The Effects of Election Festivals on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment Conducted During the 2017 General Election
17 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020
Date Written: March 4, 2020
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
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