Despite months of GOP attacks on mail-in voting, Californians across ethnic and racial groups remain confident in the security of the process, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies survey released on Monday.
President Donald Trump, in particular, has repeatedly and without evidence claimed mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud in November. Voting experts, local election officials and fact-checkers have rejected that, saying instances of fraud are exceedingly rare.
The poll found 84% of respondents said they believe their voting choices “are always kept secret” when voting by mail — only slightly lower than the 93% who expressed confidence in the security of in-person voting. It also found the confidence level in mail-in voting security was approximately the same for white and older voters compared with Black, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islander and young voters.
“This is encouraging news. It shows that people aren’t buying the far right’s claims that mail-in voting leads to fraud,” john a. powell, director of UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, said in the survey’s news release. “And more importantly, it shows that Blacks and Latinxs aren’t cynical about voting. With large majorities of Black and Latinx voters saying they will vote in November, the data suggest they are confident, willing, and eager to vote despite being repeated targets of voter suppression.”
The poll of 8,328 registered California voters was conducted in late July.
It took place before widespread reporting on a slowdown in mail delivery due to changes in the U.S. Postal Service leadership and the Trump administration’s opposition to fully funding USPS.
In June, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law requiring counties to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the state ahead of the November election.
In the Golden State, vote-by-mail is commonplace and getting more so. In the March primary, 72% of ballots cast were by mail, the highest share ever recorded. A majority of voters regularly vote by mail in the state.
The UC Berkeley poll found 67%of respondents had voted by mail in the past. However, the poll pointed to the greater reliance on in-person voting among some groups.
For example, while about 32% of all California voters rely on in-person voting, that share increases to 37.7% for Black voters and 41.2% for Latinx voters who chose to take the poll in Spanish, according to the survey.
A larger share of Black and Latinx voters also said in the survey they rely on in-person voting assistance at the polls than white California voters.
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