When voters are automatically mailed their ballots several weeks before the election — enabling them to vote from the safety and convenience of their home — and are provided multiple ways to easily return their ballot, voter participation increases significantly. During the 2020 election, 46% of all voters received and voted their ballots this way, and turnout was the highest it has been in over 120 years. A recent study of mail-ballot use and voter participation found that turnout increased an average of 5.6% during the 2020 presidential election in states that mailed a ballot to every registered voter. The effects of mail-ballot delivery were even greater in jurisdictions with historically low mail-ballot usage, boosting turnout by as much as 8%.
That same study found vote-at-home policies “…do not have partisan effects, and in many models they tilt the results in a more Republican direction.” And research conducted by Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research in 2020 found that voting by mail favors neither Democrats nor Republicans.
Vote at home has also been embraced by voters of color. Deliver My Vote Education Fund, a nonpartisan nonprofit, found that mail-ballot usage among Black voters in 2020 skyrocketed. In Michigan, for instance, absentee voting among Black voters increased by nearly 47%. Similarly in Pennsylvania, use of mail ballots among Black voters rose to 42%, while mail-ballot use among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters increased nearly 56%. Similar trends were found for Latino voters.