The swell in voting this year was powered by a polarizing presidential race and the many steps that election officials took to make voting safer — and therefore easier — during the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, according to a recent poll from the Pew Research Center, 94 percent of voters said that voting in the November election was “easy.”
That ease in voting could also be read as “access.” The expansion of vote by mail, early voting, online registration and online ballot requests broke down many of the traditional barriers that sometimes kept people away from the ballot box. Others simply used long-existing laws as they sought to deliver a verdict on Mr. Trump’s four tumultuous years in office.
The expansion of voting options also created a fall “election season” rather than a sole Election Day, a change that is likely to endure and force political campaigns to restructure fall operations with a greater emphasis on getting out the vote over a period of weeks.
“We opened the doors to access,” said Adrian Fontes, the top election official in Maricopa County, the largest county in Arizona, where, for the first time, more than 80 percent of the eligible population voted in the general election. It also flipped from Republican to Democratic for the first time in 72 years.