Support is growing for early voting, but there's still a lot of distrust for voting by mail.
Just over 3 in 10 people say they're very confident their vote will be counted accurately if they vote by mail. Nearly 7 in 10 say the same thing about voting in person on Election Day. That's according to a new poll from the University of Maryland and The Washington Post.
There's a big racial disparity in perceptions about election integrity. About 71% of Black Americans in the poll say it’s easier for white Americans to vote, while only 34% of white Americans believe that's the case.
“There's a historic trend of distrust in government amongst racial and ethnic minorities,” said Jonathan Collins, education and political science assistant professor at Brown University. “And instances like this during the need to transition to mail-in voting. This is where that distrust really kind of rears its head.
Collins studies ethnic minority political behavior. He says campaigns from state attorneys would be helpful to reassure people their mail-in ballots will be counted properly.
The U.S. Postal Service is trying to educate people on its role in the mail-in voting process with TV ads. It says the nonpartisan campaign neither encourages nor discourages mail-in voting.
Collins expects a lot of African Americans are still going to prefer in-person voting.
“There is this sense of pride that you get from showing up to your precinct, to your polling station on Election Day and in-person casing your vote. There's a pride of wearing the 'I voted' sticker around for your friends and our family and your coworkers to see. How do we replicate that feeling of pride?”
About 6 in 10 registered voters nationwide say they want to cast their ballot before Election Day. Compare that to 2016, when about 4 in 10 people cast ballots early.
For mail-in voters worried about their vote not counting, many states allow residents to track their ballot. NBC News reports that all states allow this, except for the following: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, and New York.
Also, many states allow mail-in voters to submit their ballots at designation drop-off boxes, if they don't want to trust the USPS.