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Poll Finds Americans Deeply Concerned About Election Security, Integrity

February 28, 2020 by Dan McCue
FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2019, file photo, a man feeds a ballot card into a digital voting machine during a demonstration in Raleigh, N.C. Americans have widespread concerns about the security and integrity of elections. Few say they have high confidence that votes in the 2020 presidential election will be counted accurately. A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds skepticism about the democratic process in the United States. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)

A poll released Friday finds most Americans are deeply concerned about the security and integrity of elections, with only about a third having high confidence votes cast in the 2020 presidential election will be counted accurately.

The latest Associated Press-NOC Center for Public Affairs poll was conducted a week after FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress Russia is still engaged in “information warfare” heading into the 2020 election, but that law enforcement has not seen efforts to target voting machines or other elections infrastructure.

“It never stopped. It happened in 2016, and it’s been continuing ever since then. It may have an uptick during an election cycle, but it is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year threat,” Wray told the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 5.

But the poll suggests that even if Russia isn’t targeting voting infrastructure it may be achieving that goal because of the lack of voter confidence stemming from the 2016 election.

The poll, which was conducted Feb. 13-16, found Democrats were more likely than Republicans to express worries about the security of elections.

About 6-in-10 Democrats say they are very or extremely concerned that voting systems might be vulnerable to hackers.

Roughly two-thirds also are highly concerned that foreign governments will interfere in 2020 by tampering with results or influencing what Americans think about political candidates.

By contrast, fewer than half of Republicans express significant concern about hackers, and just about a quarter are highly concerned about any form of foreign interference.

Voter fraud and voter suppression also elicit a wide partisan divide. Nearly 7-in-10 Republicans show concerns about voter fraud, saying people voting who are not eligible is a major problem in U.S. elections. That compares with about a quarter of Democrats.

Meanwhile, Democrats are concerned about voter suppression. Almost two-thirds say it is a major problem that people who are eligible are not allowed to vote, while only about a third of Republicans say the same.

The opposing views come as Republicans in some states have implemented laws requiring voters to show identification, arguing that it will combat voter fraud. Democrats have fought many of those laws, saying they disenfranchise some voters.

Views on election integrity and security also divide along racial lines. Roughly two-thirds of black Americans say they have little confidence that votes in 2020 will be counted accurately, compared with fewer than 4 in 10 white Americans or Hispanics saying the same. Wide shares of black Americans, more so than white Americans or Hispanics, are concerned about hackers and foreign interference.

Nearly 8-in-10 black Americans also say it’s a major problem that people who are eligible are not allowed to vote.

The AP-NORC poll of 1,074 adults relies on a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

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