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Student Voter Participation at University of Maryland Increased by 27 Percent in 2018

October 7, 2019
Contacts: 

Patrick Saumell, 443-886-4084

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland today reported that student voting on campus was up in last year’s mid-year election, increasing to 46 percent in 2018 from a rate of 19.3 percent in 2014. The full campus report can be viewed here. 

UMD’s joint student and faculty chaired TerpsVote Coalition played a vital role in promoting voter education and engagement. Throughout the fall 2018 semester, TerpsVote led a campaign to engage students on voting through classroom presentations, registration drives, early voting buses, and free stamps and envelopes for absentee voting.

"Reaching a 46 percent student voting rate during a midterm election is a huge milestone, but we're already preparing for next fall’s presidential election,” said Patrick Saumell, Student Co-Chair for the TerpsVote Coalition. “Increasing student engagement requires reducing informational and psychological barriers to voting. As a result, we're working with student and faculty stakeholders to increase education about voting and promote a civically inclined campus culture over the next year."

The latest report is part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. The study shows that nationwide, the voting rates at participating college campuses doubled on average compared to the previous 2014 midterm. In 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate (AIVR) among campuses in the study was 39.1 percent, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of 19.7 percent. Turnout increases were widespread, with virtually all campuses seeing an improvement over 2014.

The NSLE is the only national study of college-student voting. It is based on the voting records of more than 10 million students at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; IDHE does not receive any information that could individually identify students or how they voted. The study provides reports to the University of Maryland and participating colleges and universities, which use them to support political learning and civic engagement, as well as to identify and address gaps in political and civic participation.

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Part of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) is an applied research center focused on college and university student political learning and engagement in democracy. IDHE researchers study student voting, equity, campus conditions for student political learning, discourse, participation, and agency for underrepresented and marginalized students. IDHE's signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, (https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve) is a service to colleges and universities that provides participating institutions with tailored reports of their students' voting rates. Launched in 2013 with 250 campuses, the study now serves more than 1,000 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

TerpsVote is a non-partisan campus coalition working to promote voter engagement at the University of Maryland. TerpsVote's efforts range from increasing voter registration to spreading civic education to prepare UMD's student body for local, state, and national elections. For the fall of 2019, TerpsVote's primary goal is educating UMD to increase comprehension and engagement on voter procedures, local elections, and the census.