CVI’s Pandemic Poll: Three of Four Americans Now Embrace Absentee Voting, Regardless of the Reason

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Nearly 90 Percent of Americans Support Social Distancing

Washington, DC (April 14, 2020) — Nearly 90 percent of all Americans now believe that social distancing measures imposed during the coronavirus crisis are necessary, according to a new battleground survey conducted by the non-partisan Center for Voter Information (CVI). Republicans, Democrats and independents are nearly unanimous in supporting the restrictions. As a result of the pandemic, 73 percent of all Americans in battleground states now embrace absentee voting, regardless of the reason for seeking an absentee ballot, the CVI survey reveals.

“We are witnessing a giant shift in American’s perceptions towards absentee voting and voting by mail. The pandemic has altered how people want to vote,” said Page Gardner, Founder and Board Chair of the Center for Voter Information. “Americans are making clear that they want to participate in democracy safely, without being forced to choose between their health and the right to vote.”

The Center for Voter Information survey, conducted by Democracy Corps, polled 2,000 people in 16 battleground states from March 31-April 5, 2020. The web-based survey was the first in a series of tracking polls on the pandemic that CVI will carry out over the next few weeks.

The new CVI survey shows that 68 percent of Americans now support the notion of everyone in their state receiving a vote-by-mail ballot, with Democrats 83 percent in agreement and Republicans at 51 percent. Absentee voting options garner even greater bipartisan support, with 85 percent of all Democrats agreeing and 59 percent of all Republicans expressing comfort with absentee voting, whether the voter is sick or out of the state.

Nearly half of all respondents (47 percent) say they intend to vote at home with a mail-in ballot in 2020. That includes 52 percent of African Americans, 58 percent of Latinx respondents and 52 percent of millennials.

“With the Voter Participation Center, our partner organization, we run the nation’s largest mail-based voter registration and turnout programs. In April alone, we will send nearly 12 million pieces of registration mail to prospective voters in 20 states. What we’ve learned over the years is that Americans are looking for safe voting options.” Gardner said. “All states must offer a mail-in voting option and provide safe ways for voters to participate in primary and general elections in person, including early-vote options.”

Americans report feeling “anxious,” “nervous,” “scared,” “lonely,” and even “depressed” during the coronavirus crisis, the survey shows. Those emotions are dramatically transforming our politics and will shape elections to come. The poll says that two thirds of Americans in battleground states support every voter being mailed an absentee ballot and all voters voting by mail. Nearly every effort to make it easier to vote is supported by a majority of Republicans, according to the CVI survey.

Center for Voter Information
The Center for Voter Information is a non-profit and non-partisan civic engagement organization dedicated to providing voters with the impartial information they need to make an informed decision and cast their ballot. With its partner organization, the Voter Participation Center, CVI has helped more than 4.4 million voters register and get to the polls in the group’s history. For more information, please visit: 

See the Data

Memo: CVI Pandemic Tracking in the Battleground

Presentation: CVI Pandemic Tracking in the Battleground


Lala Kumakura,, (646) 828-0791