Voting by mail in Wisconsin significantly helped a liberal candidate win a race for the state Supreme Court, an analysis by The New York Times found.
The newspaper said liberal Jill Karofsky, actually performed 10 percentage points better than her conservative opponent, incumbent Daniel Kelly, in votes cast by mail than she did at polling places earlier this month.
In all, the results suggest Democrats were better organized in the vote-by-mail efforts. The election had forced voters to decide whether to vote in-person and possibly put their health at risk during the pandemic or send in their ballots by mail.
The Times analyzed data collected from 27 Wisconsin municipalities. It showed Karofsky’s vote-by-mail advantage was consistent across the communities. The paper noted that in one precinct, Kelly had won 64% of the of the vote cast on Election Day, while Karofsky took in 70% of vote cast by mail.
“You probably had much more core frequent and Democratic voters voting by mail and late-deciding voters waiting to vote at the polls,” said Robert Stein, a political scientist at Rice University. “The Democrats proved they can mobilize their voters to vote by mail.”
Amelia Showalter, the data analytics director for Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign, said the Wisconsin results might signal a change in the perception of mail voting.
“The people who used it were older voters who voted more Republican,” Showalter said of the perception. “As you get more widespread adoption, you get into more of those low-propensity voters. It might advantage Democrats.”
President Donald Trump has ripped the practice of conducting elections entirely by mail, saying it could lead to voter fraud.
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