How Americans feel about voting fraud and election policy

Eli McKown-DawsonSurvey Data Journalism Intern
November 10, 2022, 3:27 AM GMT+0

Charges of both voter fraud and voter intimidation have surfaced in the wake of the 2022 congressional election. Several states also voted on ballot measures to alter their election laws by, for example, requiring photo-identification requirements, prohibiting non-U.S. citizens from voting in local elections, and expanding access to early voting. Before the election, YouGov asked 1,000 Americans about their views on voter fraud, voter suppression, and a range of election laws.

Americans are almost evenly divided on whether people committing voter fraud (26%) or eligible voters being prevented from voting (30%) is a more widespread problem. Another 23% say they are equally widespread, while 20% are unsure. Republicans are far more concerned than Democrats about fraud, and the inverse is true for voter suppression. About half of Democrats (53%) think people being prevented from voting is the more widespread problem, while only 10% said the same for voter fraud. Republicans, on the other hand, are far more likely to think fraud is more widespread (48%), while only 12% say the problem that is more widespread is people being prevented from voting.

These results hold when Americans are asked about specific election policies. Democrats are more likely to favor policies that aim to make voting easier while Republicans are more supportive of policies that are intended to increase election security. However, despite partisan differences, many of these policies get majority support from each of the major parties. While Republicans (84%) are more supportive of requiring photo identification to vote, a majority of Democrats (56%) also favor the policy. Majorities in both parties also support requiring proof of citizenship to vote, allowing states to have two weeks of early voting prior to Election Day, and raising standards for voting accessibility for people with disabilities.

However, not all of the election policies polled garner bipartisan support. Democrats (75%) are twice as likely as Republicans (37%) to support allowing any voter to cast a mail ballot even if they could vote in person. Democrats also are more supportive than Republicans of allowing ballot drop boxes, requiring states to offer same-day voter registration, and requiring that states offer online voter registration. Allowing voting by formerly incarcerated people is similarly contentious, with 71% of Democrats but only 36% of Republicans in support.

Republicans (76%) are more likely than Democrats (58%) to support allowing election observers to watch the Election Day process. This result is consistent with the parties’ views of election observers more generally. Overall, 40% of Americans think that election observers are focused on protecting election integrity, while 20% think they are focused on intimidating voters. Another 40% think they are not focused on either goal or are unsure. However, a majority of Republicans (54%) think observers are focused on protecting election integrity, and only 12% think that their goal is to intimidate voters. Democrats are more evenly divided on the issue, as 37% think protecting integrity is election observers’ main focus and 33% believe the same of intimidation.

The counting of mail ballots was another contentious issue in the lead-up to the 2022 congressional election, particularly regarding when ballots are dated and when they must arrive at the elections office. Most Americans think that a ballot should have to arrive on (33%) or before (19%) Election Day, at the latest, to be counted. But one-third (33%) think a ballot arriving after Election Day should count, as long as its postmark indicates it was sent on or before Election Day. Republicans (44%) are more likely than Democrats (33%) to say a ballot should have to arrive on Election Day at the latest to be counted. Meanwhile, Democrats (45%) are more supportive of allowing ballots to arrive after Election Day than Republicans (26%) are.

Americans are also divided about whether someone other than a voter should be allowed to return the voter's mail ballot in-person to the local elections office or a ballot dropbox: 37% think that people should be able to return someone else's ballot and 36% do not think they should be allowed to do so. The remaining 27% are unsure whether this should be allowed. There are significant party-based differences as well. Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to say that voters should be allowed to return others' mail ballots (58% vs. 29%). Conversely, Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to say that voters should not be allowed to do so (22% vs. 53%). The most common response for Independents was “not sure.”

— Taylor Orth contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on November 4 - 6, 2022, among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll.

Image: Getty (Tetra Images)

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