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April 13, 2023
A Monmouth poll conducted in June this year found that an overwhelming majority of Americans would support voters being required to vote, with 69% of respondents saying that they believed voter fraud was a problem.
This contrasts with other figures from the same survey which suggested that 71% of Americans believe in-person early voting should be made easier (Forbes). Mail voting seemed to be the key issue in this poll, with 50% of respondents saying that it should be made easier and 39% believing it should be harder. When broken down by political affiliation, the results were more stark: only 26% of Republicans saw making voting by mail easier as a good thing compared with 89% of Democrats (Forbes).
This issue comes with the backdrop of an ongoing issue: the contentious results of the 2020 presidential election, whereby one-third of Americans believe that Joe Biden only won because of widespread voter fraud (The Hill). Indeed, while 32% of Americans have consistently asserted that Joe Biden stole the election, the numbers of those who believe he won ‘fair and square’ have been slowly declining since the beginning of the year, from 65% in January down to 61% in June (Forbes).
The call for voter ID to prevent fraud in elections is nothing new, and indeed has been rising in popularity among politicians worldwide. In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently introduced plans to bring in voter ID requirements in time for the next British election (Reuters). Back in the States, Republicans have been the most vocal in calling for some form of protection to elections.
Senator Cramer (R-ND) recently argued that states like New York, which have plans to introduce vaccine mandates, should have no problem requiring voters to show ID before going to the polls (New York Post). However, other polls across the political spectrum suggest different results. A recent poll by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist found that 56% of Americans consider ensuring that everyone who wants to vote can do so, compared with only 41% of Americans who want to make sure that no one who is ineligible votes (NPR).
Again, the results vary widely by political party: 90% of Democrats consider voter access more important, whereas almost 75% of Republicans said that stopping voter fraud was the more pressing concern (NPR). A recent poll by Yahoo News/YouGov found that 66% of Republicans believe that Donald Trump was the rightful winner of the most recent presidential election, and even 3% of Democrats held this same view (The Independent).
Where is there is common ground, however, is the democracy at the heart of America. Two thirds of Americans believe that US democracy is under threat; however there are once again divisions by political party. Democrats point to the events on January 6 as being proof that democracy no longer holds the same values it once did. For Republicans, the continuous claims of a stolen election are proof enough for them that there is a very real threat to transparent democracy in the United States.
ARTICLE: RUAIRIDH KEE
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: PBS.ORG