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Poll: GOP support for early voting, automatic registration plunges

Georgia residents stand in line as they wait to vote early at the Mountain Park Activity Center in Stone Mountain in October. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI
Georgia residents stand in line as they wait to vote early at the Mountain Park Activity Center in Stone Mountain in October. File Photo by Tami Chappell/UPI | License Photo

April 22 (UPI) -- Republican support for early voting and automatic voter registration has plunged since 2018, sharpening partisan divide, the Pew Research Center said Thursday.

The number of Republicans supporting early or absentee voting without a documented reason dropped from 57% in 2018 to 38% this year following dozens of failed lawsuits by former President Donald Trump's campaign and others challenging such ballots in the 2020 election, the center's April poll found.

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By comparison, 84% of Democrats support no-excuse early voting, and the number has been about the same in recent years, deepening partisan division, Pew reported.

The proportion of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who support automatically registering eligible citizens to vote has also dropped -- from 49% in 2018 to 38% in the April poll. The share of Democrats supporting automatic registration has remained about the same -- 82% -- in recent years.

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Overall, most people favored steps to ease voting access, Pew said, including automatic registration, early voting, allowing people convicted of felonies to vote after serving their sentences, requiring government-issued photo identification, and making Election Day a national holiday.

Majorities of Democrats and Republicans favor allowing people convicted of felonies to vote after serving their sentences, making Election Day a national holiday, and requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote, though Democrats showed stronger support, the poll found.

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There was also partisan divide over removing voters from voter registration lists if they have not recently voted or confirmed their registration, with 68% of Republicans favoring removal compared to 27% of Democrats.

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Black adults were less likely than White, Hispanic and Asian adults to support removing voters from registration lists, the poll noted. Among Black Americans, 33% supported the practice of removing voters from registration lists, compared to 40% of Asians, 45% of Hispanics, and 50% of Whites.

The poll also noted that Black people were most likely to support no-excuse early, absentee voting, at 86%, compared to Whites, 75%, Hispanics, 79% and Asians, 82%.

Georgia is being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and others over new voting laws criticized as making it harder to vote, especially for people of color.

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Pew analysts also looked at the issue of states preparing the once-in-a-decade process to redraw legislative boundaries following completion of the 2020 U.S. census.

The poll gauged opinion on proposal by House Democrats to require states to form redistricting commissions with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans instead of having state legislatures come up with their own plans. Among Democrats and Democrat leaners, 59% were supportive of the plan, compared to 38% of Republicans and Republican leaners.

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Overall, 49% supported the proposal to end state legislature's control over congressional redistricting, 38% were unsure, and 13% disapproved.

The Pew Research Center surveyed 5,109 U.S. adults from April 5-11 with a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.

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