Latest EAC “EAVS Deep Dive” Focuses on Absentee, Mail and Early Voting

[Screenshot image via EAC]

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has just released the latest installment (PDF) in its new “EAVS Deep Dive” series – this time, taking a look at Americans’ growing use of ballots cast outside the Election Day polling place. Here’s the EAC release:

The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today released a brief on the growing trend of states offering early, no-excuse absentee and mail voting, and the increasing number of voters casting ballots before Election Day. This brief is the second in a series of “deep dives” into election administration trends and voting behavior ahead of the 2018 election cycle. It analyzes data from the 2016 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), the most comprehensive survey on election administration in the United States identifying national, state and local trends.
“During the past decade, one of the most significant changes we’ve seen in election administration is the number of voters who receive and cast ballots before Election Day,” said EAC Director of Research Sean Greene, who leads the EAVS.  “As more states consider implementing election administration practices such as vote by mail and early voting, election officials can use EAVS data as a resource that provides information about how these trends may impact voter turnout and experience.” 

Among the findings of the new brief are: 

  • The percentage of voters who cast their ballots on a voting machine at a polling place on Election Day has declined steadily over the past decade, while the number of states offering early voting, no-excuse absentee voting, and vote by mail has increased.
  • The total number of voters who voted early, absentee or by mail more than doubled from 24.9 million in 2004 to 57.2 million in 2016, representing an increase from one in five of all ballots cast to two in five of all ballots cast.
  • The number of U.S. citizens voting early more than doubled from nearly 10.2 million early ballots cast in 2004 to 24.1 million early ballots cast in 2016.
  • In 2016, 16 states showed a combined percentage of greater than 50 percent of votes cast early, by mail, or via absentee voting.

You can get a nice visual representation of the change over time in this graphic:

These Deep Dives are a fantastic resource and are evidence of the EAC’s effort to make EAVS data useful for the very same election officials who are required to provide it. Kudos to the agency (and especially my friend and electionline alum Sean Greene) for their work to illuminate this data for the field. I can’t wait to see what’s next … stay tuned!


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