The U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s 2022 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) Shows How Voting Has and Has Not Changed Since Pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released the 2022 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS) report, the nation’s most comprehensive source of election administration data collected from 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. The 2022 EAVS highlights how election dynamics have and have not changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report covers topics such as voter registration, military and overseas voting, mail voting, early and Election Day polling place operations, voter participation, and election technology. These data are vital in helping election officials, policymakers, and other election stakeholders identify trends, anticipate and respond to changing voter needs, invest resources to improve election administration and the voter experience, and better secure U.S. elections infrastructure.
“With the participation of every state and local election office in the nation, the EAVS data provide us with an invaluable understanding of the election process and the management challenges faced by election officials today,” said EAC Chairwoman Christy McCormick, Vice Chair Ben Hovland, Commissioner Donald Palmer, and Commissioner Thomas Hicks in a joint statement. “To keep the survey as relevant as possible in this ever-evolving environment, new questions were added, such as on how election officials perform post-election auditing and recounts. These findings show the multiple ways election offices verify the process that should give voters confidence in the accuracy of our election results and faith in the work of election administrators.”
Key findings from the 2022 EAVS include:
- Motor vehicle offices accounted for 55% of the total registrations received for the 2022 general election—the highest share of voter registrations by any method in EAVS history. Online registrations accounted for 14%; registrations by mail, fax, and email combined accounted for 9.1%; and in-person registrations accounted for 5.9% of the total registration applications.
- Voter turnout during the 2022 midterm elections decreased by approximately 5% compared to the last midterm election, with only nine states showing turnout increases between these two elections. Of the citizen voting age population in the United States, 46.8% voted in the 2022 general election, comprising more than 112 million counted ballots.
- In-person voting on Election Day was the most common method for voters to cast their ballots, with 49% of voters using this method. While in-person voting rebounded during the 2022 midterms compared to the 2020 presidential election, when 30.5% of voters use this method, it was still lower than before the pandemic. During the 2018 midterms, 58.2% of voters used this mode.
- The increase in voting by mail that started during the pandemic continued into the 2022 midterms with nearly one-third of voters voting this way in 2022 compared to one-quarter in the 2018 midterm elections. However, when compared to the 2020 presidential election, this voting method decreased from 43%. Many states expanded opportunities to vote by mail in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In-person early voting decreased in 2022 compared to 2020, returning to pre-pandemic levels. Although the use of in-person early voting increased in the 2020 general election to 30.5%, it decreased to 22.2% in the 2022 general election, similar to the level of in-person early voting seen for the 2018 general election.
- Election officials reported having an easier time recruiting poll workers during the 2022 midterms compared to the 2018 midterms-- 22.7% described this recruitment as being “somewhat easy” or “very easy” in 2022 as opposed to 15.3% in 2018.
- Data from a new question in the 2022 EAVS found more than 80,000 individuals served as first-time poll workers during the 2022 general election, comprising 16.7% of the poll worker population for this election.
- 645,219 poll workers assisted with early and Election Day in-person voting for the 2022 general election.
- Based on a new question in the 2022 Policy Survey on auditing, nearly all states (94.6%) reported examining whether voting machines are tabulating votes correctly before vote tabulation begins, also known as logic and accuracy testing.
- Most states (76.4%) also reported conducting some form of post-election tabulation audits, which is when a sample of ballots are selected and re-tabulated and the results are compared to the originally reported vote totals.
The EAVS 2022 Policy Survey expanded the series of questions asking states to report their auditing activities, this time focusing on specific types of audits both before and after an election. The EAC also added new and revised questions to the EAVS Policy Survey on areas such as drop boxes, curing mail ballots, accessible absentee voting, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ballot transmission and return methods.
For over 20 years, the EAC has conducted the EAVS following each federal general election. Prior to 2014, this data was reported in three different reports – the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) report, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) report, and the Election Day Survey/EAVS. Since 2008, this project has included a separate survey, the Election Administration Policy Survey (Policy Survey), that gathers information about state election laws, policies, and practices.
On Wednesday, July 19, the EAC will host a public in-person event, “The EAC Data Summit: How the U.S. Voted in the 2022 Midterms,” at the agency’s DC offices from noon to 4 p.m. ET. The event, which requires in-person registration, will include a review of significant EAVS findings and a discussion on how the EAVS can be utilized by election officials, academics, and other stakeholders to improve elections. It will also be live streamed on the EAC’s YouTube page. More information will be available on the EAC’s website leading up to the event.
Other resources, such as state-specific summaries of election administration and voting data, will be available on the EAC’s website later this year.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate, and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. The EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.