Mail-In Voting Won't Help Democrats, Study Says

While President Donald Trump has accused Democrats of working to "steal the election" amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent study has concluded expanded mail-in voting would not help them do so even if that were their motivation for backing it.

Trump has long been outspoken against universal mail-in voting, with some advocating for every eligible person to be sent ballots to cast absentee amid the COVID-19 crisis, suggesting the system will be susceptible to fraud.

His claims, made without evidence of examples of widespread fraud previously, have been dismissed by some as made due to fears expanding such voting could contribute to a defeat.

However, a recent study found that expanded mail-in voting, in states which had previously implemented it, did not have a partisan impact on results.

The abstract of the paper, named The participatory and partisan impacts of mandatory vote-by-mail, states: "Mandatory vote-by-mail ensures that citizens are given a safe means of casting their ballot while simultaneously not advantaging one political party over the other."

It added that "mandatory vote-by-mail slightly increases voter turnout but has no effect on election outcomes at various levels of government."

Researchers looked at county-level voting data between 1992 and 2018, as well as more than 40 million individual voter records from two states, Washington and Utah, putting the information through various models to weigh up the impact of mail-in voting.

Describing the results, Brigham Young University political science professor Michael Barber, a co-author of the study, told The Salt Lake Tribune: "We ran dozens of analyses and every single time we found no impact in partisan vote shares.

"So, whether you're advocating for vote-by-mail because you think it's going to be really good for your party or advocating against it because you think it's going to be bad for your party, you're probably wasting your time."

Other studies have also concluded there is no partisan impact from mail-in voting, with Stanford researchers having concluded in a paper earlier this year that such systems do not seem to impact either party's share of turnout or vote share, but "modestly increases overall average turnout rates."

Thea McDonald, deputy national press secretary to the Trump campaign, told Newsweek that ballots being sent out without being requested could "sow chaos and confusion" and reiterated the campaign stance against universal mail-in voting.

"Joe Biden and the Democrats are pushing to mail out tens of millions of unrequested ballots to sow chaos and confusion into our election system—a mere 70 days out from a general election, after witnessing disastrous results of these systems that left 100,000 Californians' votes uncounted, took six weeks to determine a winner in New York, and led a judge to order a re-do of the fraud-ridden Paterson election," she said.

"President Trump is fighting to keep America's defining democratic principle alive: free and fair elections that our citizens can have faith in."

Newsweek has contacted the Biden campaign for comment.

Several states already have a state-wide mail-in ballot system, while other states allow absentee ballots to be applied for with no reason necessary as to why the voter wants one.

While Trump has questioned the system, there have also been concerns raised over changes at the USPS, with worries these could cause issues for voters.

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A mail worker wearing a mask looks out the window while driving past the "Save The Post Office" rally outside the James A. Farley main post office building on August 25, 2020 in New York City. Discussions around voting by mail have intensified amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images