Why the effects of Republican efforts to limit voting aren't clear

But as I noted previously, the idea that expanded absentee voting was responsible for Trump’s defeat and President Joe Biden’s victory nationally is far from clear. Democrats won a load of elections (including the 2018 midterms) in the Trump era when mail voting was far more limited than it was in 2020…

Further, the higher turnout this election likely wasn’t because of mail voting. While we’ll need more data to confirm this, the network exit polls showed that voters who were of voting age in 2016 and did not vote that year were actually less likely to vote by mail in 2020 (22%) than those who had voted by any method in the previous election (36%). They were far more likely to vote on Election Day in 2020 (49%) than those who had voted in 2016 (32%).

Indeed, the state of Texas provides a very good case study for the effects of voting by mail in 2020. As Republicans are trying to do in Georgia, Texas limited no-excuse absentee voting to those 65 years and older.

If no-excuse absentee voting were responsible for higher turnout, we would have seen a very large turnout boost between 64- and 65-year-olds in Texas. It didn’t happen, according to a study from Stanford University. This finding holds when you control for partisanship.