Get Out the Vote by Mail? Evidence from a Natural/Field Experiment

28 Pages Posted: 14 May 2009

See all articles by Kevin Arceneaux

Kevin Arceneaux

Temple University - Department of Political Science

Thad Kousser

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Megan Mullin

Duke University - Nicholas School of the Environment

Date Written: May 13, 2009

Abstract

Does the effectiveness of a “Get Out The Vote” (GOTV) contact depend upon the method by which a voter casts a ballot? This study investigates whether those who must vote by mail are more or less responsive to an in-person mobilization message than voters who live in traditional precincts with polling places. We combine a natural experiment designed to isolate the effects of voting by mail with a field experiment probing the impact of a door-to-door GOTV drive. Implementing this design in the November, 2008 general election in San Diego County, we hired professional canvassers to target a total of 29,717 randomly-assigned registered voters. Our preliminary results suggest that a personal GOTV contact has a larger effect on the participation of those who vote at polling places than it does on registrants assigned to vote by mail.

Keywords: field experiment, natural experiment, vote by mail

Suggested Citation

Arceneaux, Kevin and Kousser, Thad and Mullin, Megan, Get Out the Vote by Mail? Evidence from a Natural/Field Experiment (May 13, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1404027 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1404027

Kevin Arceneaux

Temple University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

Thad Kousser (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Megan Mullin

Duke University - Nicholas School of the Environment ( email )

Box 90328
Durham, NC 27708-0328
United States

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