NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

States Use Absentee And Mail-In Balloting

October 18, 2000

States are increasingly making it easier to vote before Election Day. More than half the states have either liberalized their absentee voting rules or allow voting before Election Day, or both. Those with liberalized rules hand out absentee ballots without requiring voters to state a reason for being unable to come to the polls.

  • In 1996, absentee and early voting accounted for more than 10 percent of the total vote in 18 states, more than 20 percent in nine states and more than 30 percent in three states.
  • This year, Oregon is holding the nation's first all-mail balloting.
  • And millions more will vote absentee in states such as California, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.
  • Since Washington counts all absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day, votes will still be coming in after November 7 -- suggesting to some political observers that if the election is close, the results may not be known for a week.

Republicans have historically benefited more from absentee votes, but that advantage may no longer hold.

Source: David Pace (Associated Press), "Parties Are Pursuing Absentees," USA Today, October 18, 2000.


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