Baseball stadiums, peaches and election laws. All things that are better in Colorado than Georgia.
We can start with the easy ones.
Truist Park in Atlanta, the former home of this year’s Midsummer Classic, is just a Coors Field knockoff. They literally lifted the “batter’s eye” design beyond the centerfield wall — a waterfall surrounded by evergreen trees — directly from our blueprints. Then there is the rightfield restaurant with bar stools and tables facing the field.
As for the peaches, our Palisade variety makes anything from Georgia seem like a bruised, worm-ridden piece of flavorless cardboard. I know those words may be cause to take up arms in the southern state, but I am betting they would run out of breath in our mile-high air well before they could pose any serious threat.
And that brings us to the biggest, most important distinction.
While Colorado spent nearly a decade working on bipartisan reforms to increase access to the ballot, Georgia seems dead set on returning to antebellum polling procedures. And that is exactly why Major League Baseball stripped the (not so good-) Peach State of its marque summer event.
Republicans and Democrats serving as Secretaries of State and county clerks have worked diligently on Colorado’s universal mail voting system. It is widely regarded as the gold standard across the country.
The result has been a system that both expands access and deters fraud. Contrary to the claims of mail ballot detractors, both can be done simultaneously.
The process begins with automatic registration, notification to voters and a ballot-tracking program. Ballots get mailed several weeks before Election Day and are usually in the hands of voters with plenty of time to do research, make an informed decision and cast a vote.
Signatures are required and ballots may be mailed or dropped off. Secure drop boxes for ballots are liberally dispersed across the state. Last year I only had to walk down the block to find one.
Ballots are counted and verified well in advance of Election Day. That leaves election officials with plenty of time to carefully check each. It also ensures fast, accurate counts — much to my consternation in 2014 when I knew I had lost a state Senate race within half an hour of polls closing.
The result lands Colorado in the top two or three states for voter participation every year, even with a sharp decline in turnout resources invested in the state by parties and candidates as Colorado has become less competitive. That is something to brag about.
Those results are in comparison to states like Texas that worked to limit drop box locations in the run up to the 2020 election. Last November, I wrote an amicus brief for The Lincoln Project objecting to such voter suppression tactics.
But Georgia is working diligently to lower the bar Texas set.
Voters will have less time to request ballots, election officials cannot engage in universal mail balloting, drop boxes have been severely curtailed, early voting hours have been limited and offering food or water to someone waiting in line for hours is now a crime. And those are just a few of the deleterious changes.
The changes are cynical, polarizing and employed for partisan gain at the cost of public benefit. They may be illegal, as well. In addition to multiple civil rights groups, the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Georgia based on the discriminatory impact the laws will effectuate.
Georgia struck out with its election laws and struck out with MLB. Here in Colorado, we have hit more home runs than Monday night’s Home Run Derby participants are likely to produce. And that is something to be proud about.
Mario Nicolais is an attorney and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the legal system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq
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