Roper: All-mail voting doesn’t increase voter participation

By Rob Roper

Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s Democrat secretary of state has been in his office since 1976, so he has seen and overseen quite a few elections. He testified before congress in vehement opposition to H.R. 1, the proposed legislation that would, among other things, expand vote-by-mail in throughout the nation. Proponents nationally, and here in Vermont as we debate our own proposal to absentee ballots to all voters regardless of request, say this will increase turnout.

However, data provided by Gardner doesn’t bear out the claim.

Throughout the 2000’s five states have adopted policies that make voting by mail the primary means by which they conduct elections (Oregon (2000), Washington, Colorado, Utah (2012), and Hawaii (2020). As part of his testimony, Secretary Gardner provided a chart showing voter turnout in all presidential elections in all fifty states going back to 1976.

Diving into that data, it shows that in the four states with a track record of all-mail voting, voter turnout either declined or remained flat in the election following the switch in policy. The only state to show an increase is Hawaii, but the election in 2020, the states first all-mail election, had an exceptionally high turnout nationally.

As the chart shows, there is no evidence that moving to all-mail voting had any discernable impact on turn out. Rather, turnout is more reflective of the states’ cultural baseline for turnout plus or minus the overall national interest or disinterest in a particular race.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

2 thoughts on “Roper: All-mail voting doesn’t increase voter participation

  1. Anecdotally, in the Town of Westminster, a typical Australian ballot article of import garners between 600-700 votes. In the November 2020 election, 2400 ballots were mailed by the State, 1600 ballots were cast… 2 1/2 times the typical voter participation. 800 of the remaining ballots were never cast – or accounted for. So, the mail-in process certainly increased Westminster’s voter turnout. But who knows who those people really were and who knows if the vote tabulators counted the votes properly?

  2. Bob Roper,

    This is not only about universal mail out of ballots, to as many voters as possible, to create more opportunities for various frauds, as was shown in 2020.

    Condos should require the voter signature on the outside of the ballot envelope, plus a photo ID on the inside. That way a Town Clerk can easily verify who is voting.

    This is about ballot harvesting in nursing homes, then filling them in, with no PHOTO ID and no SIGNATURES

    Keeping out of state and dead voters on the registered voter lists, give CONDOS more votes to play with.

    CONDOS sends SPARE ballots to each Vermont counting center.
    Some of these extra ballots can easily be filled in by local Dem/Prog operatives, then handed to Dem/Prog counting machine operators, for stuffing into ballot boxes, while no one is looking.

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