How Science Can Help Get Out the Vote
Marlene Breverman stashed this in Behavioral Science
Behavioral science might explain why these informational interventions fall short. A substantive body of evidence indicates that the environment in which we make decisions can fundamentally alter them. For example, what we think others are doing, how voting makes us feel about ourselves, and what we need to do to vote all affect whether or not we participate on Election Day. So instead of simply telling Americans to vote, the science suggests we need to think about the context in which citizens decide to cast their ballots.
"In a field experiment conducted among 287,000 would-be voters in Pennsylvania during the 2008 Democratic primary election, researchers tried to see if voter turnout could be increased by helping people make a concrete plan to implement their intentions. One to three days before the November 2008 election, behavioral scientists David Nickerson, now at Temple University, and Todd Rogers of Harvard asked one group of would-be voters about their intentions to vote and a second group about their intentions and also about when, where and how they would accomplish the goal of voting."
Oregon switched to automatic voting-by-mail for everyone unless you opt to go to the polls, and they've had up to 86% voter turnout since then.
That seems like enough evidence that every state should adopt the practice.