Most people in the United States support creating a federal holiday for voting, expanding hours at polling stations and requiring an identification card to vote. A majority also supports increasing the number of ballot drop boxes, allowing drive-through voting and allowing same-day voter registration on Election Day.
Those are some of the results from the 2022 American Bar Association Survey of Civic Literacy — the fourth annual survey conducted as part of Law Day. The results were released April 29.
A nationally representative survey of 1,000 adults was conducted in March to measure public opinion on voting rights, ballot access and racial justice, and to assess public knowledge of basic democratic principles. Among the results:
Holiday for voting: Two-thirds (66%) support creating a federal holiday for voting in federal elections. Only 27% oppose the idea.
Voting procedures: Strong majorities support expanding the hours at polling stations (80%), requiring a person to provide ID before voting (79%) and increasing the number of polling stations in their district (78%). A majority also supports increasing the use of ballot drop boxes (59%), allowing drive-through voting (58%) and instituting same-day voter registration on Election Day (55%).
Voting frequency: Asked how often they vote, more than half (59%) said “always” and 29% said “most of the time.” Just 1 in 10 (10%) said “occasionally” and 2% said never. Studies have found that self-reported turnout rates obtained from public opinion surveys tend to overestimate authenticated turnout rates. But in recent years, actual voter turnout has set records.
Why we vote: Among those who said they vote “always” or “most of the time,” a majority said they do so because “it is my civic responsibility” (68%), “elections matter to the future of the country” (58%) and “I believe my vote makes a difference” (53%). Less than half (42%) said they vote because of “my support of candidates.”
Why we don’t vote: Among those who said they vote “occasionally” or “never,” just under half (42%) said “candidates don’t motivate me” and nearly a third (31%) said “I don’t believe my vote makes a difference.”
Making a difference: Nearly half of those polled (42%) 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 (25%) said they have “not much” confidence or “no confidence.”
Racial bias: A majority (52%) agreed with the statement “The justice system has racial biases built into its rules, procedures and practices.” A majority of Black people (75%), Hispanic people (54%) and people age 18 to 34 (63%) agreed. But only 48% of white people and 40% of people age 65 and older agreed.
Rule of law: A majority (55%) agreed with the statement “The nation’s judicial system adheres to the rule of law, under which all individuals are treated equally in the eyes of the law.” Support was strongest among Hispanic people (61%), white people (59%) and people age 65 and older (65%). It was weakest among Black people (29%) and people age 18 to 34 (46%).
To read the full survey report, visit ambar.org/civicsurvey
To watch video of a program in which experts discuss the survey results, click here.
- ABA Election Administration Guidelines and Commentary
- ABA Standing Committee on Election Law
- Midyear Meeting 2022, Resolution 800 – Preserving the right to vote
- Midyear Meeting 2022, Resolution 801 – Amending the Electoral Count Act
- ABA Journal: