Registering to Vote is Easy, Right? Active Learning and Attitudes about Voter Registration

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active learning, democracy, political participation, voter registration

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


In a democracy, agents of political socialization, such as schools and parents, generally emphasize the importance of voting. While college students may be exposed briefly to voter registration as a barrier to participation, there is little evidence that the topic is given serious attention in the classroom. This research addresses how classroom experiences affect students' attitudes about voter registration by employing a quasi-experimental, pre-post survey design. The experimental stimulus was a course assignment in which students completed voter registration applications under four scenarios designed to simulate different circumstances frequently encountered by college students. The students in the experimental group became much less sanguine about the ease of registration and the ability of most citizens to correctly navigate the process, yet became more confident in the voter registration process in general. This raises interesting questions about how attitudes about the political process are shaped by students' course experiences.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Political Science Education, v. 9, issue 4, p. 379-402.