Democracy Counts: Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting

Posted by Tufts University on October 2, 2017

Students in 2016: Study, Study, Vote

[Excerpted from The Conversation]

A new study reveals that more, and more diverse, US college students voted in 2016. What are the implications for future elections?

Whether motivated by support for particular policies or enthusiasm – or ire – toward the candidates, the 2016 election captured the attention of U.S. college and university students nationwide.

That’s the finding of a new study of students at more than 1,000 U.S. institutions released by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, which we direct. The study shows that voting by college and university students across the country was up in 2016.

The report is based on findings from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement. This national study is the only large-scale, objective measure of college student political participation in the country. The database consists of merged student enrollment records and publicly available voting records for the 2012, 2014 and 2016 federal elections.

With public and private institutions in 50 states opting to join the study, the NSLVE database consists of about half of the entire college and university student population – or approximately 9.5 million individual student records. To protect student privacy, we receive only the data, without names or other identifying information. We work with actual voting records, which take many months to compile, so the analysis from 2016 was completed recently.

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