Best Public Service in 2019 

 

Winner: Page Gardner; Voter Participation Center (VPC)

Committee Members: Rebecca Wolfe (Chair), University of Chicago; Morgan Holmes, USAID; Adam Levine, Cornell University.

Page Gardner is the founder and president of the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a research-driven, non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the political participation of unmarried women, people of color, young people, and other historically underrepresented groups in American democracy (formerly known as Women’s Voices Women Vote (WVWV) until 2012). Under her leadership, VPC has demonstrated a commitment to evidence-based policy, partnering with academics “to conduct and publish randomized field experiments that answer theoretically and practically important questions on voter registration and turnout.” This research has led to numerous top publications by various academics, including Journal of Politics and Political Science Research and Methods.  She also led VPC to be a role model of “what transparent social science looks like.” As stated by one of her nominators, “A very large share of the knowledge we have about what works to register and mobilize voters comes from collaborations between researchers and VPC, who have always strongly supported letting researchers publish whatever they find.” As another nominator commented, “VPC has been instrumental in shaping what academics, political campaigns, and the broader public know about ways to increase voter registration and turnout, especially among underrepresented groups.