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The Effects of Voter ID Notification on Voter Turnout: Results from a Large Scale Field Experiment

May 2014

Jack Citrin, Donald P. Green, Levy Morris


This experiment aimed to test the effect of voter identification laws on voter turnout. Researchers sent two different letters to groups of voters. One letter merely stated that identification cards were needed in order to vote, the other letter provided details about the requirements, and the process to get an Id card. Results find that receiving a notice of voter ID requirements raises voter turnout by one percent among low propensity voters. The detailed letters specifying how to get an ID card were even more effective.

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Policy Implications

This experiment runs counter to the conventional wisdom that voter ID requirements drive down voter turnout. Additionally, it implies that mailers describing requirements and processes for voting may improve turnout.

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