Republicans have often expressed frustration and mistrust at election results that come in days or weeks after Election Day, particularly in 2020 and 2022. Delays in both cases have enflamed accusations of fraud and suspicion that the increase in voting by mail undermines the integrity of the election system.
Republicans are not alone in distrusting slow results, however. A new poll suggests that both Republicans and independents are less likely to trust election results when they take days or weeks to tabulate. Democrats, however, have more faith in election results after delayed count.
A new Trafalgar Group poll commissioned by Convention of States Action found surprisingly high levels of distrust in the fairness and accuracy of American elections. Convention of States Action President Mark Meckler broke down the importance of the results and what they mean for election integrity efforts in comments to The Daily Signal (below).
When asked, “How much do you trust that America’s elections are fair and accurate?” only 43.2% of respondents said they “strongly trust” the election system. A majority, 56.8%, expressed concerns about the system, with 17% saying they “somewhat trust” it, 17.9% saying they “somewhat distrust” it, and 21.9% saying they “strongly distrust it.”
Respondents expressed even more concerns when it comes to delayed results. When asked “Are you more or less likely to trust election results that take days or weeks to tabulate?” only 17.1% said they are “much more likely” to trust such results. About a quarter (28.1%) said they would be “somewhat more likely” to trust delayed results, while a majority said they would be less likely to trust them. A fifth (20.9%) said they would be “somewhat less likely” to trust them, and a third (33.9%) said they would be “much less likely” to trust them.
A vast majority of Democrats (75.1%) said they “strongly trust” America’s elections, while 15.7% said they “somewhat trust” them. Only 9.2% said they either “somewhat distrust” (6.1%) the elections or “strongly distrust” them (3.1%).
Most Democrats said they would be “more likely” to trust delayed results, with 27.2% saying they would be “much more likely” to do so and 40.9% saying they would be “somewhat more likely” to do so. Even so, many Democrats expressed more skepticism about delayed election results. A sizable chunk (40.9%) said they would be “somewhat more likely” to trust delayed results, while 21.5% said they would be “somewhat less likely” to do so and 10.4% said they would be “much less likely” to do so.
Republicans overwhelmingly expressed distrust in America’s elections (73.2%). Only 10.3% said they “strongly trust” them, while 16.5% said they “somewhat trust” them. About a third (30.8%) said they “somewhat distrust” them, and 42.4% said they “strongly distrust” them.
Republicans proved even less likely to trust delayed results. Only 5.9% said they would be “much more likely” to trust results that took days or weeks to tabulate, while 13.7% said they would be “somewhat more likely” to trust them. Four-fifths (80.4%) said they were either “somewhat” (17.7%) or “much” (62.7%) less likely to trust delayed results.
Respondents who did not identify themselves as Republican or Democrat also expressed doubts about America’s elections. A large chunk (42.5%) said they “strongly trust” elections, while another 19.7% said they “somewhat trust” them. More than a third (37.8%) said they either “somewhat” (17.2%) or “strongly” (20.6%) distrust them.
Unaffiliated respondents proved more suspicious of delayed results. Only 18.4% said they would be “much more likely” to trust delayed results, while 30.1% said they would be “somewhat more likely” to do so. More than half (51.6%) said they would be “somewhat” (24.6%) or “much” (27.0%) less likely to trust them.
“Americans are distrusting results for a number of reasons,” Meckler, the Convention of States Action president, told The Daily Signal on Tuesday. “First are structural and legal reasons: long early voting, mail voting, drop boxes, electronic voting machines, etc. All these practices leave room for fraud and abuse. And we’ve seen plenty of evidence of fraud and abuse.”
The Heritage Foundation’s election fraud tracker has found 1,396 proven instances of voter fraud. (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)
“Second, for years, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been telling us that the elections are not safe, secure and valid, some for good reason, and some simply for political gain,” Meckler added. Republicans like former President Donald Trump and Democrats like Georgia governor candidate Stacey Abrams have both alleged that their elections were invalid.
“Finally, and importantly, Democrats actually say by large margins (68%) that they have more faith in elections where the count is delayed or takes weeks,” Meckler noted. “The poll suggests that election integrity reform is important nationwide, to restore basic trust in the underlying foundation of peaceful transfers of power in all electoral jurisdictions in the nation; easy, safe, secure elections with relatively rapid results.”
“I think we can trust many, if not most, of our elections, but there are elections where either people cheat or significant errors are made by election officials that question the result,” Hans von Spakovsky, co-author of “Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote,” told The Daily Signal before Election Day 2022.
While partisan bias likely impacts trust in delayed results, elections are not technically over until state officials certify them. State and local governments release unofficial results on election night, but candidates have many ways to contest the vote or to demand recounts, should they suspect fraud. In most cases, unofficial results give a reliable indication of the ultimate winner, so candidates who are likely to lose often concede long before the results are official. News outlets “call” races based on unofficial results, not certified results.
Due in part to the expansion of mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic and the counting of early votes after Election Day votes, Republicans have seen early GOP leads vanish throughout and after election nights, inspiring distrust in the results.
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