Apr 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Most Americans back vote-by-mail amid coronavirus pandemic

An Ohio voter drops off her ballot at the Board of Elections in Dayton, Ohio on April 28
An voter drops off her ballot at the Board of Elections in Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday. The state changed primary voting to a vote-by-mail system to reduce chances of the coronavirus spread. Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP via Getty Images

The vast majority of Americans support universal access to mail voting and over half believe all elections should be conducted via mail, a Pew poll published Tuesday shows.

Driving the news: There's a bipartisan concern among the 4,917 people Pew surveyed this month that the novel coronavirus pandemic will disrupt November's elections. President Trump has questioned the reliability of mail-in ballots, but several states have elected to expand mail-in voting for 2020 primaries. 49% of Republicans Pew polled now favor allowing any voter to vote by mail if they want to.

By the numbers: The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points, found 70% of Americans support absentee voting as an option and support conducting all elections by mail stands at 52% — up from 34% in 2018.

  • 51% of Republicans are against allowing all voters to cast their ballots by mail, while 87% of Democrats back the measure — and 63% of Democratic voters are strongly in favor of the measure.
  • 69% of those polled back automatic voter registration, with 84% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans supporting the option.

Of note: Trump requested a mail-in absentee ballot in March to vote in Florida’s Republican presidential primary, be he called the voting method this month "dangerous."

  • Studies show all forms of voter fraud are rare, and an April Stanford University study found the introduction of mail-in voting did not have an effect, on average, on the share of voter turnout for either Republicans or Democrats. 
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden won Ohio's Democratic primary on Tuesday, but the state's mail-in system showed voter turnout as dwindling typical numbers, according to AP.

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