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Changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same: Absentee voting and public health

Social Science Quarterly

Published online on

Abstract

["Social Science Quarterly, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\n\nObjective\nThis article examines how the rapid spread of COVID‐19 and political discourse framed absentee ballots as a solution to keep voters safe or a threat to the election's integrity. Did the increased attention to the use of absentee ballots in our elections encourage more people to participate absentee and support changes in Texas's election code to allow no‐excuse absentee voting?\n\n\nMethods\nFour surveys of Texas voters were conducted in April, June, September, and October to track voter attitudes about absentee voting during the election.\n\n\nResults\nVoters who were uncomfortable voting in person were more likely to vote absentee and support new reforms. However, voters exposed to messages by elected officials who negatively portrayed the use of absentee voting were less likely to vote absentee during the pandemic and more likely to oppose new reforms.\n\n\nConclusion\nDespite the predicted effects of political information, the public's consideration of the health of others create a significant and lasting effect favoring the acceptance of expanding absentee ballots in a state with no‐excuse absentee voting.\n\n"]