FEATURED: New CIRCLE working paper shows college students respond strongly to an in-person drive; choose to vote “back home” in swing states.
By Kim Castle, Janice Levy, and Michael Peshkin
In CIRCLE working paper (#66), authors Kim Castle, Janice Levy and Michael Peshkin assess the outcomes of an in-person campus drive in which students were offered a choice of college-state voting in Illinois, or home-state voting by absentee ballot. The study found that the great majority of students who came from swing states chose to vote back home. Students from swing states preferred home-state voting over local voting by an 8-to-1 ratio. The study also found high turnout rates both for students who voted locally and by absentee ballot. 79% of students who registered locally voted, and 84% of students who got an absentee ballot voted. Although absentee voting is more complicated than local voting, most students chose absentee voting. The study concluded that:
- Students can be diligent voters with high turnout, both by absentee ballot and in local voting.
- Students who can vote in their home state or their college state are strongly influenced in that choice by the closeness of the presidential election.
- Even in the internet era, in-person voter drives reach many students who would not otherwise vote.
Suggested Citation: Castle, K., Levy, J., & Peshkin, M. (2009). Local and Absentee Voter Registration Drives on a College Campus (CIRCLE Working Paper No. 66). Retrieved from Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) website: http://civicyouth.org/PopUps/WorkingPapers/WP_66_CastleLevyPeshkin.pdf