Voter Turnout Research

Source: INCREASED VOTER TURNOUT IN THE NOVEMBER 2015 ELECTION BY LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS PROVIDED WITH VOTE-BY- MAIL ASSISTANCE BY NORTHEAST OHIO VOTER ADVOCATES (NOVA) VOLUNTEERS: A PILOT STUDY, July 25, 2016

Description of study:  (pdf of the report) Prior to Cuyahoga County’s November 2015 Ohio General Election, NOVA volunteers, at four sites frequented by a total of 200 low-income people, registered and/or helped voters fill out and process vote-by-mail (VBM) applications (NOVA registered over 1100 individuals at other sites of a different character). These registrations or VBM applications were later matched (by State Voices) against the state data base to see how many had voted in November 2015.  About 82% of NOVA registrations and nearly 100% of vote-by-mail applicants were matched successfully.  

The data were subdivided according to the site at which NOVA volunteers contacted voters, and at each site, the “turnout” of successfully matched voters was calculated, taken as the number voting as a percentage of those serviced:

A consistent pattern emerged at all 4 low-income sites: voters provided with VBM assistance turned out in considerably higher percentages than did voters provided with just voter registration.

The data were also pooled together for statistical analysis:

The turnout resulting from voter registration alone (28%) was essentially the same as that of the reference population (26%). However, the turnout from already registered voters provided with VBM assistance and processing was a remarkable 55%, which was a highly significant statistical difference from that of the reference population. Finally, the small group provided with both VBM and voter registration gave a similar result to the group provided with VBM only, but the numbers were too small for statistical analysis.

This research demonstrates that voter drives which stress vote by mail applications for both registered and newly registering voters will probably have higher turnout results than those which offer registration only. NEOCH will aim to apply this research in the future as we work on voter registration for the upcoming November 2016 election.