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Sept. 19, 2020, 7:23 p.m. EDT

Majority of Americans plan to vote before Election Day, AP-NORC poll finds

Voting by mail has not been a partisan issue in the past, and until recently, Republicans were more likely to do so than Democrats, with older voters tending to vote by mail more than younger voters

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By Associated Press

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In swing states like Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats have far outpaced Republicans in requesting mail-in ballots so far this year.

John Mohr, 58, who works at a Dollar General store in Wilmington, N.C., asked for a mail-in ballot, but he plans to drop it off at his local elections office. He’s seen videos on Facebook saying — falsely — that mail-in ballots are labeled by party, tipping off postal workers who could throw them out before they reach the elections office.

“I don’t trust the postal service and I sure don’t trust Democrats,” Mohr said. Trump in North Carolina this month called for his supporters to vote twice — once by mail and once on Election Day — to ensure their vote is counted, which would be illegal. The president now urges supporters voting by mail to check at their polling place whether their ballot was received, but Mohr said he doesn’t want to deal with social distancing rules.

“I don’t want to stand there with 50 different rules,” Mohr said.

The poll shows only 34% of Americans have great confidence in the U.S. Postal Service, following a summer of controversy over slowed service resulting from cuts made by Trump’s appointee. Still, 49% say they have some confidence.

Democrats suspect the cuts are an effort to sabotage mail voting, and Trump himself said he’d be happy if the post office got less money to stop Democratic efforts to expand that method of voting.

Robert Schott, a Republican, plans to vote in person because his polling place is 500 yards from his home in Cranford, N.J., and is rarely crowded. “It’s easier than going to the post office,” said Schott, 62.

Schott, who dislikes Trump and does not know who he will vote for, spoke as he looked at the ballot that just arrived by mail. Though Trump has criticized that practice, Schott sees nothing wrong with it. Nor does he distrust the postal service.

“If they can’t handle 50 million ballots but they can handle 2 billion Christmas cards, c’mon,” Schott said.

Christopher Roquemore, 47, a Democrat in Montgomery, Ala., will vote early in person because he’s volunteering as a poll worker on Election Day. “I figure as long as I wear a mask and I wash my hands and do everything I’m supposed to do, it’ll be as safe as going into a grocery store,” he said.

But his parents, who live across the street, will be voting by mail.

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