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Those who urge greater reliance on voting by mail (VBM) argue that VBM will help increase voter participation and reduce exposure for populations with greater risk for the COVID-19 disease. Yet an analysis of 2016 voting behavior in Cuyahoga County suggests that VBM could result in suppressing voter turnout among Black and Hispanic voters unless outreach to those populations can increase their confidence in, and preference for, using the postal service to cast their votes in the 2020 general election and beyond. This is a particularly important in the coming election due to the likely risk of exposure to COVID-19 at in-person polling places.
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Focus on Facts provides brief, thought-provoking information about urban policy issues based on research conducted at the Levin College. Our purpose is to stimulate additional discussion and debate. Questions or comments about specific topics can be addressed via email to the author(s). Questions or comments about the series of publications can be addressed to the Focus on Facts editor, Bob Gleeson, Professor and Albert A. Levin Chair of Urban Studies and Public Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.