Sept. 18 is the official start of the 2020 presidential election – the date on which registrars nationally can begin distributing absentee ballots to registered voters who already have requested them – and we wanted to know what Richmond Power Poll members think about an election that promises – for a number of reasons – to be a unique one.
In Virginia, voters now have more ways to cast their ballots than ever before. The state’s General Assembly earlier this year passed legislation permitting any eligible voter to vote absentee for any reason, eliminating the need to provide an excuse for doing so.
And during its ongoing special session several weeks ago, the Assembly also passed (and Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law) legislation that will provide secure drop boxes to be erected at registrar’s offices statewide to receive absentee ballots through Election Day at 7 p.m., for voters who don’t want to return their ballots by mail or another way.
The topic of potential voter fraud has been a prominent one nationally, and respondents to this month’s Richmond Power Poll also have concerns.
About 90% of those who responded said they have concerns about some type of voter fraud. Most (65%) said they fear the potential of foreign involvement in the elections. About 14% said they are concerned about potential fraud that could help Democrat Joe Biden, while 10% said they were concerned about potential fraud that could help Republican President Donald Trump.
Only 10% said they were not concerned about any of those potential issues.
This month’s survey had an 18% response rate among more than 160 people surveyed. The Richmond Power Poll is not a scientific poll.
Although all respondents said they planned to vote in the election and a majority of respondents (79%) indicated that they were either extremely confident or mostly confident in the security of absentee voting by mail, 69% percent said they were planning to vote in person on Election Day.
Another 14% said they would be voting absentee in person, while 10% said they’d vote absentee by drop box and 7% said they’d vote absentee by mail.
With Election Day just about a month and a half away, millions of dollars worth of advertisements are expected to bombard voters at an even greater rate than they have to date.
But most respondents in this month’s poll won’t be influenced by them.
Nearly 80% of respondents said they have already decided who they will be voting for, and nothing can change their minds.
Another 14% said they have decided who they’ll vote for but might still change their minds. Only 7% said they haven’t yet decided who they will be supporting.