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Mailed-Out Ballots Tracking for 60 Million Nationally in the November Midterms

NVAHI MOBET tool reports 57.1M already scheduled or requested, up from 53.8M last week.

Today the National Vote at Home Institute (NVAHI) updated the data from its Mailed-Out Ballot Estimation Tracker MOBET) from its initial launch on October 13. The tool was launched to help journalists, legislators, elections officials and the public forecast the likely level and impact of mailed-out ballots for the 2022 general election.

Our forecast remains: Mailed-out ballot activity will increase at least 40% in 2022 versus 2018 levels – to an estimated 60 million mailed-out, with over 42 million returned.

In contrast, in the 2018 midterms, the US Election Assistance Commission reported about 42 million mailed-out ballots issued, with about 30 million of them returned. Returned mailed-out ballots constituted roughly 25% of all votes cast that year. This year, it may hit 35%.

The MOBET tool presents mailed-out ballot totals – and eventual return rates – in four categories:

  • 9 “Vote at Home” (VAH) jurisdictions, where every active registered voter receives a ballot in the mail automatically for every election
  • 6 “No Excuse – Single Sign-Up” (NE/SSU) states, where any voter, through a single application, can sign up to automatically receive ballots for all future elections
  • 21 “No Excuse” (NE) states, where all voters are eligible to receive a ballot, but must request them for each specific election or every year
  • 15 “Excuse Required” (ER) states, where most voters are ineligible to apply for a mailed-out ballot, unless they meet a specific legally acceptable excuse

*No Ex-SSU = AZ, IL, MD, MT, NJ, VA
*No Ex = AK, FL, GA, ID, IA, KS, ME, MA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SD, WI, WY
*Ex Req.= AL, AR, CT, DE, IN, KY, LA, MS, MO, NH, NY, SC, TN, TX, WV

Many states where the voter must request a mailed-out ballot are not yet reporting their volume of requests. So, the 2022 numbers will continue to grow over the next few weeks as more voters apply for mailed-out ballots. For the 9 VAH states, mailed-out ballot growth will primarily result from increased voter registration totals.

As of October 21, 2022, you can see below that not only has the overall actual number climbed substantially to 57.1 million from 53.8 million a week ago, but one group – the “No Excuse – single sign-up” cohort has already exceeded the level forecasted by MOBET.

A few individual states deserve mention. The five new VAH states since 2018 (CA, DC, HI, NV, VT) will contribute about 11 million of the expected 17.4 million mailed-out ballot increase. But some states with more incremental policy changes are also major movers.

  • Massachusetts, which passed “no excuse for all” earlier in 2022 is up 10x, from 105,000 in 2018 to over 1 million today. The state also mails “absentee ballot request forms” to all registered voters.
  • Pennsylvania, which passed no excuse in 2018, is up almost 6x, from about 200,000 then to 1.2 million now.
  • Michigan, which also passed no excuse for all in 2018, is up 50% from 1.1 million to 1.7 million. Michigan has a citizen initiative, Measure 2, that contains SSU on the ballot in November.
  • Maryland, which passed a SSU law, is up almost 4x from about 140,000 to 570,000.

On average, mailed-out ballot utilization levels are expected to end up at:

  • Only about 4% of voters in the Excuse Required states
  • That jumps almost 4x to 15% of voters in the No Excuse states
  • And it jumps almost 5x to 20% of voters in the No Excuse – Single Sign-up states

Better mailed-out ballot access policies are welcomed and embraced by voters.

Vote at Home’s MOBET information tool relies on official data originating from state and local election officials, some of it compiled by trusted sources including the U.S. Elections Project and Catalist. See the original press announcement here:


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