Poll: Two-thirds support vote-by-mail as alternative to in-person voting during pandemic
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they would support voting by mail as an alternative to in-person voting on Election Day if the coronavirus continues to pose a public health threat in November, according to a poll released Monday.
The USA Today-Suffolk University poll found that 65 percent of respondents endorsed mail-in voting as an alternative, while just 32 percent said they oppose it. Three percent said they were undecided.
Opinions broke primarily along partisan lines, with Republicans being far more wary of voting by mail. Forty-three percent of GOP respondents said they supported vote-by-mail as an alternative during the pandemic, while 53 percent opposed it. Among Democrats, 84 percent said they supported it, with 14 percent opposed.
Sixty-six percent of independents said they supported vote-by-mail.
The survey results come amid a heated debate over mail-in voting, with proponents voicing concerns about having large gatherings at polling stations during the pandemic. Some Democratic lawmakers are now calling for states to expand mail-in voting ahead of November.
President Trump, meanwhile, has come out against mail-in voting, arguing it has “tremendous potential for voter fraud” and gives Democrats an advantage.
Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — already hold elections almost entirely by mail. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia give voters the option. Voting by mail is only available in certain circumstances in the remaining states.
Recent polls show that mail-in voting is gaining traction among Americans.
An AP-NORC survey released last week found that a majority of respondents favored allowing people to vote by mail without needing to provide a reason. Sixty percent said they supported that option if the U.S. is still dealing with the pandemic in November.
The USA Today-Suffolk poll also found that 74 percent of Americans surveyed support absentee voting during the pandemic. The same amount supported in-person early voting periods as an alternative.
The USA Today-Suffolk survey was conducted April 21-25 among 1,000 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.