Change Research: Survey of Likely Voters in States with Little or No VBM History

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On behalf of the Voter Participation Center, Change Research surveyed 1,497 likely voters in states with limited or no history of voting by mail (Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin) from June 22-24, 2020. While the vast majority of respondents report usually voting in person, consistent with the design of this survey, a considerable number would prefer to vote by mail in November, though the plurality do not know the rules in their state. Voters are more swayed by the health risks of in-person voting than by logistical concerns such as transportation to the polls and securing time off work, and these health-related concerns are particularly pronounced among groups that comprise the Rising American Electorate (18-34 year olds, voters of color, and unmarried women). When it comes to voting by mail, respondents are most compelled by the assurance that coronavirus will not impede their ability to cast their votes, though concerns about voter fraud via mail-in ballots remain a concern, though less prevalent among RAE voters.

Methods of Voting & Information Levels Around Voting By Mail

While fewer than 1 in 10 respondents usually vote by mail, more than a third of respondents would prefer to vote by mail in the upcoming November election. The vast majority (81%) of respondents report their usual method of voting is in person on Election Day, and another 11% vote in person through early voting. Only 6% of respondents vote by mail or absentee ballot. Despite the fact that 92% of respondents usually vote in person, only 64% say they prefer to vote in person in the upcoming November election (54% in person on Election Day, and 10% through early in-person voting), while 36% would prefer to vote by mail or absentee ballot. Among the RAE, preference for voting by mail in the upcoming election is slightly higher, at 40%. Specifically, within the RAE, preference for voting by mail was strongest among unmarried women: 46% report preferring to vote by mail in the November election.

For more information see the data below.

See the Data

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