MSU PLS to study how social pressure affects the youth vote amid Covid-19

September 17, 2020

Three MSU Political Science researchers were awarded a Rapid-Response Grant to assess the outcomes of civic training and positive social pressure to vote on young voters during a global pandemic.

Drs. Nazita Lajevardi, Ana Bracic and Sarah Reckhow of PLS will be working with three researchers at the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences - Drs. Dan Bergen, Dustin Carnahan and Kjerstin Thorson.

The team has created a field experience to mobilize young voters in the 2020 presidential election to test wehterh informational or social pressure treatments about the election will increase official voter turnout among first-year students, and their roommates, in a university wide first-year writing course.

"Young voters are one of the most overlooked—and negatively represented—populations in US elections, and their representation and inclusion in this upcoming presidential election is at an even greater stake than ever before," wrote the team. "Their voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election will undoubtedly be affected by the ongoing global pandemic for two primary reasons: First, the informational and institutional hurdles that often preclude turnout likely will be amplified, as campaigns limit person-to-person mobilization contacts and election rules change to accommodate social distancing. Second, young voters will likely be disenfranchised due to their lack of permanent address/unstable residence, in no small part due to universities potentially closing at a moment’s notice, similar to spring 2020."

The research is funded by the Rapid-Response Grants on Covid-19-19 and the Social Sciences awarded by the Social Science Research Council, the Henry Luce Foundation.  In the latest round, 62 grants were awarded out of 1,300 applicants.

For more information on the grants, go to: