LOCAL NEWS

BYU Study: Mail-In Voting Doesn’t Help Democrats Or Republicans

Aug 27, 2020, 6:33 PM | Updated: Aug 28, 2020, 9:53 am

PROVO, Utah – Sending ballots through the mail doesn’t benefit one political party over the other, according to a new study from Brigham Young University that looked at decades of election data.

“Both parties can know that implementing this policy is not going to yield a significant advantage or disadvantage to one party or the other,” said Michael Barber, an associate professor of political science at BYU.

Barber co-authored the study with John Holbein from the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. It was published this week in the journal Science Advances.

“I hope that our research can really bring some rigorous scientific evidence to a timely policy debate,” Barber said.

In addition to analyzing election data from counties in several states that have implemented vote-by-mail, the study also examined more than 40 million individual voting records from Utah and Washington.

“What we found was that when a county implements vote by mail, turnout in that county goes up, but not by very much, by about 2 or 3 percentage points,” Barber explained. “Even though turnout goes up, it’s benefiting both parties about equally.”

The research focuses on mandatory, or universal, vote-by-mail. It’s the system that Utah uses in which registered voters are automatically sent a ballot.

“We provide the most precise and robust evidence to date that shows that, after accounting for factors that are unrelated to [vote-by-mail] itself, this reform modestly increases turnout, but has no effect on who wins elections,” the authors write.

The authors go on to conclude that mail-in voting “preserves public safety while also maintaining the current balance of power between the two dominant political parties.”

When it comes to voter turnout, Barber said voters are drawn to the convenience factor.

“You have days or sometimes weeks to complete the ballot,” he said. “You can sit down and really do research on each of the candidates and issues that you’re voting on.”

While the national debate over vote by mail continues during the pandemic, Barber reminds that it takes time for voters and election officials to shift to a mail-in system of voting.

“Our study does not imply that a state can immediately flip a switch and run a vote-by-mail election,” he said. “The state of Utah took a number of years, in fact it was almost a decade, to fully implement vote by mail.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Casey Scott gives away gas cards on Feb. 23, 2024. (KSL TV)...

Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises drivers with free gas cards on Friday

Casey Scott is back from vacation and ready to finish the week strong with some gas card giveaways!

1 hour ago

Fewer than two in five people in the US have gotten the flu vaccine this season, according to CDC e...

Kiersten Nunez

Utah faces unusual flu season with third pediatric death

The latest update from Utah Department of Health shows a third child has succumbed to influenza during the current season. Health experts are raising concerns over the unusual patterns the state is seeing this year.

2 hours ago

Utah lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prohibit the Utah attorney general from engaging in ...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Legislature seeks to bar attorney general from private law practice while in office

Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would prohibit the state attorney general from engaging in private practice while in office.

2 hours ago

Police say a man was injured after he illegally crossed a Salt Lake City road Thursday night. (KSL ...

Josh Ellis

Man seriously injured after crossing SLC street, police say

A man was hospitalized with serious but not life-threatening injuries after he was hit by a truck Thursday night.

7 hours ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

16 hours ago

Tony Arriaga, owner of Beehive Gloves, creating and relacing baseball gloves at his work desk....

Brianna Chavez

West Valley City business asking for used gloves to repurpose and donate

A West Valley City business is hoping to give back to the community by giving new life to old baseball and softball gloves.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

BYU Study: Mail-In Voting Doesn’t Help Democrats Or Republicans