Vote at Home | Weekly Roundup August 10, 2020

Beth Hladick
Director, Research & Outreach
Unite America

There are 80 days until the November election. Here’s the latest in VAH news: 

Week of August 10

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced New Jersey will send ballots to all registered voters for the November election. Ballots will also have pre-paid return postage; if they are returned via mail, they must be postmarked on Nov. 3 and received no later than 8 p.m. on November 10. 

The USPS was center stage this week, following Trump’s opposition to both emergency bailout funding and additional election funding. Indicators (such as this R Street brief and this two-pager from the National Association of Letter Carriers) suggest the biggest threat to the USPS’s ability to handle the surge in mail ballots isn’t blocked funding. Of greater/more relevant concern is changes to workplace policy, like not being able to work overtime or make extra trips. Also today, the USPS warned 46 states that it may not be able to meet state deadlines for delivering last-minute mail-in ballots [recommend this Atlantic article for a longer weekend read].

The Supreme Court ruled Rhode Island voters can cast mail-in ballots without in-person witness verification. This marks the first pandemic-related voter relief decision by the court, and trends with the state’s June primary policy (Gov. Raimondo waived the witness requirement on mail ballots for the primary). The vote on the decision was not announced, but Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch noted that they would have granted the stay requested by the Republican National Committee and the state Republican Party (which sought to keep RI’s two-witness signature requirement).

A new interactive analysis by the NYT Opinion suggests that if everyone had voted by mail in 2016, Trump would have still won the presidency. The analysis is based on research on the impact of VAH in Colorado, which found that VAH increases turnout across all ages (but the turnout increase was greater among younger voters). 

ICYMI — Turnout spiked in Hawaii’s first all-mail primary. It was the highest turnout in the state in almost a quarter century, with 51% of registered voters casting ballots. Of more than 406,000 votes cast, just 1.3% of them were cast in-person. 

New polling, tracking, and resources out this week: 

When and how to vote in all 50 states for the 2020 election (Axios or FiveThirtyEight

NYT finds a record number (76%) of Americans can VAH in 2020, and summarizes key policy changes in all 50 states. 

  • Polling on voters likely to VAH in both parties have shifted dramatically: since May, Democrats are 50 points more likely to say they’re at least “somewhat” likely to vote by mail, while Republicans likely to vote by mail have fallen to 22%.  
  • Facebook launched a new voting resource tool 
  • NCSL: This is older, but relevant: When states mail out absentee ballots  

Up Next: On Tuesday, August 18th, Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming have state primaries. 

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