The 2020 National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) from Tufts University is here! I’m proud to report that the student voting rate increased dramatically over 2016. With 66% turnout, college students turned out at a rate higher than the general population. This new data makes it clear that when we invest in local, on the ground youth voter registration and engagement, young people turn out at the same rates or higher than the general population.
The Student PIRGs’ nonpartisan New Voters Project worked at more than 150 campuses across the country in 2020 to turn out the youth vote. Leading up to the 2020 election, the New Voters Project trained 5,000 student leaders around the country who engaged their campus communities and made 399,000 peer-to-peer GOTV contacts. At the 62 campuses with a PIRG presence where we have NSLVE data, students turned out at a rate of 71%, well above the average turnout for the general population. That means that—thanks in part to the New Voters Project presence—274,800 more students on those 62 campuses turned out to vote than in 2016.
To highlight this data, we held a webinar last week where participants were able to delve into the data and discuss with civic engagement experts and campus partners what worked and what didn’t when it came to engaging young people during the 2020 election—and how campuses can prepare for 2022.
We’re so grateful to the guest speakers who took the time to participate, including Dr. Allison Rank, Associate Professor, SUNY-Oswego and Campaign Manager for SUNY-Oswego’s campus-wide voter mobilization program; Ryan Drysdale, Associate Director, ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge; Johanna Hussain, Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project Campaign Coordinator at UW-Madison; and Dr. Adam Gismondi, Director of Impact, Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University.
Of course, the work of engaging young people in elections is never over — we know we need to keep students engaged and invested to keep up this historic momentum, especially during midterm elections. That’s why we’re already getting ready for 2022. If you want to learn more about our plans or have any questions about our program, feel free to reach out at manny[at]newvotersproject.org.
|The Student PIRGs voter registration and turnout effort is part of its New Voters Project campaign, one of the largest nonpartisan youth voter mobilization efforts in the country. The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project has run peer-to-peer student voter mobilization drives to turn out the youth vote on college campuses for more than 30 years. Its philosophy is that the full participation of young people in the political process is essential to a truly representative, vibrant democracy. The New Voters Project does not endorse, either explicitly or implicitly, a political candidate or political party for elected office.|