Making Voter Registration Easier: Evaluation of the "Welcome Kit" Voter Registration Pilot Project

Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Thad E. Hall

The “Make Voter Registration Easier” (MVRE) pilot project, in the field from February 2008 through May 2009, provided voter registration forms in the “Welcome Kit” packages that were sent to households that changed their address in three postal markets: Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. The first two markets are exclusively in Ohio and the Cincinnati market includes households in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. This report provides a thorough quantitative and qualitative evaluation of this pilot project, with detailed analyses provided in subsequent chapters. Some of the basic findings in the report are:

(1) the cost per registered voter for this program compares favorably with available data about registration costs from other studies,
(2) individuals appear more likely, generally, to register to vote using the Welcome Kit (and using most other methods) during the height of an election campaign, when the voter is most focused on the potential benefits of voting and the need to register is high.
(3) the Welcome Kit program was most effective in registering more affluent movers.
(4) the Welcome Kit program tended to be most effective in registering individuals who had been registered prior to moving
(5) Relative to other subpopulations of registered voters, Welcome Kit participants were more likely to vote by mail.
(6) The Welcome Kit program did not add to the burden of registering new voters in the local election offices in Ohio.

Following is the document in full, along with separate files for the intro, chapters 1-10 and appendices 1-4. The first file available for download is the complete evaluation report (6.49MB download). The remaining files are the chapter and appendix files, each of which can be downloaded independently of the others.

Date Published: 
01/22/2010