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Voting & Mobile

Posted Oct 19, 2020

The American general election is in only two weeks, and projections are estimating more Americans will vote in the 2020 general than several previous elections. With mobile devices in everyone’s pocket, we looked at what exactly Americans were doing while waiting to vote this year. 

According to the Pew Research Center, more voters say it “really matters” who wins the presidency than at any point in the last 20 years. While much news has been made of mail-in voting and absentee ballots (effectively the same thing) the bulk of voters are still expected to show up to the polls themselves, either during early voting periods, or on November 3rd. 

We asked a broad swathe of American mobile users about their voting plans to see what and how their mobile device would be used outside the polls — First we wanted to see what the general plan for voting was.

More than half of the total respondents planning on voting in person, either on election day (November 3rd) or during their state’s early voting period. The vast bulk of these respondents (41.48%) plan on voting on Election day itself. This has long been the most popular method of voting and continues to be so, even with COVID-19 giving some voters pause. That pause has created a huge demand for mail-in or absentee ballots — 34.9% of respondents have already or plan on mailing in their ballot. 

Long Lines & How to Spend the Time

Long lines are expected due to the contentious and close election, and respondents are anticipating long lines by an almost 3-2 margin. Those long lines mean long wait times to cast ballots, so what are voters doing with that time? 

For two-thirds of voters, their mobile device will be occupying their time. More than 4 in 10 will be using social media to occupy their time, and more than a quarter will be playing mobile games to relax and take their mind out of the game before making their final ballot decisions. 

Listening to music, podcasts, and streaming video also look like they’ll take up many voters’ time. We asked what podcasts might be popular and the top 3 were:

  • NPR — Including This American Life, Radiolab, and various NPR news podcasts
  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • The Daily Wire

No matter what voters listen to, they’ll have plenty of content by November 3rd. 

American Readers: Vote!

To check on early voting timelines and laws in your state, we recommend Many states are already in full swing! Data on voter registration deadlines can also be found on’s website

Remember: In many jurisdictions, there are limits to when the phone has to go in the pocket (since it counts as an electronic recording device) so check before taking your phone out in the booth! 

About the Respondents
The 229 Respondents to the survey encompassed a wide range of American eligible voters, with a mix of regions, ages, and household incomes. 

Almost half of respondents (49%) were between 18 and 44 and males and females were almost evenly distributed at 47.81% and 52.19% respectively (50.8% of the US population is female according to the most recent census data). 

Join the Conversation
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