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Registering Re-Entering Citizens to Vote
Last registered on August 13, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Registering Re-Entering Citizens to Vote
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004574
Initial registration date
August 13, 2019
Last updated
August 13, 2019 5:09 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
MIT
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Texas A&M
PI Affiliation
Alloy
PI Affiliation
Denver University
PI Affiliation
Yale University
PI Affiliation
Rutgers
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-08-28
End date
2020-03-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Millions of people in the US are eligible to vote despite past felony convictions, but their voter participation rates are extraordinarily low. Efforts to register and mobilize this population have foundered due to data limitations. In this pilot project, we will test a method for registering previously-convicted or formerly-incarcerated people to vote. We propose to use administrative data to identify and find contact information for people with past convictions, and then to send them messages encouraging them to register. This pilot study will lay the groundwork for a larger experiment. Ultimately, we plan a large randomized control trial to test the efficacy of such contacts for converting returning citizens into registered voters. This type of evidence is especially important as states consider restoring voting rights to individuals with felony convictions who remain disenfranchised.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Doleac, Jennifer et al. 2019. "Registering Re-Entering Citizens to Vote." AEA RCT Registry. August 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4574-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We will contact previously-convicted people prior to fall municipal elections, offering them information about eligibility to vote and a registration form and stamped envelope to return that form to the board of elections.
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-28
Intervention End Date
2019-11-05
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Voter registration (appearing on the state's public voter file) and voting in municipal elections where relevant, as well as longer-term voter participation in the next statewide election.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We will randomly divide people in a sample of previously-convicted residents of North Carolina into two groups; the "control" group will not be contacted, while the "treatment" group will be sent a letter telling them about the voter registration process and encouraging them to register if eligible.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
10,000 people in the initial sample, with an as-yet-unknown loss due to non-matched addresses and removing residents of two congressional districts.
Sample size: planned number of observations
same as clusters (individual randomization)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
people will be randomized with equal probability into treatment/control conditions (so n/2).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
MIT COUHES
IRB Approval Date
2019-07-19
IRB Approval Number
1907914986