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ERIC Number: ED507178
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Local and Absentee Voter Registration Drives on a College Campus. CIRCLE Working Paper #66
Castle, Kim; Levy, Janice; Peshkin, Michael
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
More than 1.7 million students attend out-of-state colleges, and most are eligible to vote in either their home state or in their college state. Despite the potential impact of the "away" student vote on close elections, on-campus voter drives that promote absentee voting are rare. Here we report a detailed outcome study of an in-person campus voter drive conducted at Northwestern University in Fall 2008, in which students were offered a choice of college state (Illinois) or home state (absentee) registration and voting. Voting in swing states was actively encouraged for those who had that choice. Students from swing states selected absentee voting over Illinois voting by an 8:1 ratio. Students from other non-swing states showed a 2:1 ratio. Notably, both groups preferred absentee voting despite its greater complexity. We found that for students who successfully registered in Illinois, or who received an absentee ballot from another state, turnout was very high: over 80% of each group cast a ballot. Concerns about low absentee turnout due to the complexity of absentee voting were not justified. We report the rate of failures in absentee voting, and the causes of those failures. We also investigated whether any student abused the privilege of absentee voting by voting twice; we found than none had. (Contains 5 figures, 1 table and 32 footnotes.)
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155. Tel: 617-627-4781; Fax: 617-727-3401; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
Identifiers - Location: Illinois