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Bipartisan Support for Expanded Mail Voting for 2020 Elections

There is strong bipartisan consensus on the need to expand mail voting in the face of the current pandemic.

Published: April 15, 2020

In the face of the current pandemic, there is no ques­tion that wide­spread use of mail voting is neces­sary to hold free, fair, and safe elec­tions. The Amer­ican public, from across the polit­ical spec­trum, broadly supports increased mail voting this year.

Yet Pres­id­ent Trump has criti­cized the prac­tice saying: “Repub­lic­ans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Demo­crats are clam­or­ing for it. Tremend­ous poten­tial for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, does­n’t work out well for Repub­lic­ans.” Contrary to Pres­id­ent Trump’s prot­est­a­tions, mail voting is secure and does not harm  Repub­lic­ans (who vote by mail at high rates) or any other constitu­ency. And he is incor­rect that Repub­lic­ans do not support expan­ded use of mail ballots this year.

In fact, there is strong bipar­tisan consensus on the issue. Demo­cratic polit­ical lead­ers have been near-unan­im­ous in their call for expand­ing mail voting. And as we docu­ment below, with selec­ted quotes, report­ing, and polling, it enjoys wide­spread support among Repub­lican elec­tion offi­cials, polit­ical lead­ers, and voters.

Table of Contents


Repub­lican Voters Support Mail Voting Option

  • 72% of all U.S. adults said that they would support a require­ment for mail in ballots as a way to protect voters, includ­ing 65% of Repub­lic­ans, accord­ing to a Reuters poll conduc­ted in early April 2020.—https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-elec­tion-poll-idUSKBN21P3G0
  • A Bren­nan Center/Benen­son poll conduc­ted on March 22–24, 2020 found that four out of five Amer­ic­ans believe states should give all voters the option of voting mail ballots without having to provide an excuse during the Novem­ber elec­tion. 57% of Repub­lic­ans surveyed agreed 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.” https://www.bren­nan­cen­ter.org/our-work/research-reports/pulse-amer­ica-poll

Repub­lican Party Lead­ers Promote Mail Voting


Repub­lican Elec­ted Polit­ical Lead­ers Support Mail Voting

Nebraska Governor Pete Rick­etts (R)

Mary­land Governor Larry Hogan (R)

New Hamp­shire Governor Chris Sununu (R)

  • When announ­cing a guid­ance memo to address voting during the pandemic, Sununu said: “Number one, the abil­ity for folks to vote absentee if they so choose, based on the COVID-19 epidemic, and our state has an immense amount of flex­ib­il­ity. Basic­ally, if you feel more comfort­able voting absentee because of the outbreak, or your inab­il­ity, or nervous­ness just about appear­ing in person to vote, you can vote absentee and obtain an absentee ballot. So, we have a very flex­ible system.”—https://nymag.com/intel­li­gen­cer/2020/04/in-nh-covid-ruled-a-disab­il­ity-justi­fy­ing-voting-by-mail.html

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R)

Repub­lican Mayors in Wiscon­sin

Repub­lican Lead­er­ship in Alaska


Repub­lican Chief Elec­tion Offi­cials

Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State Kim Wyman (R)

Geor­gia Secret­ary of State Brad Raffen­sper­ger

Ohio Secret­ary of State Frank LaRose (R)

  • In response to a tweet by Pres­id­ent Trump that mail voting increases the risk of “crime and VOTER FRAUD,” Secret­ary LaRose said, “I can tell you that’s not the case in Ohio. As I’ve said, we’re fortu­nate that we’ve been doing vote by mail for a long time. We know how to do it, and we know how to get it done securely.”—https://twit­ter.com/Frank­LaRose/status/1249378551217950720
  • In an April 9th video promot­ing the state’s first all-mail elec­tions, Secret­ary LaRose said: “I reject this notion that I think comes from days gone by, when people say it’s not good for Repub­lic­ans when there’s high turnout. The highest turnout pres­id­en­tial elec­tion we ever had was 2016. The highest turnout gubernat­orial elec­tion we ever had was 2018.”—https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/us/polit­ics/vote-by-mail.html
  • A state­ment from Maggie Shee­han, Secret­ary LaRose’s spokes­per­son, reads: “Though we are prepar­ing for every possible scen­ario, our expect­a­tion and hope is that we’ll be able to have a normal elec­tion in Novem­ber. That said, it’s fortu­nate that Ohio has a long history of running secure elec­tions, and that includes decades of voting by mail. From voter-specific ballot track­ing and frequently main­tained voter rolls to secur­ity meas­ures at county boards of elec­tions where ballots are handled and stored by a bipar­tisan team of elec­tion offi­cials, Ohioans can be confid­ent that their vote-by-mail ballots are as safe and secure as the votes cast on Elec­tion Day.”—https://www.wash­ing­ton­post.com/opin­ions/2020/04/10/trump-is-lying-about-voter-fraud-again-repub­lic­ans-dont-fall-it/

Utah Director of Elec­tions Justin Lee (R)

Iowa Secret­ary of State Paul Pate (R)

West Virginia Secret­ary of State Mac Warner (R)

Kentucky Secret­ary of State Michael Adams (R)

  • “It’s my concern, after an exhaust­ive process of consulta­tion with our county clerks, the State Board of Elec­tions and others, that we need to at least be prepared to have an expan­ded absentee ballot­ing system avail­able by June 23,” Adams said in a press release. “I’d like us to be able to prepare in advance for a situ­ation where we have limited in-person voting and expan­ded voting by mail.”—https://twit­ter.com/KYSec­State/status/1245474003248128000
  • On April 24, when announ­cing the plan for expan­ded mail voting for Kentuck­y’s primary, Secret­ary Adams said, “Voters across the polit­ical spec­trum will be pleased with this plan to protect both demo­cracy and public health. I’m grate­ful to Governor Beshear for his lead­er­ship, and his work­ing in good faith with me toward ensur­ing a success­ful and safe elec­tion.”— https://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activ­ity-stream.aspx?n=GovernorBe­s­hear&prId=139

Oregon Secret­ary of State Bev Clarno (R)


Repub­lican Local Elec­tion Offi­cials Ask for Addi­tional Fund­ing

  • In a letter to Congress, local elec­tion offi­cials, dozens of whom are Repub­lican, called for Congress to alloc­ate fund­ing to enable elec­tion offi­cials to make the adjust­ments needed to the elec­tion system to run safe, secure and resi­li­ent elec­tions in the face of the coronavirus.—https://www.bren­nan­cen­ter.org/our-work/research-reports/elec­tion-offi­cials-call-increased-elec­tion-fund­ing
  • Lisa Marra, pres­id­ent of the Elec­tions Offi­cials of Arizona, and Virginia Ross, pres­id­ent of the Arizona Record­ers Asso­ci­ation—both member­ship groups that repres­ent elec­tion offi­cials in all 15 counties in Arizon­a—co-authored an op-ed call­ing for expan­ded mail voting options: “As elec­tion profes­sion­als, we are commit­ted to ensur­ing that the rest of the elec­tions in 2020 are accur­ate, secure and safe for voters, anti­cip­at­ing the COVID-19 pandemic could continue require­ments around social distan­cing for the remainder of the year. On behalf of the Arizona Record­ers Asso­ci­ation and the Elec­tion Offi­cials of Arizona, we believe it is crucial that the Legis­lature extend our abil­ity to hold ballot-by-mail elec­tions for state and federal elec­tions, a prac­tice already author­ized for juris­dic­tional elec­tions. It is the best way to ensure Arizona voters are safe during this pandemic and have the certainty of the continu­ity of our demo­cracy.”—https://www.azcent­ral.com/story/opin­ion/op-ed/2020/04/08/arizona-all-mail-elec­tion-2020-wouldnt-ruin-its-integ­rity/2957970001/

Addi­tional Key Report­ing