Early voting has increased significantly, but turnout growth has not kept pace, research shows

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

Early voting has increased significantly, but turnout growth has not kept pace, research shows

California politics, elections 2024, homepage news

Benjamin Oresces

March 20, 2024

When it came to choosing how to vote in the March primary, Californians got it right.

The state mailed a ballot to every registered voter a month before the election. Citizens could vote by mail or drop their ballots in secure, widely accessible boxes. And voting centers opened weeks before Election Day.

These options make California one of the easiest states to vote in and are part of a growing trend of states expanding early voting options, according to a study released Tuesday by the Center for Election Innovation & Research. It turned out that 97% of people are


voting age this year will have some opportunity to vote in person prior to Election Day.

Most states don’t offer as many choices as California, but across the ideological divide, voters in both red and blue states have more options than they did 10 or 20 years ago, the survey found.

In 2000, only 40% of the eligible voting population in 24 states could vote early in person. By 2024, 46 states will offer early in-person voting, and 36 will offer the option to vote by mail without having to provide a reason. The increase is notable given former President Trump’s continued false attacks on the integrity of

early mail arrived

to vote.

Only four states Alabama, Mississippi, Delaware and New Hampshire do not have an early in-person voting option and all require an excuse to vote by mail.

Voter turnout has increased over the same period, but at a much slower pace and unevenly. That slower growth, the researchers said, showed that citizens simply had more time for it

votemake one

didn’t necessarily mean more of them actually did.

ended voting. The shift toward broader implementation of early voting started well

for the


pandemic, but fears about the spread of the virus accelerated the trend, with many states making the new options permanent.

“It is truly remarkable to see procedures being adopted by both parties that benefit voters and benefit election integrity, especially since so much of the story now is about the differences between the parties and how they about election policies and procedures,” said David. Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research. “This is an area where we don’t see that and it benefits all voters and overall election integrity.”

As these choices have increased, the survey found, so too have the number of votes cast before Election Day, peaking in 2020 at 69%. The authors of the study expect a large number of early votes

in 2024

would decline from that pandemic high, but predicted it would

still exceed

the 40% of votes cast in 2016.

That is well above 14% of the votes cast


before Election Day in 2000.

Becker and the study authors said

early voting

serves as a tool against disinformation about candidates and how to vote,

among other benefits

. Just have more time,


It allows voters to make more informed decisions about candidates and navigate the flood of information that often overwhelms voters in the run-up to elections.

Despite the new options, activists and election researchers have identified practices that could turn voters away. A host of barriers, including the requirement to have photo identification and the removal of names from voter rolls, have increased in recent years in some states.

There is ample evidence that misinformation and other barriers to voting make people less likely to vote.

Ultimately, broader access to early voting options doesn’t guarantee higher turnout, Becker said.

“There is very little evidence to suggest that ease of voting is the only lever that determines turnout one way or another,” he said, adding that turnout has not steadily increased at a rate consistent with expansion over the past two decades of early voting. .

He pointed out that the highest American turnout

since 1900

About 66% of the voting population in 2020 came during a global pandemic.

Turnout in presidential elections increased from 54% of voting citizens in 2000 up to 60% in 2016.

Still, early voting “is an important reform because voters respond to it,” Becker said. “They like having these options.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles