The Effects of Election Festivals on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment Conducted During the 2017 General Election

17 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020

See all articles by Donald P. Green

Donald P. Green

Columbia University

Oliver A. McClellan

Columbia University - Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: March 4, 2020

Abstract

During the final days of the 2017 general election, Civic Nation coordinated a series of non-partisan election festivals designed to encourage voter turnout in targeted precincts across the country. Previous experimental research conducted in low-salience elections (Addonizio, Green and Glaser, 2007) and presidential elections (Green and McClellan, 2017) indicates that festivals held at polling sites significantly increase voter turnout. The present study revisits the effectiveness of festivals as an inducement to voting in low- and medium-salience elections. In 2017, 104 precincts were randomly assigned to treatment or control, making the current study larger than previous experiments. Festivals appear to have had a modest positive effect on turnout in 2017; however, this effect was smaller than estimated in previous research. Heavy rains in 85% of the sites as well as limited community outreach prior to Election Day may explain the weaker treatment effects observed in 2017.

Keywords: voter turnout

Suggested Citation

Green, Donald P. and McClellan, Oliver A., The Effects of Election Festivals on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment Conducted During the 2017 General Election (March 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3548941 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3548941

Donald P. Green

Columbia University ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
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United States

Oliver A. McClellan (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States
6173356452 (Phone)
6173356452 (Fax)

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