Fox News on Tuesday. “So what I’m being told, they also have a photo ID requirement. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.”

A voter ID requirement for absentee ballots is one of the new provisions mandated by Georgia’s legislation, SB202, which Kemp signed into law on March 25. The law also calls for fewer ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to bring food or water to voters waiting in line to cast ballots.

The bill enraged Democrats, and activists and corporations immediately advocated against the bill, with companies like Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines issuing statements against it. President Joe Biden said to ESPN on Wednesday that he would “strongly support” the MLB moving the game.

Major League Baseball is moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver over Georgia’s new voting laws, but Colorado’s laws are even more restrictive in some cases. In the photo, the All-Star Game logo is covered on the right sleeve of Braves manager Brian Snitker during a game against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on April 4, 2021.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In a statement Friday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said after “thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance” it was decided “best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”

“Yesterday, Major League Baseball caved to fear and lies from liberal activists,” Kemp said in a press conference Monday. He added that if Democrats and activists “cared” about voting rights, MLB would have chosen to move its headquarters from New York yesterday on the grounds of voting rights. Kemp cited that the state of New York has only 10 days of early voting and voters must have an excuse to cast an absentee ballot while Georgians can vote absentee for any reason and have 17 days of early voting.

MLB has not officially announced the move to Denver, but the Associated Press broke the news Tuesday that the July 13 game is to be relocated to Coors Field. Colorado Politics reported that Democratic lawmakers immediately celebrated the news.

“A beautiful ballpark in a state whose voting system is designed to enable safe, secure, and easy-to-use voting,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a tweet.

A beautiful ballpark in a state whose voting system is designed to enable safe, secure, and easy-to-use voting. Welcome @MLB to #MileHigh. https://t.co/1wNEqle2r6

— Phil Weiser (@pweiser) April 6, 2021

But to Republicans like Kemp, Democrats’ actions are “so hypocritical” given other states’ similar, and even more restrictive, voting laws. To Fox News, he called out Biden for making an appearance at the NCAA championship game in Indiana, “the birthplace for the photo ID requirement.”

In the case of Colorado and Georgia, both states require voters to show an ID when voting in person, although Georgia also requires a proof of identity to verify absentee votes. Voters in Georgia who don’t have an ID can use a bank statement, utility bill, Social Security number or another government document with their name on it instead, according to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Georgia: Voter ID, 17 days of early voting.
Colorado: Voter ID, 15 days of early voting.

Atlanta is 51% Black.
Denver is 9.2% Black.

The @MLB is moving the #MLBAllStarGame out of ATL which has more day-of voting rights than CO?

The Wokes are at it again, folks.

— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) April 6, 2021

Colorado also still relies on signature-matching to verify absentee ballots, a practice Georgia abandoned. Colorado Public Radio reported that ballots rejected because of signature discrepancies are most likely to impact young voters or voters from counties with a high number of non-white residents.

Colorado also sends absentee ballots to all registered voters while Georgia sends ballots only if requested to make sure ballots are sent to incorrect addresses or to people who are no longer eligible.

Georgia’s laws also provide more early-voting opportunities, a practice known to directly impact how many minorities can access the polls. The Washington Post reported that because the costs of voting are higher for minorities, they are the largest beneficiaries of early voting opportunities. Colorado has a much smaller Black population than Georgia, about 9 percent versus 51 percent. But Colorado permits two fewer days of early voting than Georgia’s 17.

MLB is moving the allstar game to Colorado, which requires photo ID to vote in person, requires signature verification for mail in ballots (which Georgia got rid of), and prevents campaign workers from giving food/water to voters within 100 ft if they’re wearing campaign apparel pic.twitter.com/HwYByz0ye3

— Greg Price (@greg_price11) April 6, 2021

“The @MLB is moving the #MLBAllStarGame out of ATL which has more day-of voting rights than CO?” Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina said in a tweet Tuesday. “The Wokes are at it again, folks.”

Another point of criticism is Georgia’s criminalization of bringing food and water to those waiting in line to vote. Colorado does allow these “comfort teams” but prohibits them from giving water or snacks if they’re wearing apparel associated with a political party, candidate or ballot issue, according to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

The Liberty Buzz reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado and Kemp for comment but did not receive replies in time for publication.

Update: This story has been updated to include comments from Kemp’s press conference.

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