White House backs off conservative argument over Georgia, Colorado voting laws amid MLB dispute

A dispute over voting laws in Georgia and Colorado arrived in the White House meeting room on Tuesday after the Major League Baseball announced a new location for the Game of the Stars.

Press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the decision to move the Midsummer Classic from Atlanta to Denver as a protest against the new voting laws in Georgia that would make it more difficult for many to vote.

“Is the White House concerned that Major League Baseball is moving its All-Star game to Colorado, where the voting rules are very similar to those in Georgia?” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked.

“Well, let me refute the first point you made,” said Psaki, before noting that Colorado allows registration on election day and offers voting by mail to all eligible residents.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki listens during a daily press conference at the White House's James Brady Press Room on April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki at the White House daily press conference on Tuesday. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

“I think it’s important to remember the context here,” added Psaki. “Georgia’s legislation is built on a lie. There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election; Georgia’s top Republican election officials have recognized this repeatedly in interviews. And finally, let me add one more thing: It is up to the Major League Baseball to determine where they are playing their All-Star game. “

Since the MLB announced that it would move its All-Star game to Denver in response to a set of new voting laws in Georgia passed by Republicans after defeats in the presidential election and two contests for the U.S. Senate, conservatives have argued that Colorado has already has voting laws in books that are similar to those in the State of Peach.

Voting groups say the new restrictions in Georgia will disproportionately affect the black community, which has helped to boost the Democratic’s recent election success in the state. Georgia, which Joe Biden narrowly won in November, was a focus of former President Donald Trump’s groundless accusation that the presidential election had been stolen from him.

Trump congratulated the Georgians for their new laws in a statement, saying: “They learned from the 2020 presidential election hoax, which can never happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been made before. “

After the MLB announced that Denver would host the All-Star Game, Senator Tim Scott, RS.C., tweeted: “Georgia: Voter ID, 17 days of early vote. Colorado: voter registration, 15 days for early voting. Atlanta is 51% black. Denver is 9.2% black. Is @MLB removing ATML’s #MLBAllStarGame, which has more voting rights on the day than CO? The Wokes are back, guys. “

Colorado’s limited early voting period is not meaningful in practice because most of the state – 94% in 2020 – votes by mail or by post. The state requires an identity document when registering to vote for the first time and for those who vote in person. But Colorado allows voters to use more than a dozen types of IDs, such as student ID cards or Medicare and Medicaid cards. If they do not have an identity document, they can vote provisionally and officers can verify their identity later.

Protesters wear chains while demonstrating inside the Capitol building in opposition to House Bill 531 on March 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Megan Varner / Getty Images)

Protesters at a demonstration inside the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta on March 8 in opposition to HB 531. (Megan Varner / Getty Images)

In contrast, Georgia law requires photo identification to vote in person and also some form of identification to vote by mail.

Voting systems by mail also differ widely in the two states: in Colorado, each eligible voter receives a ballot by mail, compared to Georgia, where a voter must apply for it, and there are many more collection box locations in Colorado than in Georgia.

Under the new laws of the state of Peach, a voter must provide a driver’s license number, a copy of a state identity card or a Social Security number each time they vote by mail. Colorado does not require identification to vote by mail after initial registration. States also differ on the electoral registration, which is offered on the same day in Colorado, but is subject to a deadline in early October in Georgia.

Colorado’s system resulted in high participation (the second best among all states in the 2020 election), and the Centennial State is hailed as one of the safest states to vote. Although Colorado has tended towards blue in recent years, former Republican Senator Cory Gardner won in 2014, shortly after the new correspondence laws were put in place.

In addition to limiting the windows for postal voting, increasing voter identification restrictions and limiting the placement of hanging boxes, the Georgia Electoral Integrity Act of 2021, enacted by Republican Party Governor Brian Kemp on March 25, also provides power for state officials to take over the county’s electoral boards and criminalize the distribution of food and beverages in the voting queues.

Last week, the MLB announced that it was removing this summer’s All-Star Game from the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park, which is located outside the city, in the suburb of Cobb County. The league faced a backlash from Republican politicians, with the need for boycotts and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, refusing to make the first pitch at the Texas Rangers home debut.

Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, speaks during a news conference at a covid-19 mass vaccination site at the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville, Georgia, USA, on Wednesday, February 25, 2021. (Elijah Nouvelage / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp told a news conference in Hapeville, Georgia, on February 25. (Elijah Nouvelage / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

However, there has been some high-profile Republican opposition to parts of the Georgia bill.

“There were some things I did not like about the law at the beginning of the process and I spoke very loudly about it,” Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan told Yahoo News last month. “I think an important part of that is continuing to live around the mantra of making voting in Georgia easier and more difficult to cheat.

“I didn’t think it made sense for us to go back without apology, the ballot vote absent,” said Duncan. “I felt that early versions of the bill also limited Sunday’s vote. I didn’t think it was a very good position to take.

“ME [also] I don’t think it necessarily makes sense [to not allow] water and food online, ”he added. “I think there were better ways to do this.”


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