Poll Finds Big Drop in GOP Support for Making Voting Easier

A survey by the Pew Research Center found a sharp decline in the share of Republicans who say everything possible should be done to make it easier for Americans to cast their ballots.

Voters wait in line outside a polling place in Kenosha, Wis., on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020, (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

(CN) — As members of Congress and leaders in states across the country spar over the way Americans vote, a Pew Research Center report released Thursday shows a significant drop in Republican support for doing everything possible to make voting easier.

According to the survey, 85% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say everything possible should be done to make it easier to cast a ballot, while only 28% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreed.

Just three years ago, 48% of Republicans polled by Pew had responded in favor of taking all possible steps to make voting easier. 

Pew researchers found this time around that a majority of Republicans, 71%, responded that “citizens should have to prove they really want to vote by registering ahead of time.” Republican respondents in the 2018 poll were almost evenly split on that statement, with 51% agreeing at the time. 

Following historic voter turnout in the 2020 elections, GOP lawmakers in states like Georgia and Texas have ramped up their efforts to pass strict voting regulations.

An analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice found that, as of March 24, state lawmakers had introduced or continued at least 361 bills pushing for restrictive voting measures in 47 states. The measures, some of which have already been passed into law, include provisions that make it harder to vote, register or stay on the rolls.

The majority of these bills target absentee voting—a voting method that stalwarts of former President Donald Trump falsely claimed to be a cause of mass voter fraud— while nearly a quarter seek to implement stricter voter ID requirements, the Brennan Center reports.

Georgia, Texas and Arizona have seen the largest number of voting limitation bills introduced since the November presidential election that Trump lost to President Joe Biden.

Georgia is facing backlash from Democrats, sports teams and major corporations for passing its new voting legislation last week, which limits the use of ballot drop boxes and imposes stricter voter ID requirements. Among the companies to speak out against the Georgia law are Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines.

In a statement last week, Biden described voting restrictions like the ones passed in Georgia as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.” 

Responses to the Pew survey were collected March 1-7 from a panel of 12,055 randomly selected U.S. adults.

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