In an election year dominated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mail-in voting has taken on a greater importance, and drawn more political attention, than in elections past.
But allegations of fraud, chaos and partisan bias — most prominently from President Trump, who recently urged people to vote twice to “test” the system — are simply unfounded, says Jake Grumbach, assistant professor of political science, who earlier this year published research about mail-in voting in Colorado. In that study, he and his co-authors showed how vote-by-mail increased turnout across demographic groups.
Grumbach points to an April poll from Reuters/Ipsos that showed a majority of Republicans and Democrats support providing all voters with a mail-in ballot in the November election. Other research shows that vote-by-mail has not benefited one party over the other in elections.
Mail-in voting "benefits all kinds of voters, of all ages, races, geographies and partisan identities," says Grumbach. "And despite Trump’s attacks on mail voting, voters from both parties support it. The very few documented cases of attempted fraud have quickly been detected. The risk of human and technological error is also no more prevalent than with traditional ballots.”