Election nerds across the country rejoice! The 2020 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) data was released Monday, August 16, much to the excitement of election scientists and wonks everywhere. In the coming weeks and months, the National Vote at Home Institute plans to publish a variety of content that incorporates 2020 EAVS data, but until then, we have compiled our initial takeaways from the comprehensive report.

We have been saying it for years, but the EAVS data further reiterates that when states expand access to voting by mail, people use it! On average, states that expanded vote by mail…


Introduction

Although the 2020 elections were riddled with many obstacles, our system worked. The election was without question, the most secure election in American history. Why? Because election officials, governors, and legislators worked together to ensure that each and every American had the opportunity to cast their ballot. Access to the ballot expanded through online voter registration, vote-by-mail, in-person early voting, and drop boxes. Despite the false narrative of vote-by-mail fraud, election audits revealed that the voting systems were secure. One might conclude that the success of the election, which was due in large part to the temporary measures that…


We love a catchy song and animation as much as the next election nerd, but you don’t really want to know what happens in the process of passing a law. Here at the National Vote at Home Institute, we think voters should be aware of what’s going on behind the scenes of the election legislation that is passing (or not passing) this year.

The first version of an election bill rarely resembles its final form; from small, technical changes that make all the difference to the complete overhaul of a bill, amendments play a crucial role in the legislative process…


Election officials put in tremendous effort to administer safe and secure elections throughout 2020. This effort included dramatically scaling up operations, providing voters with multiple return options (e.g., drop boxes, satellite offices), and expanding early voting days and hours — all of which resulted in record numbers of voters choosing to vote at home and early in-person.

However, election officials’ work continues year-round. Election officials across the U.S. …


The 2020 election cycle was a watershed for American elections. Decision makers across parties made critical changes and emergency decisions to preserve voter safety, and it was made abundantly clear to voters and legislators alike just how important election policy is to our democracy. Now legislators have entered the 2021 session with a keen eye towards policies that dictate how our elections are administered. From sweeping reform to technical fixes, this year’s policy docket is full of bills that look to both build upon — or tear down — the pro-democracy work that was done in and before 2020.

There…


If you follow the news on voting access, the past few months can feel depressing. If you love the security and accessibility of mail voting, the outlook is not nearly as bad as it might seem. While it is true that bills have been introduced to cut back on access to mail voting (more than last year certainly), less than 15% of voting reform bills introduced do so. In fact, for every bill introduced to cut off access to mail voting, three bills that expand mail voting were introduced.

The pandemic created many operational and logistical challenges for states to…


There is no silver bullet for rectifying the disenfranchisement that has been perpetuated in many state election systems for decades, even centuries. For generations, states have both intentionally and unintentionally made it more difficult for minorities, people of color, young people, those who are low income, and Native populations to cast a ballot. Any good election system, whether it proactively mails all voters a ballot or not, should prioritize reaching these voters and dismantling the hurdles to voting placed in their way.

Mailing every eligible voter a ballot to their home is a good place to start. This voter-centric policy…


After a year with many generation-defining developments, one thing can be said for certain: mail ballots have never been more relevant. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, the share of the total vote cast by mail grew by more than 80% from 2018. And for nearly four out of ten mail ballot voters, this was their first time casting their ballot this way.

But did voters enjoy voting by mail, or did they simply see it as a necessary burden?


Counting will Take Longer. Calling Races Needs To, Too.

Just as election officials across the country have been forced to adapt to the ever changing circumstances surrounding the November elections, the media must also adjust its coverage and voters and politicians alike should manage expectations come election night. In particular, the media, candidates and political parties should be exceedingly careful when calling states and the election as a whole, as results will be processed and released differently than in years past.

Processing and counting ballots has always been a days and even weeks long process, and that process is important…


For a vote by mail system to be efficient and effective, it is not enough for voters to be sent a ballot. States must also provide voters with adequate options for returning those ballots. Whether it’s a secure, video monitored drop box, a drive-up drop off location, a county clerk’s office, or by mail with a visit to your local USPS, voters probably have more options than they realize.

Beginning with the most well known return option, voters will, as always, have the option to return their ballot by mail. Many states have implemented additional policies that make returning a…

National Vote at Home Institute

The National Vote at Home Institute is a nonpartisan nonprofit focused on expanding and implementing vote at home and mail options in all 50 states.

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