Apr 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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

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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