Backtracking after the vote? Multiple U.S. states allow ballot changes

At a recent campaign event, Trump encouraged voters who had already voted early for Biden to withdraw their ballots and re-vote for himself. After the event, Google searches for the question “Can I change my vote?” spiked.

It is indeed possible to change your vote in some areas. Currently, eight states allow voters to change their vote. Some states allow two additional absentee ballots to be cast, some states allow changes to be made on the spot on Election Day after the absentee ballot is cast, and some states allow voters to request changes or make changes at any time during a specific deadline.

This technical fine-tuning won’t have much of an impact on the outcome of this year’s general election.

The first reason is because more than half of the voters have already voted early, and the rest of the voters will continue to vote before Election Day. In terms of individual behavior, changing the vote is an easy thing to say, but in practice it is very “troublesome”, which will make voters reluctant to change due to “procrastination”.

Secondly, in terms of willingness and propensity to vote, assuming that someone does eventually change his/her vote, he/she should be an undecided voter. Undecided voters in this election will be hesitant in a few main ways: they may not be happy with either candidate; they don’t like Trump’s personality, but they also don’t like Biden’s policies; they don’t usually care so much about politics and only care about issues that are relevant to their lives (e.g., health care, jobs, taxes, security, etc.); and some don’t want to vote at all when there is no candidate they particularly like.

Some analysts believe that there are only 3 to 5 percent of uncertain voters left, and Trump can’t win all the votes of these voters, not to mention that a significant portion of these voters may not vote in this election. Thus, with less than a week until Election Day, these voters have little ability to influence the election.