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The Report

Randomized control trials across 4 states in early 2020 showed an enormous impact on turnout rates. Download the report and press release below.

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Read time: 10 minutes

Download a PDF of the press release

Read time: 2 minutes

Turnout Nation: A Pilot Experiment Evaluating a Get-Out-The-Vote “Supertreatment”

Donald P. Green

Columbia University


Oliver A. McClellan

Columbia University


February 7, 2020

Abstract: Prior to municipal elections in November 2019, the nonpartisan group Turnout Nation conducted a randomized evaluation of its “captain” model of promoting voter turnout, which focuses on contacts between people who belong to the same social network – friends, family, acquaintances, or neighbors. For each of 43 captains in four states, lists of socially proximal voters were randomly divided into target lists and control lists. Voters on the target lists were contacted by captains, often on multiple occasions and via live communication. Turnout was assessed using official voter records. Turnout rates are 13.2 percentage points higher in the randomly assigned treatment group than the randomly assigned control group, the largest intent-to-treat effect documented by an experimental GOTV study over the past two decades. This promising get-out-the-vote approach merits further research and development.

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