Improving Voter Participation in Local USDA Elections
What was the challenge?
USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) operates programs that impact the lives of farmers and ranchers, their income, and the economy. FSA interacts directly with farmers and ranchers through a network of local field offices that serve as points of contact and inform local policy decisions. The County Committee (COC) oversees field office activity, and members are elected by all farmers eligible for FSA programs. Over time, participation in COC elections has declined, endangering the COC model of local representation.
What was the program change?
OES redesigned ballot materials applying research insights, including clarifying information delivery and adding reminders.
How did the evaluation work?
1,399,307 voters received postcard reminders, redesigned ballots and envelopes listing the names of the candidates, or the older versions of the envelopes and ballots (and no postcards).
What was the impact?
Households that received both an enhanced ballot and postcards showed a 2.9% increase in participation in COC elections over the older envelopes and ballots.