Enlisting the Public in Facilitating Election Administration: A Field Experiment

Source: Andrew Menger, Robert M. Stein, Public Administration Review, Volume 78 Issue 6, November/December 2018
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From the abstract:
The proliferation of election reforms poses a challenge for local election officials (LEOs) charged with conducting elections. To meet this challenge, LEOs attempt to communicate, inform, and persuade voters how to cast their ballots in a manner that is efficient and effective for both the voter and the administrator. This article examines the effects of efforts by LEOs to persuade voters to return mailed ballots before Election Day and in person in order to facilitate the efficient administration of vote‐by‐mail elections in Colorado. Field experiments testing the efficacy of alternative messages find that many messages have no effect on the timing or method of ballot return. Messaging that focuses on LEOs’ responsiveness to voters’ demands is most effective at steering voters to return their mailed ballots in person but results in later ballot returns.