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Polling Demonstrates Inconsistent Public Knowledge About Election Policy

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Polling conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group for The Pew Charitable Trusts indicates that many voters are not well-informed about election policies. Early voting is the area in which survey respondents demonstrated the most accurate knowledge. Of particular note, voters in states that allow Election Day registration knew more about their registration options than those in states that do not allow it.

Among registered voters living in states with early voting:

  • 11 percent did not realize that their state offered the option of voting early.
  • 11 percent were unsure whether early voting was available in their state.

Among registered voters living in states where no excuse is necessary to request an absentee ballot:

  • 10 percent believed that they would need to provide an excuse to vote absentee.
  • 30 percent did not know whether no-excuse absentee voting was allowed in their state.

In states that allow citizens to register and vote at the polls on Election Day:

  • 16 percent believed their state did not allow Election Day registration.
  • 14 percent did not know whether Election Day registration was offered in their state.

In states that do not allow voters to register on Election Day:

  • 26 percent thought that they could register and vote on Election Day.
  • 30 percent did not know whether Election Day registration was allowed.

These data come from a national sample of 1,001 registered voters contacted Sept. 18-26, 2013. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.10 percentage points.

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