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Campus & Community

Turnout Turnaround

New Report Shows Student Voting at Maryland Doubled From 2014 to 2018 Elections

By Maryland Today Staff


Courtesy of TerpsVote via Twitter

TerpsVote volunteers conduct a voter drive outside Stamp. With help from a campaign by the organization last fall, UMD's student voting rate doubled from 2014 to 2018.

Student voting at the University of Maryland ballooned in last year’s midterm election, increasing to 46% in 2018 from a rate of just 19.3% in 2014, according to a new report from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education.

The strong turnout followed a voter education and encouragement campaign throughout the fall semester by UMD’s TerpsVote Coalition. The joint student- and faculty-chaired organization engaged students in the democratic process through classroom presentations, registration drives, early voting buses, and free stamps and envelopes for absentee voting.

"Reaching a 46% 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 nonpartisan 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 new report is part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, by the institute, based at Tufts University. 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.

Among the study’s findings, 2018 voting rates at participating colleges nationwide approximately doubled, compared to the 2014 midterm average, rising to 39.1% from 19.7%. Turnout increases were also widespread, with virtually all campuses seeing an improvement over 2014.

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