This Chart Shows Why In-Person Voting Isn’t Enough to Win Anymore

Voting by mail has expanded so much that it is now the national standard, creating a dilemma for Republican opponents of the practice.


Even some leading “MAGA” Republicans are now calling on the party to embrace mail-in ballots.


The share of voters who cast their ballots early or by mail increased in last week’s midterm elections, continuing a trend that since 2020 has seen voting on Election Day become more the exception than the rule.

(Source: U.S. Census, Survey of the Performance of American Elections. Chart: FiveThirtyEight)

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a massive expansion of mail voting.


Donald Trump and other Republicans have pushed to restrict voting by mail, which the former president has said would “lead to massive corruption and fraud.”

  • But there has been a vibe shift following the GOP’s disappointing performance in last week’s midterm elections.
  • Trump pollster John McLaughlin said on a podcast Tuesday that Republicans must start capitalizing on absentee ballot votes, “otherwise, you won’t win elections.”
  • “Democrats have worked very hard for decades to move to an ‘election season’ where they can harvest ballots every day of that election season so that by Election Day, they have already won. Whereas Republicans keep focusing on getting people excited for Election Day,” Federalist editor in chief Mollie Hemingway said Monday on Fox News.
  • “That is not going to work in places where there’s massive unsupervised balloting and ballot trafficking operations, so they either need to do a much better job of fighting those things, or they need to join and actually play according to the new rules of the game.”