The Results Are In: Student Voters Are Turning Out In Spades

With boots on the ground reaching campuses across America, CEEP works year in and year out to register, educate, and empower a new, energized generation of voters. Based on sheer excitement alone, one could imagine our strategy of combining powerful resources with personalized coaching is effective. Like any strategy, we measure our results both with stories, and with data. Ahead of 2019 elections, we’re confident students will turnout. Because millions did in 2018. 

Every two years, the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, or NSLVE, utilizes data from higher learning institutions nationwide in all 50 states to track student voter patterns and emerging trends. Run through the Institute of Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, NSLVE compiles a report for every participating school, so that they can measure their impact. 

The 2018 NSLVE National Report was just released on September 17th – and the impact is incredible.

Using an anonymous voting record of eligible student voters from 1,031 schools, NSLVE found a 40.3% national voting rate. In a midterm year especially, this is a major turnout. It captures a new generation of committed voters who make civic engagement a priority. 

What This Means Moving Forward

The Proof is In the Pudding: Voter engagement strategies tailored to students work. We have empirical proof. Connecting with students about the importance of civic engagement makes a lasting impact that drives them to the polls. More than that, CEEP’s model equips students to know their rights as voters, and learn about candidate’s stances in order to feel confident in their vote. 

The conventional wisdom that ‘students don’t vote’ is now an outdated myth. 7.5 million students voted in 2018. And we’re just gearing up. 

Closing the Age Gap: The study found the turnout gap between students over 30 and those under 22 went from 22.3 percentage points to 16.9 points. This highlights age increasing parity between younger and older voters. This indicates the growing strength of youth voters, and our immense value as a demographic.

Civic Engagement Can Only Go Up From Here: 40.3% is a record breaking midterm voting rate. It doubled from the 2014 midterms. Now there’s an  opportunity to grow turnout to 45% and 50%. Looking ahead, CEEP and partner institutions can turn out the vote in off-year elections. In 2019, states will hold local, county, and state elections, ranging from judges, district attorneys, mayors, governors, and school board. 

The collective voice of college campuses as a voting demographic with high turnout is a game changer. Politicians will now have to tailor their message to young voters, as their turnout duly affects election results. Additionally, the stage is set for the next generation of young voters. The trends highlighted in this report support the notion that institutionalizing voter engagement on college campuses will carve the path toward normalizing voter registration and turnout among young voters. CEEP aims to make voting as accessible as possible for students. 2018 was a job well done. 

We look forward to repeated turnout in 2019, and for what’s to come. 

For the full, juicy report, check it out here: https://idhe.tufts.edu/2018data

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