Deliver My Vote Education Fund

Vote by Mail in 2020 and Our Opportunity for 2022

Deliver My Vote Education Fund (DMVEF) examined VBM trends in five key states (Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Wisconsin) from 2016 to 2020 to understand this massive shift in VBM use. Voters of all backgrounds embraced VBM as a safe way to vote during the pandemic, while also realizing the remarkable convenience.

Vote by Absentee/Mail 2016-2020

It comes as no surprise that vote by mail (VBM) increased significantly in 2020. We know VBM increases with policy expansion.

  • In Florida, the VBM increase was more moderate and steady because of the long history with VBM.
  • PA had the lowest rates in 2016 with just over 4% of voters voting by mail, but in 2020 nearly 40% voted by mail. PA required an excuse to vote by mail until Act 77 was passed in 2019, allowing no-excuse absentee voting in the 2020 elections.

Voters of Color Voting by Absentee/Mail 2016-2020

Black, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters across our five states showed some of the highest rates of VBM adoption.

  • VBM among Black voters jumped nearly 47 percentage points in MI and over 42 percentage points in PA.
  • AAPI voters saw the largest growth in VBM use across all five states. In PA, use among AAPI voters jumped nearly 56 percentage points.
  • Growth was also strong among Latino voters. In MI, use among Latino voters went up 42 percentage points.

Turnout Among Voters of Color in Florida, 2016 to 2020

The rate of vote by mail for voters of color in Florida more than doubled to over 1.5 million for the 2020 general election.

  • Turnout increased to over 3.6 million in 2020, surpassing 2016 by over 1.1 million.
  • Around 650,000 voters of color used VBM in 2016 and 2018. Use more than doubled in 2020 to over 1.5 million.

Florida Under Age 25 Voting by Mail, 2016-2020

Voters under 25 years old using VBM grew in all five states.

  • In Michigan, voters under 25 increased their VBM use by more than 32 percentage points.
  • In Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, VBM usage of young voters of color outpaced young white voters.
  • Young voters of color, previously lagging their peers in use, have proven they will use VBM options.
  • Accessibility of no-excuse VBM removes barriers and encourages growth in VBM use among eligible voters of color.

The Opportunity

The 2022 midterm elections provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to continue the extraordinary expansion of VBM in communities of color.

How we define opportunity:

  • We looked at the number of voters who voted in 2020 who did not vote in 2018.

What we know:

  • In 2020, voters experienced the convenience of voting at home instead of waiting in long lines, something that disproportionately impacts voters of color. VBM helped voters stay safer & likely leveled the playing field by reducing barriers to voting.
  • Low-propensity voters were 10 times more likely to cast a ballot if they had applied for a mail-in ballot.

What we found:

  • VBM rates grew significantly in our 5 states from 2016 to 2020.
  • Black, Latino, Native American, and AAPI voters across our five states showed some of the highest rates of VBM adoption.

Click here to download research white paper.