The possibility of contracting COVID-19 reduces comfort voting in-person but does not increase comfort voting by mail, finds new research by GVPT Ph.D. Candidate Alauna Safarpour and CDCE Research Director Mike Hanmer.

News of coronavirus infections during Wisconsin’s April primary election reduced comfort voting in-person but did not increase comfort with the main alternative-voting by mail. Ahead of the November presidential election, that means election officials need to convince voters that they will be safe if they vote in-person, and that their vote will be counted if they vote by mail. That’s the main takeaway from new research published in the Journal of Experimental Political Science by University of Maryland professor Mike Hanmer and graduate student Alauna Safarpour, both in the Department of Government and Politics.

“It’s important that American’s feel comfortable however they choose to vote. No one should be forced to choose between their health and participating in our democracy,” said Alauna Safarpour. 

“Unfortunately, we find that the possibility of contracting the coronavirus makes people more reticent to vote in-person but does not make them more comfortable voting by mail. That has serious implications for November as coronavirus cases continue to rise,” Safarpour said. 

Safarpour and Hanmer’s article is freely available as part of the Cambridge Coronavirus Collection:

Journal of Experimental Political Science