A survey finds a solid majority of Americans strongly support the idea of universal mail-in voting being allowed for the November election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
The survey, taken in March, finds even a solid majority of Republicans supported the idea, though the survey was taken before President Donald Trump harshly attacked universal mail-in voting last week, including with tweets that declared it to be “horrible” and “corrupt.”
The Brennan Center at New York University Law School is a non-partisan institute, named for former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan.
The liberal-leaning center also released an analysis it contends refutes claims by Trump and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel that mail-in voting can lead to widespread vote fraud.
“Trump’s claims are wrong, and if used to prevent states from taking the steps needed to ensure public safety during November’s election, they will be deadly wrong,” the Brennan Center contended in its report released Friday. “Mail ballot fraud is incredibly rare, and legitimate security concerns can be easily addressed.”
In Florida, mail-in voting already can be done on a wide scale, as the state does not require voters to give a reason to request a mail ballot. However, Florida is not pursuing programs instituted in Washington and other states that automatically mail ballots to all registered voters.
Traditionally, Florida Republicans have been more active in encouraging mail-in voting, though Florida Democrats now are trying to up their vote-by-mail game.
In the Brennan Center survey, taken March 22-24 of 1,550 adults, 78% said they agree that “all states should be required to allow vote by mail or unexcused absentee ballots to ensure people can vote with ease and without being in long lines or crowds.” That includes 55% who said they “strongly agree” and 23% who said they “somewhat agree.”
Since then, as much of the nation has shut down, Democrats have advocated for additional universal mail-in voting programs. Trump and Republicans have increasingly pushed back.
Clearly, there is a partisan divide, though Republicans didn’t dislike the idea when the Brennan Center asked.
In the poll, again, taken before Trump’s harshest comments, 57% of Republicans agreed that states should be required to allow vote by mail. That included 24% who strongly agree and 33% who somewhat agree.
There was almost no uncertainty among Democrats: 97% agree at some level, including 81% who strongly agree and 16% who somewhat agree.
Independent voters position: 57% strongly agree and 22% somewhat agree, for a total of 79% supporting.
According to the Brennan Center report, five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington — have mail balloting as the primary method of voting. In 28 additional states, including Florida,, all voters have had the right to vote by mail ballot if they choose, without having to provide any reason or excuse.
Over time, a growing number of voters have chosen that option. Since 2000 more than 250 million votes have been cast via mailed-out ballots, in all 50 states, according to the Vote at Home Institute. In 2018, more than 31 million Americans cast their ballots by mail, 25.8% of election participants, the Brennan Center reported.
Despite that increase, there have been no significant reports of voter fraud associated with mail-in ballots, according to the Brennan Center, and none of the five states that hold their elections primarily by mail has had any voter fraud scandals since making that change.