WATCH: Webinar highlights dramatic expansion of voting before Election Day

March 2024 2 min read by The CEIR Team

NPR Correspondent Miles Parks recently joined CEIR’s Executive Director David Becker and Research Director Chris Mann to discuss a CEIR report on the dramatic expansion of early in-person and mail voting across all 50 states since 2000. The report covers national trends, as well as which states have led the effort to expand voting before Election Day—and which states are falling behind.

In the 2000 election, just 24 states totaling 40% of US voting-age citizens had at least one universal option to vote before Election Day. Under current law, 46 states plus Washington DC will offer at least one universal option to vote before Election Day 2024—nearly 97% of all voting-age citizens. Only Alabama, Mississippi, Delaware, and New Hampshire now lack any universally available option to vote before Election Day.

To trace this historic expansion, the CEIR research team reviewed state legislation for relevant voting methods in each state, such as early voting and mail voting, and cross-referenced their findings with other data and the interpretation of state officials to identify changes to the voter experience over time.

“A lot of the change in the expansion we saw came from the years right after the 2000 election,” said Mann, with 11 more states adopting options to vote before Election Day by 2008. “Of course we had the big spike in 2020 related to the pandemic,” he added, with 16 states temporarily offering more options in response to the public health emergency.

The history of the issue shows that the embrace of voting before Election Day is a nonpartisan issue. “In red states and blue states alike, policymakers, election officials, and voters have all recognized the value of having options to vote before Election Day,” said Becker. “The benefits of expanding options to vote before Election Day are clear, from bolstering election integrity to providing eligible voters more opportunity to cast a ballot.”

Becker also spoke to the effect of these expanding options on the smooth and accurate administration of the election itself. “Providing options to vote before Election Day minimizes the risk of technical problems on Election Day and allows time to protect against misinformation and build voter confidence.”

Read and download the CEIR report “The Expansion of Voting Before Election Day, 2000–2024


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