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Politics
These fact checks of North Carolina politics are a collaboration between PolitiFact and WRAL. You can hear them Wednesdays on WFAE's Morning Edition.

Fact Check: SC Sen. Tim Scott 'Mostly False' In Comparing Voting Rules In Georgia And Colorado

Tim Scott
@SenatorTimScott
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Twitter
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina posted on Twitter that Georgia allows more days of early voting than Colorado. Was he right?

It's time now for our weekly political fact check, and this time we're turning our attention to South Carolina. In a recent tweet comparing voting rules in Georgia and Colorado, Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said Georgia allows 17 days of early voting while Colorado only allows 15 days. Scott posted the tweet after Major League Baseball decided to move this year's All-Star Game from Atlanta to Colorado in protest over Georgia's strict new voting law.

Joining us now to assess Scott's claim is WRAL's Paul Specht.

Marshall Terry: First, Paul, can you give us an overview of what the Georgia voting law does and why Major League Baseball opposes it?

Paul Specht: Yes, I can. The new Georgia voting law, supporters say increases election security, but critics say enact some unnecessary obstacles to voting. And a few of those are shrinking the window for voters to request mail ballots they used to have 49 days to do that. Now they only have 29 days. It enacts new voter ID requirements, and that applies to mail-in ballots, as well. It puts a limit on the number of drop boxes for ballots during early voting. And generally speaking, it's shortened early voting during runoff elections like we saw earlier this year in the Senate races.

So there's a lot in this bill. Those are just a few of the things. And with Major League Baseball, they didn't necessarily condemn one specific part of the bill so much as they issued an overall rebuke of the bill. They said, you know, we need to demonstrate that our values as a sport, by relocating this All-Star Game, we support voting rights for all Americans and oppose restrictions to the ballot box. And they left it there.

Terry: Now, Sen. Tim Scott is critical of Major League Baseball's decision to move the game. Was he correct in that tweet that we're talking about when he said that Georgia allows more early voting days than Colorado?

Specht: He's correct if you look at in-person early voting -- and that distinction is key. It does appear that Georgia has more early voting days than Colorado, but that's for in-person early voting.

If we take a step back and look at what it means to vote early and sort of look at the big picture here, we have to consider that Colorado mails ballots to every single registered voter. And so when we look at early voting through that lens, then it's clear that Colorado voters have easier access to a ballot. They don't have to go anywhere. And depending on when they get it in the mail, they'll have more days to consider their vote and to vote than someone in Georgia might have.

And so we saw this play out in the most recent election the 2020 presidential election. The numbers show us just how different these states are in terms of ballot access. In Colorado, 94% of all ballots cast came through the mail. In Georgia, that number was 26%. And when it comes to early voting, only 3% of all votes in Colorado were done in-person early. In Georgia, 54% of people relied on those in-person early voting sites.

These states, they just do things differently. And because Georgia does not mail ballots to its voters, it's not fair to suggest that they offer more access to the ballot.

Terry: You reached out to Scott's office about this tweet. What did he say?

Specht: They said that his tweet included a mistype and that should have said that they have more days of voting rights and that's a direct quote, "more days of voting rights." But even if we look at that, it's not true.

Let's go back to Tim Scott's tweet. He said, the MLB is moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, which has, "more 'day of' voting rights than Colorado." But when we talk about "day of" voting rights, what that refers to, generally speaking, is same-day registration. Can you show up to the poll, register to vote and vote on the same day? And he's wrong there, too. Colorado offers same-day registration and Georgia cuts off registrations about a month before Election Day. And so he's off on that front, too.

Terry: So how did you rate this claim by Tim Scott?

Specht: We rated this "mostly false." And what that means is there's an element of truth here. Technically, Scott is right about the number of in-person early voting days in each state. However, when we take a step back and look at the big picture, who has more access? Who has an easier time getting their ballot? It's clear that Colorado has an easier time. Their ballots are mailed to them and they have more same-day registration. So this was a clear "mostly false."

Terry: All right, Paul, thanks.

Specht: Thank you.

These fact checks are a collaboration between PolitiFact and WRAL. You can hear them Wednesdays on WFAE's Morning Edition. Do you want to know more about politics in North Carolina? Sign up here to have WFAE's weekly Inside Politics newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.