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U.S. Voters (Overwhelmingly) Want Their Old Election System Back: I&I/TIPP Poll

12/27/2022 Repost from Issues & Insights

December 26, 2022

As 2022 nears an end, another election season has also come to a close. Time for second thoughts, and ideas about what to do to fix an election system that many Americans believe is irretrievably broken. As it turns out, voters have some very strong opinions about that very topic, the latest I&I/TIPP Poll shows.

The recent midterm elections were once again marked by claims of voter fraud and possible ballot manipulation behind the scenes by partisan actors, including even election officials. So we asked Americans of all political stripes and demographic backgrounds what rules and practices would they support to make our electoral system more fair?

More specifically, in our online I&I/TIPP Poll, taken from Dec. 7-9, we asked 1,094 registered voters to select among three possible reforms or rule changes: “Requiring voters to show a photo I.D. to vote,” “Stricter mail-in voting,” and “Banning ballot harvesting.”

The answers showed an overwhelming sentiment in favor of change.

But by far the strongest response was for “Requiring voters to show a photo I.D. to vote.” It garnered 83% support from registered voters, with 60% saying they would support it “strongly” and 22% saying they would support it “somewhat.” Just 12% said they would not support a move, with just 6% saying they would oppose it “strongly,” about the same as those who said they would oppose it somewhat (7%).

The numbers may not add to 100% due to rounding. But the point is clear. Americans are hungry to have their elections once again based on solid identification of the voters with official I.D.s.

And, by the way, the support was powerfully tri-partisan, with 74% of Democrats, 93% of Republicans, and 84% of independents agreeing a photo I.D. should be required to vote. Hefty majorities of every one of the 21 demographic groups I&I/TIPP routinely follows agreed.

How about “stricter mail-in voting”? There, too, the response was strong and tri-partisan, though not as strong as for the simple act of showing an I.D. Some 69% supported limits on mail-in voting, while 23% opposed it.

Among Democrats, 59% opposed it, with a plurality of 35% saying they supported it strongly vs. 24% who said “somewhat.” For GOP respondents, 83% supported stricter mail-in rules, with a majority of 64% saying they supported it strongly vs. just 20% saying “somewhat.”

Independents, at 69% support, once again split the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Finally, “Banning ballot harvesting” was supported by 54%, with just 18% opposed. Democrats managed a plurality but not a majority, with 45% saying they would support the move, while 22% said they wouldn’t. Comparable numbers for Republicans were 66% support, 13% oppose, and for independents, 54% support, 20% oppose.

One anomaly in the data: A relatively large 28% of those queried answered “Not sure” to this question. It’s possible that many did not know that it involves groups of partisans gathering large numbers of ballots from various locales for delivery to a polling place, a practice many agree could lead to widespread voter fraud.

So it’s quite possible that actual support for the idea is somewhat higher than indicated by the data. Regardless, those in the I&I/TIPP Poll show extremely strong support for reverting to previous voting safeguards to protect our elections from fraud and manipulation.

As for the overall fairness of elections, that has become a hot topic, particularly after the much-predicted “Red Wave” by Republicans failed to materialize. Many analysts and pollsters across the political spectrum were flummoxed about the results.

As progressive pollster David Shor noted in New York Magazine online, “back of the envelope, it looks like the electorate was about 2% more Republican than it was in 2020. Republicans literally outnumbered Democrats, according to the AP’s VoteCast. And yet Democrats still won.”

“Simply put, Republicans picked up the votes they needed, just not where they needed them most,” noted the Cook Political Report. “Clearly something or someone intervened, affecting the outcome of the election in the places that mattered.”

Currently, Republicans technically hold one more seat (49) in the Senate than the Democrats (48). However, there are three independent senators, all of whom caucus with the Democrats. So, for all intents and purposes, the Senate is held by the Democrats, with Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris as a potential tie-breaking vote.

In the House, Republicans went from 213 representatives to 222, while Democrats’ seats shrank from 218 to 212. There are still six empty seats to be filled due to resignations and deaths. Hardly the “Red Wave” that most pollsters expected, and that polls consistently showed likely to happen.

With the COVID pandemic as a background excuse, many states discouraged in-person voting, while encouraging online voting, mass delivery of ballots to people on out-of-date voter registration rolls, opening polls for weeks in advance, and allowing late counting of ballots despite laws that clearly forbid the practice,

Despite the many challenges to new voting practices, courts have largely stood aside and, according to some, allowed normally illegal voting practices to take place.

“Court decisions sanctioned the very practices known to breed fraud, preventing voter identification, witness requirements on absentee ballots and signature matching, and allowing weeks of early, mail-in voting, curbside and drive-up voting, the use of inaccurate voter registration lists, ballot harvesting, and the acceptance and counting of ballots beyond Election Day,” wrote Rick Fuentes at the American Thinker website.

Even so, Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake pursued her election challenge in a suit against Maricopa County over voting irregularities.

As PJMedia recently reported: “On the first day of the trial, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer testified that individual polling places did not tally the number of votes cast, an apparent violation of state law that is highly suspicious considering that in the days after Election Day, the number of votes the county reported having counted mysteriously increased by nearly 25,000, a number greater than Katie Hobbs’ alleged 17,000-vote victory.”

Her lawsuit was rejected Saturday by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge.

As the I&I/TIPP data clearly show, at a bare minimum Americans of all political parties want voting rules tightened up to make elections fairer and and more transparent. They want a return to the old system that encouraged showing up at the polls and being able to identify yourself to vote. COVID can no longer be considered a sufficient reason to alter our election laws.

I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.


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