In the lead up and after the 2020 presidential election, it was clear that voting by mail had a clear divide, mostly driven by Donald Trump's demonization of the process as well as other Republicans. However, no states (as far as I know) have moved to outright ban mail in voting after the 2020 presidential election. Mail-in vs in person (election-day) votes per 538:

Mail in vs absentee, 2020 election

Trump, then the incumbent Republican president even won in-person votes in deep blue states like Hawaii and Maryland as well as a few others. The elections in 2021 so far show that the mail-in vs in-person partisan divide appears to be holding up. Biden won mail-in voting in states like Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Why haven't Republicans actively moved to restrict voting by mail in states that they have control over at the state legislative level, especially in swing states, as of writing?

Doing so would seem like a logical move given the fact that they passed laws trying to restrict voters that are less likely to vote for them. Such a move could be even more effective because while the gap between White and Nonwhite voters is about as large as mail-in vs in-person election-day (at least in 2020 and may be slightly larger), this could knock off more mail-in voters given enough wouldn't want to vote in person if it was the only option, and this would be a far more direct move than say closing a polling place in a heavily Democratic area.

Note: four Republican controlled states, and 3 solidly Republican states, restrict mail in voting and require disability and/or being elderly to use a mail-in ballot. But these are not new restrictions. Also, people asked if this is discrediting. I disagree because Republicans have gone on tape publicly to say not letting certain people (often African-Americans, the most Democratic major constituency of all) vote at as high of a rate would increase their odds. Yes it doesn't say that specifically but studies show Voter ID laws have these effects. See here for evidence of a modest but potentially significant effect of voter ID laws which is a precedent for such motives.

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    Who says they haven't? apnews.com/article/…
    – Fizz
    Sep 24 at 14:21
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    I’m voting to close this as discredits because of “Doing so would seem like a logical move given the fact that they passed laws trying to restrict voters that are less likely to vote for them.” Sep 24 at 14:36
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    This is going to be hard to answer without finding some statement from those Republicans. Don't rely on those numbers though. If voting by mail was eliminated some portion of those people, perhaps most of them, would just vote in person. It might be enough to swing it, but it might not. Considering that, here's something you might think about. If you really wanted to win at any cost you would allow all those Democrats to vote by mail and then throw those votes out after the election for whatever spurious reasons you could come up with.
    – Eric Nolan
    Sep 24 at 14:39
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    m.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOT1bRYdK8 -- here is an example of Republicans pushing this idea of trying to block people who would likely vote against them THEMSELVES. Specifically this is a Pennsylvania Republican saying voter ID will help Romney win Pennsylvania. This is not a baseless conspiracy, this is their own words. There are multiple examples. Sep 24 at 14:46
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    There was a rush in so-called "red states" to curtail those kinds of voting access measures - restricting early voting times, banning drop-boxes, not allowing applications to be sent to all voters, etc., so I disagree with the premise that it hasn't been happen, or isn't happening. Sep 24 at 17:13

Mail-in voting is extremely popular among two groups that Republicans rely on: the military (who often need to vote from widely dispersed bases) and the elderly (who often find voting in person strenuous or difficult). As I remember, several of the GOP voting restriction bills try to split the difference by limiting mail-in to those select groups, trying by various means and tests to prevent comparatively young, non-infirm, non-military individuals from voting by mail. But banning mail-in voting entirely (by common perspectives on demographics) would hurt GOP turnout more than the Democrat.

  • Severely restrict is different from banning. This is a good answer. Sep 24 at 14:43

Why haven't any Republican-controlled states moved to ban or severely restrict mail in voting?

States cannot ban mail-in voting due to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).

The act requires that all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands allow certain U.S. citizens to register to vote and to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections.

Several Republican-led states have passed restrictions on mail-in votes that have been criticized. Those in opposition to these restrictions characterize the restrictions in ways that may qualify as "severe".

Florida's Legislature passed an election bill Thursday that includes restrictions on drop boxes and voting by mail over the concerns of Democrats and voting rights activists that the restrictions would amount to voter suppression.

Voting rights advocates broadly criticize the law, and are particularly concerned that the way the law is written—that if you do not cast an early ballot in any elections, for two consecutive election cycles, you will be kicked off the list. “If you vote in person that will still trigger the provisions of this [law] to begin the process of purging you from the list,” says Alex Gulotta, Arizona state director for All Voting is Local. That is “insidious,” he adds.

It will become a state jail felony for local election officials to send unsolicited applications to request a mail-in ballot. That same punishment applies to officials who approve the use of public funds “to facilitate” the unsolicited distribution of applications by third-parties, which would keep counties from providing applications to local groups helping get out the vote. Political parties would still be able to send out unsolicited applications on their own dime.

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