New findings from the Ad Council Research Institute (ACRI) and the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) show that conservative and independent voters have a strong distrust of the U.S. election system.
According to the new study, (Dis)Trust in Elections: Rebuilding Voter Trust & Confidence in the U.S. Election Process, only about a third of conservative-leaning voters believe the 2020 election was conducted fairly and accurately. Another third are not confident, while 31 percent are not confident at all.
Half of independent voters are somewhat confident that the 2020 election was fair and accurate, with 28 percent not very confident and 18 percent not at all confident.
“Especially as we head into a new election cycle, the need to instill trust in the process at all levels among American voters is paramount,” Derrick Feldmann, lead researcher and managing director of ACRI and Ad Council Edge, said in a press release. “While our findings show distrust is present, there is hope. Making this information available will empower organizations in communities across the country to change the tide of voter doubt for the upcoming election cycle and those in the future.”
The factors that have contributed to skepticism in U.S. elections include voter fraud, illegal voters, issues with counting/tallying/auditing, and delays in results, according to the report. Respondents say that those issues are concerns for future elections.
Among conservatives, 74 percent believe voter fraud took place and 72 percent believe unregistered or illegal aliens voted. Among independents, 48 percent believe voter fraud occurred, while 44 percent believe unregistered voters or illegal aliens voted.
The report also found that distrust is the highest after an individual casts a ballot.
“American voters should have the utmost confidence that when they cast their ballots on Election Day, their vote will count,” Sandhya Bathija, vice president of communications for CLC, said in the release. “Clearly, the research indicates there are some gaps that must be addressed. But there are also reasons to be optimistic—that by drawing attention to the checks and balances within our electoral process, we can help increase knowledge and change attitudes and behaviors among this unique demographic of voters.”