Ahead of US elections, opinions on mail-in voting are divided – study

Factors involved include state, race and candidate of choice.

An empty mail box is seen at the front door of a foreclosed house (photo credit: REUTERS)
An empty mail box is seen at the front door of a foreclosed house
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Opinions on mail-in ballots in the US differ widely based on in-state voting procedures, according to new studies conducted by the Pew Research Center published on Wednesday.
The study was based on a survey conducted between July 27 and August 2.
As a general rule, the findings reflected that people in states that either largely or often use mail-in votes are far more likely to feel comfortable with mail-in voting. There are five states that conduct elections exclusively by mail, and 61% of registered voters in these states expected the voting to be easy. This compares to four states and Washington, DC, which plan to mail ballots to all registered voters, with 53% of these registered voters expecting it to be easy. This response was also found among 51% of registered voters in the 34 different states where the mail-in option is available to any registered voter upon request, and among 44% of voters from the seven states where an excuse – not including coronavirus concerns – is needed for mail-in voting.
What is most shocking, however, is the effects of political support, with the expectations of Joe Biden and President Donald Trump supporters greatly contrasting one another. As reflected in another Pew study, only 40% of Biden supporters expect voting to be easy, compared to 64% of Trump supporters.
There are also other demographic factors at play, as in the general population, 37% of Black and White voters alike preferring mail-in voting, compared to 48% of Hispanics and 62% of Asians. Regarding Biden supporters, however, only 58% prefer to vote by mail. In terms of demographics, however, 38% of Black Biden supporters prefer voting by mail, compared to 65% White voters and 58% Hispanic voters.
However, part of this divide may be due to location, as Black voters are far less likely to live in states with easy mail-in options.
The issue of mail-in voting has been a dominating topic in the US amid concerns rooted in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, the Trump administration has staunchly opposed mail-in voting. The president had previously said that universal mail-in voting would be "catastrophic" and has warned of possible voter fraud. However, according to a CNN report, US intelligence has found no evidence supporting Trump's claims, which have previously been slammed by fact-checkers over a lack of supporting evidence.