CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
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Working Paper 15: How Postregistration Laws Affect the Turnout of Registrants

by Raymond E. Wolfinger, Benjamin Highton, and Megan Mullin

June 2004graph

“Some American states try to make it easy for their registered citizens to go to the polls on Election Day. They mail a sample ballot to each registrant as well, perhaps, as information about the location of his or her polling place. Polls may be open from dawn until 9 p.m. Firms may be required to give employees time off to vote. In this paper we examine the effects that each of these postregistration provisions have on the turnout of people who are already registered to vote. We are particularly interested in three related questions: What are the effects of each postregistration provision on turnout? What types of people are more and less affected by postregistration laws? What are the combined effects of these “best practices” on overall turnout rates?”

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