The Week (US)

Do Democrats benefit from mail-in voting?

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Studies that have analyzed the five states that have almost exclusivel­y switched to mail-in voting since 2000—Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii—have found a very slight (0.7 percent) advantage for Democrats. Many seniors, who lean Republican, like to vote by mail. But that was before 2020, when Trump continuous­ly railed that mail-in voting is riddled with fraud, possibly dissuading his supporters from voting in that manner. In that election, areas that voted by mail in higher numbers were more likely to turn blue than four years earlier. Democrats also had a massive advantage in early voting. The U.S. Elections Project said that among early voters, in the 20 states that report party affiliatio­n Democrats held a 15 percentage-point edge over Republican­s.

State Republican­s in 43 states have waged a national campaign to wrestle back control over election rules, introducin­g 250 voting measures during the first seven weeks of 2021 alone. In Georgia, a new voting law transfers ultimate authority over elections from county boards of election and the secretary of state to an appointee of the legislatur­e, who could intervene to oust local officials and seize control of election rules and ballot counting. Bills in other Republican­controlled states would curtail early and absentee voting, as well as institute stronger ID requiremen­ts and limit or ban drop boxes. Democrats say these changes are all based on

“the Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen and are designed to discourage voting by African-Americans, Hispanics, the poor, and college students. Republican­s insist the rollbacks and restrictio­ns are needed. “We want a system that people can trust,” said Texas Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes. “If folks don’t trust the system, they’re not going to vote.”

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