GOVERNMENT

Live Mic: Both parties benefit equally with mail-in voting

Aug 31, 2020, 3:49 PM
Utah in person Utah mail-in voting by mail election turnout...
FILE- A employee at the Utah County Election office puts mail in ballots into a container to register the vote in the midterm elections on November 6, 2018 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Does mail-in voting give Democrats an advantage over Republicans? Not at all, according to research by BYU.

Debunking mail-in voting claims

President Trump has said the results of the presidential election under mail-in voting might not be known for years.

Years.

Can the United States wait on the results of a presidential election for years?

Mr. Trump claimed without evidence that mail ballots may purposely be manipulated to be sent to Democratic areas and not Republican areas. He blasted a system of ballot return that the federal government calls “secure and convenient” in official documents, according to NPR.

 

Michael Barber, professor of political science at BYU, joined Lee Lonsberry on his show Live Mic to discuss his research into voting by mail.

Barber said he investigated states — including Utah — that have used vote-by-mail for more than 30 years and collected election outcomes and millions and millions of voter records. This is what he found.

Mail-in voting: no political advantage found

Under vote by mail, voter turnout increased by 2 to 3 percent, and that slight uptick in voters benefitted both parties equally.

“There was no partisan benefit to one party or the other,” said Barber.

“How is that possible? That runs counter to the narrative. I thought we were all supposed to believe that Democrats benefit when we vote by mail,” asked Lee.

“Well, I think that narrative is incorrect, and it’s just people saying things without any evidence,” Barber said. “You have a lot of Republican voters who are older and don’t necessarily want to travel to vote in person and so mail-in voting really benefits them. You have a lot of Democratic voters who might not be regular voters — occasional voters — and vote by mail often acts as a reminder to them that the election is taking place. So what end up happening is both parties benefit equally.”

“Do you get contacted by political parties themselves wanting to scrutinize your data?” Lee asked.

“I’ve talk to more media outlets in the last 24 hours than probably the last 10 years,” Barber said. “The life of a professor is usually one of obscurity. But this is a topic that’s important, and it’s a topic that’s really timely. So I think it’s really important that we educate the public and people know what we’re doing in terms of administering on an election.

“Utah is a great example of a state that has been very careful in developing a vote-by-mail system. They run it in a very efficient and in a very professional manner. And it works very well for us. It’s been very successful here in Utah,” Barber said.

Related reading:

Read more about Barber’s research here and here.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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Live Mic: Both parties benefit equally with mail-in voting