In celebration of Law Day, the ABA unveiled results from the fourth annual ABA Survey of Civic Literacy on April 29 during a live online event.
The survey measured the American public’s knowledge of civics and their views on a range of topical issues. This year’s results included public opinion on proposed changes to voting requirements, why people say they vote and whether they think their vote makes a difference.
“The release of the 2022 ABA Survey of Civic Literacy in celebration of Law Day highlights the public’s knowledge of civics as well as opinions on the critical issue of voting rights and access,” said ABA President Reginald Turner. “People in our country need to be proficient in civic knowledge and must know their rights and responsibilities. We must all be involved and engaged for our society to move forward.”
Turner spoke at the April 29 event, and a panel of experts discussed the results on voting rights and access. Yamiche Alcindor, Washington correspondent for NBC News and moderator for PBS’ “Washington Week,” moderated. Panelists included Amir Badat, who serves as manager of the Voting Rights Defender and Prepared to Vote Projects and as voting special counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Wendy K. Mariner, former chair of ABA Section of Civil Rights & Social Justice and founder of the Task Force on Fair Elections and Voting Rights; and Phillip J. Strach, a litigator for both plaintiffs and states in redistricting cases.
Among the survey results, two-thirds of respondents support creating a federal holiday for voting in federal elections. Only 27% opposed the idea. Strong majorities support expanding the hours at polling stations, requiring a person to provide ID before voting, and increasing the number of polling stations in their district. A majority also support increasing the use of ballot drop boxes, allowing drive-through voting and instituting same-day voter registration on Election Day.
More than a third of those polled said their state has enacted laws making it easier to vote since 2020. One-fifth said the state has enacted laws making it harder to vote.
Nearly half of those polled said they have “some” confidence that their vote makes a difference. A third said they have “a lot” of confidence about making a difference and a quarter said they have “not much” confidence or “no confidence.”
Respondents were also asked questions about the fairness of the justice system. A majority agreed with the statement “The justice system has racial biases built into its rules, procedures and practices.” A majority of Black people, Hispanic people and people age 18 to 34 agreed. But only 48% of white people and 40% of people age 65 and older agreed.
The ABA Law Day theme was “Toward a More Perfect Union: The Constitution in Times of Change.” To read the full survey, visit ambar.org/civicsurvey.