Multiple Voting Methods, Multiple Mobilization Opportunities? 
Voting Behavior, Institutional Reform, and Mobilization Strategy 
 
 
Christopher B. Mann
University of Miami
Department of Political Science
Assistant Professor
Genevieve Mayhew
University of Maryland, College Park
Department of Political Science
PhD Candidate
 
 
Prepared for the University of Maryland American Politics Workshop, February 17, 2012, 
College Park, Maryland. We would like to thank Nick Carnes, Mike Hanmer, Paul Herrnson, 
and  the  participants  in  the  University  of  Maryland’s  Center  for  American  Politics  and 
Citizenship  workshop  staff  who  provided  valuable  feedback  on  this  project.  Additionally, 
we would like to thank the anonymous partner organizations who allowed us to design and 
implement  the  field  experiment  as  part  of  their  voter  contact  programs.  Without  their 
funding for voter contact and cooperation in implementing the experiments, this research 
would  not  have  been  possible.  The  views  expressed  in  this  paper  are  solely  those  of  the 
authors. Any errors are also the sole responsibility of the authors. 

 

 
Multiple Voting Methods, Multiple Mobilization Opportunities? 
Voting Behavior, Institutional Reform, and Mobilization Strategy 

Abstract
The landscape of how votes are cast in the US has changed dramatically due to the growth of
voting by mail and early in person voting. These changes appear to confront voters with choices
about how to vote as well as whether to vote. They also appear to present voter mobilization
efforts with more opportunities to increase turnout. We use four field experiments to expand
understanding of voting behavior, gain insight on the voting reforms, and assess sequential
mobilization strategies. Sequential mobilization is the common practice of consecutively
attempting to mobilize citizens using each available method of voting (voting by mail, early inperson voting, and Election Day voting). We found mobilization for the first method of voting
was successful (either voting by mail or early in-person voting), but sequential mobilization
attempts for later modes of voting did not generate a significant increase in turnout. Our findings
indicate that voters make a single decision about whether to vote and stick with it. That is
Americans behave as if they hold stable and consistent views about participation. The results
also indicate that voting reforms may offer more opportunities to increase turnout than skeptics
about pre-Election Day voting think but have much less impact on turnout than supporters hope.
Finally, sequential mobilization is wasteful since mobilization for later voting methods does not
generate additional turnout.
Reporters would ask, “How did early voting change your strategy?” It didn’t
change our strategy. It was our strategy. We sat down and said “where early
voting is no excuse, and convenient, we will begin the day that early votes start.”
[We engaged in] voter contact as though it was Election Day.

 
~ Jon Carson, Field Director of 2008 Obama Presidential campaign1
Election Day can be spread out over weeks. That means your get-out-the vote
costs are more than ever.
~ Michael DuHaime, Political Director of 2008 McCain Presidential campaign2

People in most of the US no longer simply choose whether to vote, they also choose how,
when, and where to vote. The one dimensional calculus of voting has become multi-dimensional
through reforms allowing voters to choose no excuse voting by mail (a.k.a. absentee voting) or
early in person voting locations. However, the study of voting continues to primarily view
‘voting’ as a one dimensional decision about whether to participate and excluding the different
ways citizens may cast a ballot. When pre-Election Day voting is examined, it is usually treated
in isolation rather than as part of the sequence of options available to voters. This paper begins to
remedy this shortcoming in the literature by studying the decision to vote across the sequence of
voting opportunities from vote by mail, to early in-person voting, to Election Day voting.
Specifically, we use 4 large field experiments to study whether civic and political organizations
can increase turnout by mobilizing citizens across the sequence of voting methods. These results
provide new and important insights about voting behavior, institutional voting reforms, and
campaigns.
As the quotes above indicate, campaign professionals are attuned to the opportunities that
the pre-Election Day voting period provides to mobilize voters. Rather than mobilizing voters for
a singular “Election Day”, pre-Election Day voting allows political and civic organization to
contact potential voters multiple times to get out vote using different methods of voting. Multiple
voter contacts drives up the cost of voter mobilization efforts (Stein and McNeese 2009;
                                                        
1
Quoted Jamieson (2009), pg 44.
2

Quoted in Nagourney (2008).

 
Nordinger 2003), but campaign professionals across the political spectrum appear to see preElection Day voting as an opportunity to increase turnout (e.g. Rove 2011; Nicholas 2008).

The landscape of how votes are cast in the US has undergone a radical metamorphosis in
the last dozen years. In the 2000 Presidential General Election, 16% of ballots were cast prior to
Election Day. By the 2008 Presidential General Elections, the share of ballots cast before
Election Day almost doubled to 29% and increased again to 32% in the 2010 Mid-term General
Election. Within states that allow pre-Election Day voting, the share of ballots cast before
Election Day is often much higher (Early Vote Information Center 2011). Thirty-three states
allow voters to cast ballots days or weeks before “Election Day” using no excuse voting by mail
(a.k.a. absentee voting) or early in person voting locations (National Conference of State
Legislatures 2011).
Support for these pre-Election Day voting reforms have been based heavily on the
convenience of voting by mail [VBM] and early in-person voting [EIPV] compared to
traditional Election Day voting at a precinct polling place.3 For example, supporters of the
federal Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act of 2009 [H.R. 2084] argue that “[a]s our personal
and professional lives become busier and more demanding, too many of us do not have the
opportunity to make it to the polls on Election Day. Mail-in voting is more convenient for all
Americans… And all citizens could calmly consider difficult choices on their ballots in the
privacy of their own home instead of under pressure of the confines of a polling booth,”
(National Association of Letter Carriers 2011). Flexibility in the timing and location when using
VBM or EIPV is expected to lower the cost of voting, and the lower cost is in turn expected to
                                                        
We focus on the voluntary no excuse voting by mail that is available in addition to traditional

3

precinct polling place voting (and early in person voting). Thus, voting by mail is distinct from
all mail elections (e.g. Oregon and Washington).

 
increase participation in voting (Gronke et al 2008).
The transformation of the process of voting has implications for the understanding of
voting behavior. Pre-Election Day voting requires voters to make choices about what method of
voting to use, in addition to the long studied decision about whether to participate in voting. For
nearly a century following the adoption of the secret ballot in the early 1900s, questions about
when, where, and what method of voting to use were irrelevant abstractions in the study of
voting behavior since Americans had no choices about how to vote.4 However, the
transformation of voting in the US over the last dozen years has made how, when, and where to
voter relevant questions to voters and voter mobilization efforts – and should make these
questions important to scholars.

This paper examines the full process of deciding whether and how to vote when multiple
methods of voting are allowed. We present four large scale field experiments that measure civic
and political organization’s common practice of attempting to mobilize the same voters for
different methods of voting in a particular election. We refer to the practice of attempting to
mobilize citizens to vote using each mode of voting as it arises sequentially in the election
calendar as “sequential mobilization”. Recruitment for VBM comes first because any citizen can
request a mail ballot months before the election. EIPV is second because it provides the
opportunity to vote in-person at an official voting location for one or more weeks prior to
Election Day (the EIPV period varies by state). Anyone who was not recruited to use VBM can
                                                        
4
Absentee voting was first instituted to allow Union soldiers to vote during the 1864 elections
during the Civil War. It has long been available in most jurisdictions for members of the military,
students, and ill or infirm voters who meet one of the legally proscribed set of excuses for being
unable to make it to the polls on Election Day. However, the use of ‘excused’ absentee voting
was very small and remains so in states still requiring an excuse for absentee voting.

 
be encouraged to vote during the extended in-person voting period. Election Day is the final
opportunity to change a non-voter’s mind about participating in the election.
In addition to providing insights about voting behavior, these experiments provide

insights on the effect of institutional voting reforms. The experiments do not directly measure the
effect of instituting voting reforms since it is impossible to randomly assign voting rules. Instead,
the treatments measure the effect of reforms as individuals learn about them. Since many citizens
are unaware of how to vote using VBM and EIPV, the treatments encouraging and explaining
these alternative methods make these reforms a reality for the treated voters. Thus, the impact of
the treatments can be interpreted as the effect of institutional reforms.
The four field experiments conducted in Maryland, Idaho, Ohio, and North Carolina
during the 2010 General Election assess treatments with different combinations of mobilization
for voting by mail, early in-person voting, and Election Day voting. The consistent results across
all four experiments have important implications for voting behavior, voting reforms, and
campaign practice. We find statistically significant increases in turnout from mobilizing citizens
for the first method of voting (VBM in Experiments 1-3 and EIPV in Experiment 4). However,
we find no additional increases in turnout from mobilization for subsequent modes of voting.
We make contributions to the study of voting behavior, institutional voting reforms, and
election strategy. First, from a behavioral perspective, our findings indicate that voters make a
single decision about whether to vote and stick with it. Additional communication later in the
election about additional methods of voting does provoke a reconsideration of this decision. In
short, our findings support the proposition that Americans behave as if they hold stable and
consistent views about participation, at least in the context of a particular election. Second,
although instituting reform does not appear to increase turnout on its own, voting reforms do

 
appear to create new opportunities to increase participation when citizens become aware of how

to use pre-Election Day voting. On the other hand the impact of reform should not be overstated,
since new methods of voting appear to create alternative opportunities for voting (and
mobilization) rather than additional opportunities as supporters of reform expect. Third, the
increase in turnout using mobilization for VBM and EIPV replicates the findings of other field
experiments that studied these mobilization tactics in isolation. Finally, the results suggest that
civic and political organizations should not pursue sequential mobilization strategies.
The paper proceeds as follows: The next section of the paper discusses how sequential
mobilization expands existing research on voting behavior. Section 3 explains how sequential
mobilization provides insights into the effects of election reform. Section 4 describes the logic
behind why civic and political organizations often use sequential mobilization strategies. Section
5 describes the research design and methodology of the four field experiments. Section 6 details
each experiment and its findings. Section 7 discusses the results before we conclude in Section 8.

2. Sequential Mobilization and Voting Behavior
It is well established that communication from civic and political organizations plays an
important part in shaping individual decisions about whether to vote. Rosenstone and Hansen
(1993) attribute the decline in US voting participation in the late 20th Century to the decline of
mass political parties that repeatedly interacted with citizens. The field experiments literature on
voter mobilization has demonstrated that mobilization efforts by civic and political organizations
can significantly boost voter turnout. However, the field experiments literature also shows that
some commonly used voter mobilization tactics have little or no effect (for recent reviews see
Green and Gerber 2008; Michelson and Nickerson 2011). Our goal is to find out whether

 
sequential mobilization is effective at increasing participation and what the answer means for
understanding voting behavior.
The availability of pre-Election Day voting provides civic and political organizations
with more opportunities to mobilize voters. Civic and political organizations have historically
been concentrated mobilization efforts in the final days before Election Day, and evidence from
field experiments supports this practice because treatments close to Election Day are generally
more effective than earlier communication (Nickerson 2007; Green & Gerber 2008 pg.143; c.f.
Panagopolous 2011b). However, pre-Election Day voting means the traditional mobilization
opportunity of Election Day is stretched over many weeks.
Civic and political organizations can mobilize voters by encouraging pre-Election Day

voting. Recent field experiments show that encouraging EIPV increases overall turnout and is as
good an opportunity to do so as Election Day voting. A comparison of EIPV mobilization and
Election Day mobilization using the same mobilization message found an equal impact on voter
turnout through each mode of voting (Mann 2012). A series of large scale field experiments
found that treatments to recruit voters to request a mail ballot consistently generated a
statistically significant increase in turnout. These experiments were conducted in multiple types
of elections from 2006 through 2010 by a variety of civic and political organization (Mann 2011;
Mann & Mayhew 2011).  It is notable that the VBM recruitment treatments are most effective
when focusing on information about how to vote by mail rather than relying on the psychological
mechanisms that drive successful mobilization on Election Day (e.g. Green and Gerber 2008,

 
2010; Mann 2010).5
One important shortcoming of the recent field experiments on mobilization using VBM
and EIPV and the larger field experimental literature on mobilization for Election Day voting is
studying each mode of voting in isolation. The main question in examining sequential
mobilization is whether citizens in jurisdictions where multiple methods of voting are allowed
make decisions about each mode of voting separately or make one decision about whether to
vote and then decide how to vote. The success of sequential mobilization depends on how the
availability multiple methods of voting shape the process of deciding whether to vote. The key
issue is the order in which citizens make decisions about whether to vote and how to vote. Do

citizens decide whether to vote, and then choose among alternative modes of voting? In this case,
encouragement to use later modes of voting in sequential mobilization strategies will have little
or no effect. Alternatively, citizens may consider the merits of each method of voting then decide
whether they will use this method of voting. If citizens make a new decision about whether to
vote each time a different method of voting becomes available during the election cycle then
each mode provides a new opportunity to get citizens to vote. The new decision for each mode of
voting can be conceived of either as a quasi-independent decision on the merits of each method
or as a moment in a cumulative decision function when potential use of a different method of
voting is added.6

                                                        
In all mail elections, reminders to return the ballots with a robo call from the local election

5

office or face-to-face canvassing by a civic organization increased turnout (Mann and
Sondheimer 2009; Arceneaux, Kousser & Mullin 2011).
6

One prominent critique of pre-Election Day voting is that voters will make ballot choices

without full information (e.g. Meredith and Malhotra 2011), so the decisions about voting at

 
Whatever the exact nature of the decision process, the key question for sequential

mobilization is whether the availability of a different mode can be leveraged as the catalyst for a
fresh consideration of whether to turn out. Mobilization for sequential modes of voting assumes
voters can be prompted to make a new decision about participating when encouraged to use each
method of voting, and therefore mobilization for each mode of voting will generate an additional
increase in turnout. If citizens make one decision about whether to vote, and then choose among
methods of voting as secondary decision, sequential mobilization will not work.
The question of whether multiple methods of voting add times for new decisions about
whether to vote or simply shifts a single decision to a different time echoes a long-standing
division in the understanding of political behavior. The Columbia School observes that most
citizens make up their minds about voting in advance of Election Day and once they make this
decision they are not influenced by communication during the election (e.g. Lazarsfeld, Berelson
& Gaudet 1948; Berelson, Lazarsfeld & McPhee 1954). The proposition that citizens will make
one decision about whether to vote when prompted by mobilization for the first method of voting
and will not reconsider when mobilized for other modes is consistent with the Columbia School
view of voting behavior. On the other hand, the Michigan School finds little evidence that
Americans have stable positions about politics and that political views can be influenced by the
flow of information citizens receive from political elites (e.g. Campbell, Converse, Miller &
Stokes 1960; Converse 1964; Lewis-Beck, Jacoby, Norpoth and Weisberg 2008; Zaller 1992).
The expectation that sequential mobilization will prompt new decisions about voting for each
method is consistent with the Michigan School’s perspective that citizens are susceptible to
                                                                                                                                                                                   
different times may also depend on factors that change over time other than the different costs to
cast a ballot be each subsequent method of voting.

10 

 
influence because they do not have lasting political dispositions.

3. Insights on Voting Reform from Sequential Mobilization Experiments
Communication by civic and political organizations is as vital to information citizens’
about elections as it is to shaping their behavior. We contend that this central role in informing
voters about the political world means that our experiments provide unusual and valuable
insights about the effect of voting reforms. Although it is impossible to randomly assign the rules
under which individuals vote, we can randomly assigned treatments that will make many citizens
aware of alternative methods of voting for the first time. Since the American public generally has
low levels of political knowledge for making voting choices (e.g. Campbell, Converse, Miller &
Stokes 1960; Popkin 1991; Zaller 1992), it seems reasonable to assume that citizens with
moderate and low probability of voting are unlikely to be sufficiently informed about VBM and
EIPV reforms that are esoteric to their daily lives to vote using these methods.
Under the assumption that voters lack information about reforms, our treatments that
encourage voters to use VBM or EIPV “create” these reforms for the citizens who would
otherwise not know about them. In a world where citizens have perfect information about voting
procedures, the effect of reform on behavior occurs immediately when reforms were instituted.
In a more realistic context, the effect of reforms is attenuated to the degree voters remain
unaware of the reforms. As a tool for understanding the impact of election reforms, the
treatments in our experiments are a randomized intervention that allows measurement of the
causal effects of informing citizens about pre-Election Day voting reforms. If informing citizens
about the reforms does not increase turnout, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the
reforms will have less impact when citizens likely to be unaware of the reforms. This indirect

11 

 

measurement of reforms through randomly altering citizens’ information levels gets around the
“build it and they will come” assumption that is all too common in observational studies about
the effects of voting reforms (c.f. Stein, Owens and Leighley 2003).
Although the measurement of effects of voting reforms may be indirect, the insights
about voting reform are important because the experimental methodology avoids the problems of
endogeneity and unobserved heterogeneity across jurisdictions and election years that plague
observational studies of election reform that rely on a small number of observations and
aggregate statistics about voting (Hanmer 2009).
A large observational literature on VBM and EIPV reforms finds little or no evidence that
allowing voters choices among these forms of voting increases turnout (Burden et al 2009;
Kropf, Parry, Barth & Jones 2008; Gronke, Galanes-Rosenbaum, Miller and Toffey 2008;
Gronke, Galanes-Rosenbaum and Miller 2007; Berinsky 2005; Fitzgerald 2005; Hanmer and
Traugott 2004; Karp and Banducci 2001; Berinsky, Burns, Traugott 2001; Neely and Richardson
2001; Stein 1998; Stein and Garcia-Monet 1997; Oliver 1996; Patterson & Caldeira 1985).7
Indeed, several scholars come to the conclusion that the most noteworthy effect of these reforms
is to make voting more convenient for people who would already vote (e.g. Berinsky 2005;
Burden et al 2009). However, the recent field experiments showing that VBM recruitment and
encouragement to use EIPV increase turnout support the proposition that these treatments inform
voters about how to use these methods of voting. The increase in turnout in these experiments
appears to be driven by the specific information provide about how to vote (Mann 2011; Mann
2012).
                                                        
7
Other research has examined the effect of instituting all mail voting with similar conclusions
about the lack of effect on turnout. We do not address this literature because all mail elections
and voluntary no-excuse voting by mail are radically different.

12 

 
The question about voting reforms that is addressed for the first time in these four

sequential mobilization experiments is whether allowing multiple modes of voting creates more
opportunities when citizens decide to vote or simply more choices for people who have already
decided to vote. Supporters of VBM and EIPV reforms often argue that creating more options for
voting will increase turnout by allowing citizens to choose a method of voting that best suits
them. This argument implies citizens will weigh costs and benefits separately for each method of
voting. If this belief about separate decision for each method of voting is correct, then
(awareness of) more methods of voting will generate an increase in turnout. On the other hand, it
is possible pre-Election Day voting reforms merely create alternative, earlier times at which
citizens make the decision about whether to vote. That is, allowing pre-Election Day voting may
shift the timing of a voter’s decision about whether to vote (and the method used to vote), but
will not to an increase in turnout.

4. Why Do Campaigns Use Sequential Mobilization?
When confronted with people who were unresponsive to attempts to mobilize them for an
early method of voting, a voter mobilization organization must decide whether to cease their
efforts or to try again to mobilize the same people to use another later mode of voting. There are
several reasons that civic and political organizations often follow the latter course of “if at first
you don’t succeed, try, try again”.
Voter mobilization programs are aimed at increasing the participation of a particular set
of citizens in pursuit of civic, policy, or political goals. Therefore, from an organization’s
perspective, deciding to stop mobilization efforts is less than satisfactory when additional
communication might increase turnout. Nor does the possibility of shifting focus to mobilize

13 

 

other people make ceasing efforts to mobilize the first targets more attractive because the second
group is – by definition – a lower priority on one or more dimensions of interest to the
organization.
Second, parallels to a number of other behaviors suggest that sequential mobilization will
be effective. Research on a wide range of behavior has demonstrated that repeated
communication increases the chances of getting the desired outcome. For example, consumer
choice is influenced by repeated advertising. Public health programs use repeated interventions
to reduce unhealthy behavior. Similarly, programs encouraging socially desirable behavior such
as recycling also use repeat communication to successfully influence behavior (Cialdini 2009).
Perhaps most familiar to political professionals, survey researchers routinely use multiple
contacts to increase survey participation (e.g. Atkeson et al 2011; Peytchev, Baxter & CarleyBaxter 2009; Mann 2005).
Third, the organizational decision to use sequential mobilization is frequently made when
resources become available late in the election cycle. By this point, organizations often have
deep commitments to plans and/or stretched too thin to undertake the necessary planning efforts
to identify new targets for mobilization.

5.1. Research Design
To test whether sequential mobilization is effective, we present four field experiments
conducted during the 2010 General Election using various combinations of sequential voting
treatments (detailed below). These experiments were conducted in partnership with a network of

14 

 

nonpartisan charitable 501(c)3 civic organizations.8 Since the experiments were embedded in our
partner organizations’ mobilization efforts in 2010, each experiment meets Gerber and Green’s
four criteria for “an ideal field experiment”: “(1) whether the treatment used in the study
resembles the intervention of interest in the world, (2) whether the participants resemble the
actors who ordinarily encounter these interventions, (3) whether the context within which
subjects receive the treatment resembles the context of interest, and (4) whether the outcome
measures resemble the actual outcomes of theoretical or practical interest” (Gerber & Green
2011; Chapter 2).
The design of these four field experiments resembles actual voter mobilization efforts in
a fifth way: Each experiment was initially designed to measure the effect of mobilization using
the first method of voting: i.e. recruitment to vote by mail in Experiments 1-3 and
encouragement to vote early in-person in Experiment 4. However, the initial designs were
revised to become sequential mobilization programs when our partner organizations received
additional resources to invest in voter mobilization. Therefore, we revised the experimental
designs to randomly assign sequential mobilization treatments for later modes of voting to a
subset of the original treatment group. We developed the design and did the random assignments
for each treatment in the four experiments.9

                                                        
8
Our agreement with these organizations specified unrestricted publication rights using the data
from this experiment, thus avoiding the potential for selection bias in reported results when
organizations control the release of information (Nickerson 2011; Gerber 2011).
9

Although we offered advice on best practices from existing research, the decisions to conduct

these voter mobilization programs, the decisions about which voters to contact, and the content
of the actual treatments were made by our partner organizations.

15 

 
5.1.1. Subjects

Selection of the subject population was performed by our partner organizations. All 
four experiments use the same basic selection parameters, but Experiments 3 and 4 include 
additional voters. The common selection parameters: (1) Registered voters with a “strong” 
match between phone listings and voter file records, according to Catalist LLC, a consumer 
data firm specializing in information on registered voters;10 (2) Registered voters with a 
predicted probability of voting between 30% and 70%, based on a predictive voter turnout 
model provided by Catalist LLC. This criterion was based on previous research that voter 
mobilization contacts have maximum impact for registered voters with a 50‐50 chance of 
turning out (Green and Gerber 2008 p. 174; Arceneaux and Nickerson 2009b; Parry et al. 
2008; Hillygus 2005; Niven 2004). (3) Registered voters with a likelihood of responding to 
VBM Recruitment greater than 3.5%, based on a predictive VBM recruitment response 
model provided by another nonpartisan charitable 501(c)3 organization; (4) Registered 
voters expected to trust information about political issues from our partner organization, 
based on a proprietary micro‐targeting model (Figure S‐1 in the Supplemental Materials 
online illustrates this process). Experiments 3 and 4 also targeted voters who were 
members of the organization or its allies, voters younger than 30, non‐white voters, and 
unmarried women.  
Our partner organizations’ selection parameters draw attention to the question of 
external validity. The results from all field experiments are necessarily specific to the 
                                                        
10
In practice, the strong match usually means a match of address and full name. Medium and
weak match phone numbers include records that match only on address and last name, address
only, etc. The standard practice of our partner organization, based on extensive experience with
voter contact phone calls, was to use only strong match phone numbers.

16 

 
context in which they are conducted, and ours are no different. The opportunities to 

conduct these experiments in a partnership makes it more realistic in terms of what civic 
organizations actually do, but this means our subjects are not perfectly representative of all 
registered voters. Nonetheless, the demographic profiles of each experiment in Table 1, 3, 5 
and 7 show that our study populations are sufficiently diverse to provide valuable insights 
about voting behavior across a large portion of the American electorate. 

5.2. Methodology
The effect of the treatments is measured using publicly available individual voter turnout
records acquired after the 2010 General Election by Catalist LLC. Catalist also collects data from
state and local election officials to track the mode of voting used by each individual who cast a
ballot in the 2010 General Election. Thus, the vote history data from Catalist allows us to
measure the effects on each mode of voting as well as upon overall turnout.11
Since the random assignment for three of the four experiments is clustered by household,
we regress individual level 2010 voting behavior on the assignment to treatment in order to
estimate the average treatment effect [ATE] and robust clustered standard errors that are adjusted
for the clustering of random assignment by unique address (Arceneaux 2005; Arceneaux and
Nickerson 2009a; Green and Vavreck 2008). We also take advantage of increases in efficiency
                                                        
11
Voters who did not appear on the post-election voter rolls were coded as non-voters. We
cannot exclude voters who drop from the voter rolls because the administrative process for
removing a record from the voter rolls is conditional on non-voting under the federal National
Voter Registration Act of 1993. If the treatment increases turnout, it makes voters more likely to
remain on the rolls. Thus, exclusion of non-voters from both the treatment and control groups
will bias the estimate of the treatment effect.

17 

 
of the ATE estimate when covariates are included in the regression model. The inclusion of

covariates is unnecessary to obtain unbiased estimates of the ATE in a randomized experiment,
but including covariates reduces the disturbance variance. In the results below, we refer to the
more efficient model including covariates. Since these experiments have large populations and
the randomizations are well balanced (see Tables 1, 3,5 and 7), including covariates has a
substantively trivial impact on the estimates of the ATE. Finally, it should be noted that we
report only “intent to treat” effects, because it is not possible to measure who reads the mail
treatments to calculate “average treatment among the treated” effects.
We report the effects for each mode of voting as a percentage of all voters in the
experiment rather than as the share of ballots cast. Using all voters as the denominator for each
mode of voting allows us to treat the turnout for each mode additively. Thus, if use of one mode
increases in the treatment group, there must be a corresponding increase in turnout, decline in
use of another mode, or both.
For hypothesis testing about the effect on turnout and the mode of voting for the initial
mobilization, we use a one-tailed significance test. A one-tailed test is appropriate because there
is no theoretical expectation that the treatments could reduce turnout or use of the initial mode of
voting. For hypothesis testing about the sequential modes of voting, we apply a two-sided
significance test, because we could see positive or negative effects on these modes of voting.12
                                                        
12
Strictly speaking, we have no expectation of a positive impact on later modes of voting when
the assigned treatment only attempted to contact someone for the first mode of voting. However,
we apply a two-sided significance test to later modes of voting in these treatment conditions for
consistency across treatments since this is a more conservative standard for statistical
significance. None of our substantive interpretations would change with the looser standard of a
one-tailed test.

18 

 

The contact for the first mode of voting may decrease the use of later modes of voting by shifting
citizens to the earlier mode of voting, but the contacts encouraging later modes of voting are
expected to increase the use of the later modes in order to increase turnout.
Since voters who had already cast a ballot could not be influenced by our treatments, we
obtained the list of voters who had cast ballots prior to the EIPV and Election Day voting
treatments and excluded these voters from attempted contact.13 To preserve the unbiased
estimate of treatment effects, we analyze the results using the treatment condition from the
original random assignment, even if the sequential mobilization contacts were not attempted
because an individual had already voted.

6.1. Experiment 1 (Maryland)
Experiment 1 tests the effects of four combinations of treatments for sequential
mobilization: 1) VBM Recruitment only, 2) VBM Recruitment plus Early in Person Voting
GOTV call, 3) VBM Recruitment plus Election Day GOTV call, and 4) VBM Recruitment plus
Early in Person Voting GOTV call plus Election Day GOTV call. The experiment was
conducted in Maryland during the 2010 General Election.14
The VBM Recruitment treatment was a single mailer sent to arrive about a month prior to
Election Day [September 30- October 5]. The mailing contained information about voting by
mail, instructions on how to request a mail ballot, an official application to request a mail ballot,
                                                        
The exclusions of absentee, mail, and early in-person voters were based on data obtained daily

13

from state and local election officials by Catalist LLC.
14

In addition to the criteria noted above, our partner organization in Maryland removed a small

number of voters from the experimental population prior to randomization because they lived in
areas where other voter contact programs were planned.

19 

 
and a return envelope pre-addressed to the county elections office. The EIPV treatment was a

live phone call made at the beginning of the early in-person voting period by a commercial call
center [Oct. 20-Oct. 25]. The Election Day treatment was a live phone call made during the
weekend before Election Day by the same commercial call center [Oct. 29-Nov. 1].The scripts
for both phone calls utilized the “plan making” script shown to be successful at increasing
turnout by Nickerson and Rogers (2010). In addition, the same Election Day mobilization calls
were found to be effective at increasing turnout in a field experiment conducted in other states
(Mann & Klofstad n.d.). The EIPV call also provided a list of EIPV vote centers near the voter.
(Copies of mailings and phone scripts are in the Supplemental Materials available online).
Random assignment was done at the household level, so that all voters at the same
address were assigned to the same condition. There were a total of 85,566 households (96,570
voters). Table 1 shows the quantities assigned to each condition and that the random assignment
were well balanced for observable covariates about age, gender, race, and past voting in the last
three general elections.

Results:
The effectiveness of VBM Recruitment saw an increase in turnout. This is to be expected
considering these results have been established in other work (Mann 2011). As expected, each of
the treatments generated a statistically significant increase in turnout above the control group’s
42.4% turnout. Table 2 reports the average treatment effect and robust clustered standard errors
as change in probability. Column (a) reports the effect of the four assigned treatments on turnout
without covariates. Column (b) adds covariates to the model. As noted above, we focus on
Column (b), since the estimates of ATEs are (slightly) more efficient when covariates are

20 

 
included. The VBM Recruitment treatment generated an increase in turnout of 1.9 percentage
points (p=0.001). The VBM Recruitment plus Early in Person Voting GOTV call treatment

increased turnout by 1.2 percentage points (p=0.001). The VBM Recruitment plus Election Day
GOTV call treatment also increased turnout by 1.2 percentage points (p=0.001). The VBM
Recruitment plus Early in Person Voting GOTV call plus Election Day GOTV call treatment
increased turnout by 1.6 percentage points (p=0.006).
We are most interested in the marginal effect of adding mobilization for sequential modes
of voting, but we find no evidence of a marginal effect in Experiment 1. The initial VBM
treatment in each condition is generating all of the increase in turnout with no marginal effect
from contacts aimed at later modes of voting. An F-test comparing the estimated ATEs for the
four treatments demonstrates that the magnitudes of the effects from the four treatment
conditions are statistically indistinguishable from one another (p=0.321). Furthermore, no pairwise comparison reveals a statistically significant difference.
The increase in turnout from VBM recruitment is consistent with the effects found by
experiments that examined this mobilization tactic in isolation (Mann 2011; Mann & Mayhew
2011.). However, the absence of any effect from the live phone calls to mobilize voters for
Election Day voting is inconsistent with other experiments using this treatment in isolation
(Nickerson & Rogers 2010; Mann & Klofstad n.d.).
Columns (c) and (d) of Table 2 report the effects the use of voting by mail (with and
without covariates in the model, respectively). The option to vote by mail without an excuse was
relatively new in Maryland in the 2010 election,15 so only 2.2% of the control group used a mail
                                                        
Maryland voters had the option of no-excuse VBM in 2006 but it was struck down as

15

unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court and abolished for the 2008 election. Following

21 

 
ballot. Each of the treatments nearly tripled the use of voting by mail, with statistically

significant effects between 4.0 and 4.3 percentage points. As above, the effect of the treatments
on voting by mail across the four treatment conditions is statistically indistinguishable (p=0.589).
Since this increase in voting by mail is larger than the increase in turnout, the treatments are
causing voters to cast ballots by mail who would otherwise vote early in-person voting or vote on
Election Day.
Columns (e) and (f) of Table 2 report the effects of the treatments on early in-person
voting (with and without covariates in the model, respectively). The treatments cause a
statistically significant decline in the use of early in-person voting. The shift from EIPV to VBM
is between 1.0 and 1.4 percentage points. There is some evidence of a marginal effect from the
EIPV calls on use of EIPV, but only as a shift from Election Day voting to EIPV. Both treatment
conditions including an EIPV call have slightly smaller reductions in EIPV use than the other
two treatment conditions without an EIPV call. The effects on EIPV from the EIPV call do not
appear to be equal across the four treatments (p=0.059), and pair-wise comparisons indicate that
the EIPV call accounts for the difference. Since the increase in VBM use is nearly identical
across the treatment conditions, the EIPV calls appear to cause a shift to EIPV among voters who
would otherwise cast ballots on Election Day.
Columns (g) and (h) of Table 2 report the treatment effects on Election Day voting (with
and without covariates in the model, respectively). As expected, all of the treatments shifted a
significant portion of voters from traditional Election Day voting to other modes of voting. The
decline in Election Day voting was between 1.0 and 1.9 percentage points, although the
                                                                                                                                                                                   
passage of a Constitutional Amendment with 72% of the vote in the 2008 election, no-excuse
VBM was reinstated in Maryland for the 2010.

22 

 
differences across the treatments are not statistically significant (p=0.196).

6.2. Experiment 2 (Idaho and Ohio)
The primary distinctions between Experiments1 and 2 are the omission of the EIPVrelated treatments and the different locations (Maryland vs. Idaho and Ohio). The treatments
were (1) VBM Recruitment only and (2) VBM Recruitment plus Election Day Phone Call.16
Many observers of American politics would consider Idaho and Ohio to be strange political
bedfellows. However, we pool the results based on identical treatments arising from our partner
organizations’ decisions about sequential mobilization. When we separate the states, we see no
significant differences between them. The details of this heterogeneity analysis by state are in the
Supplemental Materials available online.
In Experiment 2, random assignment was done at the household level. There were a total
of 72,007 households (77,921 individuals). Table 3 shows the quantities assigned to each
condition and that the random assignment was well balanced for observable covariates about age,
gender, race, and past voting in the previous three general elections.

Results:
Table 4 reports results of Experiment 2 in the same format at Table 2. In Column (b),
each of the treatments generated a statistically significant increase in overall turnout above the
42.8% turnout in the control group. The VBM Recruitment treatment generated an increase in
turnout of 2.1 percentage points (p=0.001) when it was the sole attempt to contact voters. The
                                                        
The Election Day phone calls in Experiments 2-4 use the same script as Experiment 1, but

16

were randomly assigned to one of four call centers (including the one used in Experiment 1) as
part of a field experiment on call center efficacy (see Mann & Klofstad n.d. for details).

23 

 

VBM Recruitment plus Election Day phone call treatment generated an increase in turnout of 2.7
percentage points (p=0.001). The 0.6 percentage point increase in turnout from the call made on
the weekend prior to Election Day is a marginally statistically significant effect (F-test
comparing effects for turnout: p=0.105). We return to this apparent increase from sequential
mobilization after reviewing the effects on mode of voting in Experiment 2.
The treatments generated a statistically significant increase in the use of voting by mail of
3.9 and 4.3 percentage points, respectively (Table 4, col. (d)). Since this increase in voting by
mail is larger than the increase in turnout, it indicates the treatments are again causing voters to
cast ballots by mail who would otherwise vote early in-person or vote on Election Day. As with
overall turnout, the effect of VBM Recruitment plus Election Day phone call treatment on
turnout using VBM appears to be slightly larger (F-test comparing effects for VBM: p=0.115).
Less than one percent of all the voters used EIPV, so it is unsurprising that there is no
statistically significant effect in the use of EIPV (Table 4, col. (f)). As expected, both treatments
shifted a significant portion of voters away from Election Day voting to VBM. The decline in
Election Day voting was 1.8 and 1.6 percentage points, respectively (Table 4, col. (h)), and the
differences between the treatments are not statistically significant (p=0.566).
Though we stretch the conventional standards to identify marginally significant effects
from the calls made on the weekend before Election Day, the apparent marginal effect on turnout
still does not support the logic of sequential mobilization. The phone calls before Election Day
increase turnout in large part by prompting an increase in voting by mail rather than Election
Day voting: Our experiment estimates that VBM use increases by 0.4 percentage points, while
Election Day voting increases by only 0.2 percentage points. In short, Election Day voting does
not seem to be providing another opportunity to mobilize citizens to vote; instead, phone contact

24 

 
as Election Day approaches is efficacious primarily as a reminder to return a mail ballot.

6.3. Experiment 3 (North Carolina I)
Experiment 3 tests the effects of two combinations of treatments for sequential
mobilization: 1) VBM Recruitment only, 2) VBM Recruitment plus EIPV Mailing plus Election
Day phone call. It was conducted in select counties in North Carolina during the 2010 General
Election.
The VBM Recruitment treatment in Experiment 3 was a sequence of contacts: a robo call
and a mailer with a “Thank You for Voting” social pressure message (Panagopoulos 2011a), a
robo call with pre-notification about the VBM application mailer, and the mailer containing an
application and instructions to request a mail ballot.17 (See Supplemental Materials online for
timeline of contacts and copies of the mailings and scripts.) The EIPV treatment was a mailer
sent with information on using VBM, EIPV and Election Day voting. Finally, the same live
phone call as Experiments 1 and 2 was made the weekend before Election Day.
In addition to the criteria described above, subjects were selected using three additional
criteria. First, only registered voters in Buncombe, Cumberland, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg,
New Hanover, Pitt and Wake counties were selected. Second, only voters who had voted in the
2008 General Election were selected, because of the “thank you for voting in 2008” element of
the treatments. Third, households with more than one targeted voter were excluded. A total of
84,000 voters were selected. Table 5 shows the quantities assigned to each condition and that the
                                                        
North Carolina’s unusual process for requesting to vote by mail requires the voter to hand-

17

write the request for a mail ballot. Thus, the North Carolina VBM Recruitment mailer has a
blank page as the “application” accompanies by detailed instructions on what to write, rather
than the application form in the VBM Recruitment mailer in Experiments 1 & 2.

25 

 

random assignment was well balanced for observable covariates about age, gender, race, and past
voting in the previous three general elections.

Results:
As in Experiment 1, the VBM Recruitment treatment generated a significant increase in
turnout, but there is no marginal increase in turnout from the mobilization for later modes of
voting. Table 6 reports the results in the same format as Tables 2 & 4, except that no clustering
of standard errors is required, because only single-voter households are included. Both
treatments generated a statistically significant increase in turnout above the 33.7% turnout in the
control group. The VBM recruitment treatment generated an increase in turnout of 1.8
percentage points (p=0.001). The VBM Recruitment, EIPV and Election Day phone treatment
generated an increase in turnout of 1.5 percentage points (p=0.001). An F-test comparing the
estimated ATEs for the two treatments demonstrates that the magnitudes of the effects from the
two treatment conditions are statistically indistinguishable from one another (p=0.575).
The effect of the treatments on voting by mail (~3.5 percentage points) (Table 6, col (d))
is statistically indistinguishable (p=0.429). Since the increase in voting by mail is larger than the
increase in turnout, the treatments again are causing voters to cast ballots by mail who would
otherwise vote early in-person voting or vote on Election Day. The shift from EIPV to VBM is
0.4 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively (Table 6, col (f)). The decline in Election Day voting
was 1.3 and 1.7 percentage points, respectively (Table 6, col (g)), although the differences across
the treatments are not statistically significant (p=0.346).

26 

 
6.4. Experiment 4 (North Carolina II)
Experiment 4 is different from the previous experiments because it begins with EIPV
rather than VBM in the sequence of voting modes. Experiment 4 tests the effects of two
combinations of treatments for sequential mobilization: 1) EIPV Mail and Phone Call and 2)
EIPV Mail and Phone Call plus Election Day Phone Call. The EIPV treatment included a
mailing providing information about up to four EIPV vote centers in the voter’s county and a

phone call with an implementation script (Nickerson & Rogers 2010) similar to the EIPV script
in Experiment 1 and the Election Day Phone calls. (A timeline of contacts and copies of the
EIPV mailing and phone script are in the Supplemental Materials online.) The Election Day
phone call treatment was the same used in the prior experiments.
The subjects for Experiment 4 were selected using the same criteria as Experiment 3
except: voters who had requested a mail ballot prior to the experiment were excluded, multivoter households were not excluded, the vote-by-mail responsiveness predictive model was not
applied, and a different set of counties in North Carolina was targeted (Alamance, Cabarrus,
Catawba, Davidson, Gaston, Iredell, Johnston, Onslow, Randolph, Robeson, Bowan, Union, and
Wayne).
In Experiment 4, randomization was done at the household level. There were a total of
45,527 households (47,875 individuals). Table 7 shows the quantities assigned to each condition
and that the random assignment was well balanced for observable covariates about age, gender,
race, and past voting in the previous three general elections.

Results
Table 8 follows the format of Tables 2 & 4, including the use of robust clustered standard

27 

 
errors to account for household level random assignment. In Column (b), the EIPV Mail
treatment generated a marginally significant increase in turnout of 0.8 percentage points

(p=0.084) above the 35.3% turnout in the control group. The EIPV Mail and Election Day phone
call treatment was essentially indistinguishable: 0.7 percentage point increase in turnout
(p=0.116), with p=0.832 from an F-test comparing the estimated ATEs. Thus, there is no
evidence of a marginal effect of adding mobilization for Election Day voting. Although the EIPV
treatment generates a smaller increase as the initial mode of mobilization than VBM Recruitment
in Experiments 1-3, it again appears that the initial treatment in each condition is generating all
of the increase in turnout, with no marginal effect from mobilization for later modes.
Column (d) reports no effect on voting by mail. This was expected, since the treatments
were focused on EIPV and Election Day voting. Both treatments increased early voting, with
statistically significant effects of 1.5 and 1.2 percentage points, respectively (Table 8, col. (f.)).
This small difference is not significant (p=0.318). The effects on Election Day voting are not
statistically significant, although both effects are negatively signed, as expected: The increase in
EIPV was larger than the increase in turnout, which requires that the treatments shifted voters
from Election Day voting to EIPV.

7. Discussion
In four large scale field experiments conducted in Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and North
Carolina, we found mobilization for the first method of voting was successful, but sequential
mobilization attempts for later modes of voting did not generate a significant increase in turnout.
In Experiments 1-3, there was a strong increase in turnout from the VBM recruitment treatment
but no additional increase from attempts to mobilize voters for EIPV or Election Day voting. In

28 

 
Experiment 4, the initial mobilization for EIPV appeared to generate a modest increase in
turnout, but again there was no additional increase from the attempt to mobilize voters for
Election Day voting.

Although Experiment 3 initially hinted at successful sequential mobilization with phone
calls prior to Election Day, detailed examination revealed that these calls served as a reminder to
return mail ballots rather than mobilize voters for Election Day voting. The calls functioned as a
follow-up to the VBM recruitment treatment, rather than sequential mobilization for a later
method of voting.
The increases in turnout from mobilization for the initial method of voting replicate the
findings of other field experiments: The increases in turnout from VBM recruitment in
Experiments 1-3 are consistent with the effects found by experiments that examined this
mobilization tactic in isolation (Mann 2011; Mann & Mayhew 2011). The increase in turnout
from encouragement to use EIPV in Experiment 4 is consistent with other experiments using
similar treatments (Mann 2012). The absence of any effect from the live phone calls as a
sequential mobilization tactic for Election Day voting is notable because this is inconsistent with
the successful mobilization in both past and contemporaneous experiments using this treatment
outside of a sequential mobilization setting (Nickerson & Rogers 2010; Mann & Klofstad n.d.).
The consistency of the results from these experiments in diverse jurisdictions across the
country points towards generalizability to other contexts. However, the external validity is
necessarily limited since experimental population was diverse but not representative of all voters,
mid-term elections are distinct from other types of elections, and the 2010 election cycle had its
share of idiosyncrasies. As with all experiments the accuracy of and certainty about the results
will increase with replication across geography, election types, and other contexts.

29 

 
The results of the experiments provide important insights about voting behavior. Voter
mobilization efforts appear to only get one bite at the apple, since the sequential mobilization
treatments generated no additional increase in turnout. Moreover, it appears that citizens make
their decision about whether to vote when initially mobilized and stick to it throughout the
election cycle. Encouragement to use different, later modes of voting does not prompt new

consideration of turning out – at least not new consideration that leads to a decision to participate
among citizens who would otherwise not do so. In sum, the results of these experiments on
sequential mobilization support a Columbia School-type view of citizens that make up their
minds and those minds stay made up despite the stream of communication during the election.
Viewing the results of these experiments as a measurement of the effects of voting
reforms, we do not find support for either of the prominent perspectives in the debate over preElection Day voting. The increase in turnout when voters are initially mobilized for VBM and
EIPV indicates that there is potential for these reforms to increase turnout when citizens are
informed about them, despite the pessimism from the observational research using aggregate
data. It seems likely that the observational research on voting reforms is correct that simply
passing these reforms does not increase turnout, but the problem may be reformers’ and scholars’
unrealistic “build it and they will come” expectations about seeing effects from institutional
reform. The potential for the pre-Election Day voting reforms to increase turnout through lower
costs of voting cannot be realized until and unless citizens are informed about how to vote using
these methods. On the other hand, the failure of sequential mobilization treatments to deliver any
additional increase in turnout is likely a disappointment to supporters of pre-Election Day voting
reforms. If turnout does not increase in response to encouragement to utilize each type of voting,
it is very unlikely that the mere existence of multiple options for voting increases turnout.

30 

 
Allowing multiple choices for how to vote may have other benefits, but these experiments
indicate that offering multiple choices of how to vote does not lead more citizens to vote.
Although the logic for why civic and political organizations would pursue a sequential

mobilization strategy seemed reasonable prior to these experiments, the consistent results across
all four experiments indicate that sequential mobilization wastes scarce resources for voter
mobilization. Voter mobilization efforts will do more to reduce the participation deficit in the US
by broadening their targeting than pouring resources into sequential mobilization strategies that
attempt to squeeze more mobilization out of a narrower group. It may also be valuable to invest
in research about whether different types of citizens are more responsive to mobilization using
different voting methods.
In future research on voting when multiple methods are available, the research design in
these experiments could be improved upon in several ways: The most obvious improvement
would be a full factorial design to compare mobilization for all possible combinations of voting
modes – including mobilization for each mode individually. Thanks to the interest and
cooperation of our partners organizations, our design made the best of our opportunity and
provides new and useful insights about voting behavior, institutional reforms, and mobilization
tactics. However, a full factorial design would facilitate answering additional questions about the
relative efficacy of mobilizing voters for different methods of voting. Another direction for
future replication is testing additional treatments for later methods of voting. Our treatments
utilized best practices from prior field experiments in order to maximize the impact of the EIPV
and Election Day voting mobilization treatments, but it remains possible that other tactics could
be more successful in generating marginal increases from sequential mobilization strategies.
One important future research question arising from these results is whether

31 

 
ineffectiveness of sequential mobilization applies to communication from one organization or
applies to communication from all civic and political organizations. The failure of sequential
mobilization by a particular organization is frustrating to that organization, but leaves open the
possibility that additional turnout might generated through mobilization efforts by other

organizations. However, if sequential mobilization for later modes of voting by all organizations
fails to produce additional increases in turnout then there is only very limited capacity in the
collective voter mobilization efforts of civic and political organizations to bring about major
reductions in the voting participation deficit in the US.

8. Conclusion
These four field experiments investigating the effects of sequential mobilization
contribute to closing the current deficit in understanding the complexity of voting and voter
mobilization when citizens can choose among multiple methods of voting. As pre-Election Day
voting continues to grow in use and spread to new jurisdictions in the US (and other
democracies), scholars must account for how the opportunities and challenges opened up by
these changes affect voters, elections, and civic and political organizations. Our experiments
clearly and consistently show that mobilization for the first method of voting increased turnout
but sequential mobilization did generate any additional increase in turnout. For civic and political
organization, the finding points to a need to reconsider using sequential mobilization strategies.
The findings expand our understanding of when and how voters make the decision about whether
to vote. Finally, the experiments indicate that voting reforms may offer more opportunities to
increase turnout than skeptics about pre-Election Day voting think but have much less impact on
turnout than supporters hope.

 

32 

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36 

 

Table 1: Randomization Balance Check - Experiment 1
(Maryland)
Individal
s

Unique
Household
s

Mean
Age

Female

Control

9,692

8,634

42

60%

African
America
n
13%

VBM Recruitment Treatment

19,645

17,399

42

60%

23,747

21,071

42

19,613

17,352

23,873

21,110

VBM Recruitment & EIPV
GOTV Call Treatments
VBM Recruitment & Election
Day GOTV Call Treatments
VBM Recruitment, EIPV
GOTV Call, & Election Day
GOTV Call Treatments
Multinomial Logistic
Regression
 

4%

Voted in
2008
General
92%

Voted in
2006
General
20%

Voted in
2004
General
51%

13%

4%

92%

20%

50%

60%

12%

4%

93%

19%

50%

42

59%

12%

4%

92%

20%

50%

42

60%

12%

4%

92%

19%

50%

Hispanic

χ2= 21.81 (28 d.f.) p=0.790

37 

 
Table 2: Change in Voting Behavior - Experiment 1 (Maryland)
Intent to Treat Effects in Percentage Points
Total Turnout

VBM Recruitment Treatment
Robust Clustered SE
VBM Recruitment + EIPV
GOTV Call Treatments
Robust Clustered SE
VBM Recruitment + Election
Day GOTV Call Treatments
Robust Clustered SE

Voting By Mail

Early In-Person
Voting
(e)
(f)

Election Day
Voting
(g)
(h)

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

1.8***

1.9***

4.3***

4.3***

-1.4†††

-1.4†††

-1.1†

-1.0

0.6

0.6

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.6

0.6

1.1**

1.2**

4.0***

4.0***

-1.0†††

-1.0†††

-1.9†††

-1.9†††

0.6

0.6

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.6

0.6

1.0*

1.2**

4.1***

4.1***

-1.3†††

-1.3†††

-1.8†††

-1.7†††

0.6

0.6

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.6

0.6

VBM Recruitment + EIPV
GOTV Call + Election Day
1.6***
1.7*** 4.0*** 4.0***
-1.2†††
-1.2†††
-1.2††
-1.1†
GOTV Call Treatments
Robust Clustered SE
0.6
0.6
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.6
0.6
42.4%
2.2%
4.3%
35.9%
Participation in Control Group
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
Covariates
F-Test of Equivalence of
0.341
0.321
0.709
0.589
0.057
0.059
0.199
0.196
Treatments
85,566
N (unique households)

one-tailed test: * p<0.10; ** p<0.05, *** p<0.01; two-tailed test: p<0.10; †† p<0.05, ††† p<0.01. The covariates are
listed in Table 1. The coeffiecients for the full set of covariates is available in Table S-2 of the Supplemental
Materials available online.
 

38 

 
Table 3: Randomization Balance Check - Experiment 3
(Idaho & Ohio)
VBM Recruitment Treatment

Control
Treatment

Individals

Unique
Households

7,722
70,199

7,151
64,856

Age
43
43

Female
66%
64%

African
Hispanic
American
1%
1%

1%
1%

Voted in Voted in Voted in
2008
2006
2004
General General General
89%
22%
61%
90%
23%
61%

Idaho

Ohio

31%
32%

69%
68%

Idaho

Ohio

32%
32%

68%
68%

χ2= 3.41 (7 d.f.) p=0.845

Multinomial Logistic Regression

Election Day GOTV Phone Treatment

Control
Treatment

Individals

Unique
Households

54,590
23,331

50,351
21,524

Multinomial Logistic Regression
 

 

Age

Female

43
43

64%
64%

African
Hispanic
American
1%
1%

1%
1%

Voted in Voted in Voted in
2008
2006
2004
General General General
90%
22%
61%
90%
23%
61%

χ2= 3.05 (8 d.f.) p=0.880

39 

 
Table 4: Change in Voting Behavior - Experiment 3 (Idaho & Ohio)
Intent to Treat Effects in Percentage Points
Total Turnout

VBM Recruitment Treatment

Voting By Mail

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

2.2***

2.1***

3.9***

3.9***

Early In-Person
Voting
(e)
(f)
0.0

0.0

Election Day
Voting
(g)
(h)
-1.7†††

-1.8†††

Robust Clustered SE
0.6
0.6
0.4
0.4
0.1
0.1
0.6
0.6
VBM Recruitment & Election Day
2.9***
2.7***
4.3***
4.3***
0.0
0.0
-1.4††† -1.6†††
Phone Call Treatment
Robust Clustered SE
0.7
0.7
0.4
0.4
0.1
0.1
0.6
0.6
42.8%
8.5%
0.3%
34%
Participation in Control Group
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
Covariates
F-Test of Equivalence of
0.118
0.105
0.156
0.115
0.196
0.195
0.526
0.566
Treatments
N
72,007
one-tailed test: * p<0.10; ** p<0.05, *** p<0.01; two-tailed test: † p<0.10; †† p<0.05, ††† p<0.01. The covariates
are listed in Table 3. The coeffiecients for the full set of covariates is available in Table S-4 of the Supplemental
Materials available online.
 
 

 

40 

 
Table 5: Randomization Balance Check - Experiment 2
(North Carolina - VBM, EIPV & Election Day)

Individals

Age

Female

Control

39,000

42

81%

27%

2%

Voted in
2006
General
6%

VBM Recruitment Treatment

22,500

43

81%

27%

2%

6%

43%

VBM Recruitment, EIPV
Phone Call, & Election Day
Phone Call Treatment

22,500

42

81%

27%

2%

6%

43%

Multinomial Logistic
Regression
 
 
 

African
Hispanic
American

χ2= 5.70 (12 d.f.) p=0.931

 

Voted in
2004
General
43%

41 

 
Table 6: Change in Voting Behavior - Experiment 2 (North Carolina)
Intent to Treat Effects in Percentage Points
Total Turnout

VBM Recruitment Treatment

Voting By Mail

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

1.8***

1.8***

3.5***

3.5***

Early In-Person
Voting
(e)
(f)
-0.4†

-0.4††

Election Day
Voting
(g)
(h)
-1.3†††

-1.3†††

Robust SE
0.4
0.4
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.4
0.4
VBM Recruitment + EIPV Mailing
+ Election Day Phone Call
1.5***
1.5***
3.6***
3.6***
-0.5††
-0.5††
-1.6††† -1.7†††
Treatment
Robust SE
0.4
0.4
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.4
0.4
33.7%
1.2%
7.4%
25.0%
Participation in Control Group
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
Covariates
F-Test of Equivalence of Treatments 0.496
0.575
0.538
0.429
0.782
0.812
0.362
0.346
N
84,000
one-tailed test: * p<0.10; ** p<0.05, *** p<0.01; two-tailed test: † p<0.10; †† p<0.05, ††† p<0.01. The covariates are
listed in Table 5. The coeffiecients for the full set of covariates is available in Table S-6 of the Supplemental
Materials available online.
 
 

 

42 

 
Table 7: Randomization Balance Check - Experiment 4
(North Carolina - EIPV & Election Day)
Unique
Individals
Households

Female

Voted in
2006
General

Voted in
2004
General

Control

11,063

10,527

45

84%

20%

2%

8%

50%

VBM Recruitment Treatment

18,382

17,500

45

84%

20%

2%

8%

49%

VBM Recruitment, EIPV
Phone Call, & Election Day
Phone Call Treatment

18,430

17,500

45

84%

20%

2%

8%

49%

Multinomial Logistic
Regression
 
 
 

Age

African
Hispanic
American

χ2= 6.40 (12 d.f.) p=0.895

 

43 

 
Table 8: Change in Voting Behavior - Experiment 4 (North Carolina - EIPV & Election Day)
Intent to Treat Effects in Percentage Points

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

Early In-Person
Voting
(e)
(f)

0.7

0.8*

-0.1

-0.1

1.5***

Total Turnout

EIPV Mail Treatment

Voting By Mail

1.5***

Election Day
Voting
(g)
(h)
-0.6

-0.6

Robust Clustered SE
0.6
0.6
0.1
0.1
0.4
0.3
0.5
0.5
EIPV Mail & Election Day GOTV
0.6
0.7
0.0
0.0
1.2***
1.2***
-0.5
-0.5
Call Treatment
Robust Clustered SE
0.6
0.6
0.1
0.1
0.3
0.3
0.5
0.5
35.3%
0.9%
8.5%
25.9%
Participation in Control Group
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
N
Y
Covariates
F-Test of Equivalence of
0.888
0.832
0.282
0.234
0.329
0.318
0.780
0.825
Treatments
N
47,875
one-tailed test: * p<0.10; ** p<0.05, *** p<0.01; two-tailed test: † p<0.10; †† p<0.05, ††† p<0.01. The covariates
are listed in Table 7. The coeffiecients for the full set of covariates is available in Table S-8 of the Supplemental
Materials available online.
 

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