Poll: Voting by mail or in person? Partisan differences exist

All registered Utah voters will get mail-in ballots soon, as most counties mailed them out Tuesday.

But a new Y2 Analytics poll finds that just over one-third plan to fill out those ballots and mail them in. While another third say they plan to fill out their mail-in ballots, but hand-deliver them to either their Nov. 3 polling place in-person, or drop them off in an official county ballot drop-off location — apparently not trusting the U.S. Postal Service to get them to clerks in time to be counted.

In a Salt Lake Tribune report, county and state election officials said 1.6 million ballots are being mailed out this week — to all the registered voters in the state.

There is still time to register to vote with your local county clerk, or you can register on election day at your proper polling place, and get a provisional ballot and cast your vote. Go to vote.utah.gov to register to vote and read the voting rules and regulations.

Y2 asked over 1,000 people who said they are “likely” to vote this year a series of questions about how and when they planned to vote.

Here are some of the interesting findings:

— 23 percent said they would vote in their traditional manner — go to their polling place on Nov. 3, Election Day.
— 4 percent said they plan to vote early at an official early-voting location — like their county clerk’s office.
— 39 percent said they plan to get their ballot in the mail, fill it out, and then mail it back via the U.S. Postal Service to their county clerk.
— 34 percent said they plan to get their mail-in ballot in their mailbox, fill it out, and take it in person to an official ballot drop-off location, or drop it off on Election Day at their regular polling place.

How you plan to vote this year is reflective in your partisan leanings:

— A third of Utah Republicans, 32 percent, say they won’t be using the mail-in ballots that come to their houses. They will vote the old fashioned way, in person on Election Day at their polling location.
— 5 percent of Republicans said they would vote early in person at early voting locations.
— 34 percent of Republicans said they will vote by mail.
— And 29 percent said they would fill out their mail-in ballots, but not mail them, taking them instead to a drop-off location or to their normal polling place Nov. 3.
Political independents and Democrats appear ready to embrace mail-in balloting more than Republicans:
— Only 20 percent of independents said they will vote the old fashion way, on Election Day at their polling location.
— 2 percent said they would vote in-person early.
— 34 percent said they will mail-in their ballots via the Post Office.
— While 29 percent said they would drop off their mail-in ballots either at drop-off locations or at their Nov. 3 polling location.
Democrats are all about mail-in voting:
— 49 percent said they would mail in their ballots, 43 percent said they would take their mail-in ballots to a drop-off or at their Nov. 3 polling place.

That’s 92 percent of Democrats using their mail-in ballots in some form.

The Y2 polling shows what polling experts are warning about this year, not only in Utah but in many states that are using mail-in ballots in some form: You had better vote via mail-in ballots early, so your ballots are not dropped the final day of voting and clog up the U.S. Post Offices across the state and nationally.

It also means there may be longer lines on Election Day, as the number of polling places may be fewer and/or fewer number of polling officials at the polling places because of COVID-19, meaning slower in-person voting.

In critical swing states, if GOP voters’ in-person ballots are counted Nov. 3, 4 or 5, then Republican candidates — especially President Donald Trump — may see a better count for them soon after the polls close — with latter-day Democratic and independent mail-in ballots being counted later.

And we may not really know the vote totals for days after the Nov. 3 election.

Utah, however, is better off than many states.

We’ve had trustworthy mail in balloting for years, and usually by Friday, or Monday of the next week, even close races — like the 2018 4th U.S. House District — are pretty well decided by then.

Y2 polling also finds that nearly half of all Utah voters planning on using their mail-in ballots will cast those ballots early in the legal time-frame, with only 2 percent or 3 percent saying they plan on waiting close to the election deadline for their mail-in ballots to be cast.

And Y2 found that 90 percent of “likely” Utah voters said they are determined to vote this year — taking extra precautions to make sure their ballots will be counted. That may mean early voting in person or with their mail-in ballots, taking Nov. 3 off from work so they can wait in long lines, or taking other measures to make sure their ballots are legally cast on time to be counted.

Y2 sampled 1,192 “likely” voters from Sept. 26 to Oct 4, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.