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Monday, April 29, 2019

Alternative Voting

Jordan Misra at the Census Bureau:
The availability of alternative voting methods continues to change how voters vote. Alternative voting methods include any method other than voting in person on Election Day, such as early voting and voting by mail.
In 2018, 40 percent of voters used an alternative voting method. The percentage of voters that cast their ballot early or by mail usually declines slightly in midterm elections relative to the preceding presidential election. However, the rate in 2018 was not significantly different from the 2016 presidential election.

The use and availability of alternative voting methods varied by state. In the 2018 election, early voting was available in 39 states. Some states require that voters state a reason or excuse for mailing an absentee ballot, while others do not (no-excuse absentee voting). Three states (Washington, Oregon and Colorado) have all-mail voting systems.

The three states with the highest percentage point increases in alternative voting rates from 2014 were Utah, Texas and Georgia. Alternative voting increased by 36 percentage points in Utah, 25 points in Texas, and 21 points in Georgia.

This high increase in alternative voting in these states is likely the result of Utah’s ballot initiatives and expanded mail voting opportunities, and the high-profile elections in Texas and Georgia.

States without the option to vote early and those that require voters to provide an excuse for voting absentee, had some of the lowest alternative voting rates in the country.