Date of Award

Spring 2014

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Masters Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Huatong Sun

Second Advisor

Emma Rose


This written defense of my degree project describes how l used contemporary communication design theory to develop postcards for the Office of the Washington Secretary of State urging voter registration before the 2013 General Election deadline. In addition to measuring the overall effectiveness of the postcards, this project evaluated the registration and turnout differences between two treatments in a study funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The aim of the study was to add to the small but growing body of interdisciplinary research concerning communication design and voter participation. To determine which communication design techniques motivate more postcard recipients to register to vote, I designed one treatment which emphasized the instrumental aspects of the postcard by describing the convenience of the registration process, and another postcard treatment that attempted to persuade recipients to register using social rhetoric. The results of the study offers several “lessons learned” for future voter outreach communication design.