Right to vote in the United States

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March 11, 2022

Many Americans believe that significant progress has already been made in achieving equal voting rights for African Americans; most black Americans disagree. However, it is agreed that more work needs to be done to achieve equal treatment in the voting booth for black Americans and both white and black Americans support the new policies to make it easier to vote.

While most of the public thinks more work needs to be done to achieve equality at the ballot box, black Americans are much more likely to think much more needs to be done to achieve equality than white Americans. Forty-two percent of white Americans think equal treatment in voting has already been achieved, compared to just 12% of black Americans.

Most black (61%) and Hispanic (56%) Americans see voter suppression as a major problem. Only 41% of white Americans agree that excluding eligible voters from the ballot box is a major problem. Seventy-four percent of the public thinks voting is neither too easy nor too difficult, although black Americans are more likely to say voting in their state is too difficult. Twenty-three percent of black Americans say voting in their state is too difficult, compared to 15% of Hispanic Americans and 11% of white Americans.

When it comes to voting rule changes, most Americans, regardless of party, support requiring photo ID to vote. There is also support for automatic registration of adult citizens to vote when they obtain a driver’s license or other state identification, so-called “vehicle voter” laws, and for allowing citizens to s register and vote on the same day at their polling station. Nearly half of the public is in favor of allowing people to vote by post without having to justify themselves.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to endorse photo ID requirements, while Democrats are more likely to endorse automatic citizen registration when they get their driver’s license, voter registration on same day and postal voting without excuse. Americans with a college degree are more likely than less-educated adults to support motorized voter policies (67% to 52%), same-day voter registration (61% to 44%), and voting by correspondence without excuse (63% to 41%). %).

Black Americans favor motorized voter policies (57% to 58%) and same-day voter registration (47% to 48%) at rates similar to those of white Americans, despite being more likely to support mail-in voting without an excuse (55% to 46%). White Americans are more likely to support photo ID requirements to vote, 71% to 57%.

Many Americans think there are major problems in the US elections. More than two-thirds think states that draw legislative districts that intentionally favor one political party — gerrymandering — are a major problem. About half of Americans believe that eligible people not being allowed to vote is a major problem, while 41% see a major problem with ineligible people voting.

Democrats and Republicans have opposing views on the issues. Sixty percent of Democrats say voter suppression is a major problem, while 66% of Republicans think people who vote fraudulently are a major problem. Democrats are more likely than Independents or Republicans to see gerrymandering as a major issue.

White Americans are just as likely to see voter suppression and voter fraud as major problems in the United States. Black Americans see voter suppression as a bigger problem than voter fraud.

When it comes to the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats are more likely than Republicans or Independents to be confident in the accuracy of the vote count. While about half of white and black Americans say they have a great deal or some confidence that the 2022 midterm votes will be counted accurately, white Americans are more likely to say they have little or not trust a count.

Many Americans are frustrated or worried about the state of democracy in the United States these days, while few are proud or hopeful. White Americans are more likely than Black Americans to say they feel negative emotions, and they are also more likely to say they do not do feel positive emotions. More than half of Americans with a college degree feel frustrated or worried about the state of democracy in the United States, compared to about 4 in 10 of those without a degree.

The national poll was conducted February 18-21, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the NORC probabilistic panel at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and mobile phones were conducted with 1,289 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.7 percentage points.

Black respondents were sampled at a higher rate than their proportion of the population for analytical reasons. The overall margin of sampling error for the 301 interviews with Black adults is +/- 7.2 percentage points.

  • Suggested quote: AP-NORC Public Affairs Research Center. (February 2022). “The Right to Vote in the United States” [https://apnorc.org/projects/voting-rights-in-the-united-states/]
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