New Poll: Voters Overwhelmingly Support Urgent Election Changes in Response to COVID-19

May 1, 2020WASHINGTON—Today, the Voting Rights Lab released the results of a new national poll conducted by Strategies 360, which found that overwhelming majorities of Americans see an urgent need to adapt the nation’s election infrastructure to protect the health and safety of voters in November. 

The research found that 83% of Americans want to see changes in how the country conducts its elections in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The desire for change is broad and bipartisan, with 75% of Republican and 71% of Independent voters, as well as 88% of Democrats, reporting a desire for changes to their state voting laws before the November elections.

Voters recognize the need to act quickly. A full two-thirds of respondents believe we should begin making changes now so that there is enough time to execute the November election properly.

“The coronavirus pandemic has upended every aspect of our lives, and voters are understandably concerned about November’s election,” said Megan Lewis, executive director of the Voting Rights Lab. “An overwhelming majority of Americans are calling for urgent action to make sure that we don’t have to choose between our right to vote and the health and safety of our communities.”

While 45% of voters—representing roughly 70 million Americans—would feel unsafe voting in-person at a polling place using personal protective equipment if there was an election this week, voters have no such concerns when it comes to voting absentee: 83% report that they would feel safe receiving a paper ballot sent to their home and returning it in the mail.

The poll also found that nearly three-quarters of respondents endorse adopting vote by mail, where in-person polling places would remain open but all voters would be mailed their ballot and could choose to return it in the mail, leave it at a secure ballot drop-box, or vote with it in-person at a polling place.

“In this time of fear and uncertainty, every citizen must be given access to an absentee ballot,” said Lewis. “The government must invest in ensuring an equitable and secure election by enabling all voters to vote by mail while also providing safe in-person voting options. We need to act now. Our very democracy and our lives depend on it.”

Voters also voiced support for a range of specific policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Expanding early voting (83% support);

  • Immediately notifying voters if there is a problem with their submitted absentee ballot and giving them the opportunity to correct it (82% support);

  • Accepting absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day (73% support);

  • Including pre-paid postage with absentee ballots (80% support).

The large-scale poll surveyed more than 2,800 registered voters. Read the key findings of the survey here.

ABOUT THE VOTING RIGHTS LAB

Voting Rights Lab is a nonpartisan organization bringing state legislative expertise and campaign design to the fight for voting rights. We track voting laws and legislation in all 50 states at tracker.votingrightslab.org.

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© Voting Rights Lab 2020