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BC Youth Registration Pilot Project

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During the May 2013 British Columbia provincial election, Apathy is Boring (AisB) teamed up with Get Your Vote On to conduct voter registration drives targeting youth in several cities. Together, the two organizations formed "Street Teams" to engage youth at concerts and other events to encourage them to register. In total, the Street Teams reached over 10,500 youth. The project drew upon a "quasi-experimental" methodology to determine the impact of the youth voter registration activities. The report discusses many useful lessons for organizations involved in registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns. Key findings of the report include:

  • The results suggest that those who registered through the Teams were more likely to vote. Voter turnout for youth registered by the Street Teams was 13 points higher than the average voting rate for 18–24 year olds who were registered to vote in the election. (However, because the sample was not randomly selected, no causal claims can be made).
  • Street Team outreach at concerts, theatres, and bars tended to be more successful than outreach using "tabling techniques" at university campuses and on busy streets.
  • The majority of individuals contacted by the Street Teams reported they were already registered. Nonetheless, these individuals were provided with other voting materials that may have had a positive impact. Other barriers to completing registrations included timing, location, privacy concerns and low attendance at some events.

The project was undertaken with the support of Elections BC. Elections Canada provided support to the research component.

Table of Contents

Final Report to Elections Canada
BC Youth Registration Pilot Project

March 20, 2014

Judith Handfield, Sasha Caldera, Ilona Dougherty, and Youri Cormier
Apathy is Boring