College Student Voting Turnout Nearly Doubled in 2018

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By: Wesley Wallace | wwallace5@radford.edu

A recent study conducted by Tuft University found that the voting turnout for college students during the 2018 midterm elections nearly doubled from 2014.

The report issued by Tuft University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) acquired the average voting patterns of ten million college students who attended 1,000 college institutions.

According to the report, the voting rates for college students in the 2018 midterm elections were approximately 39.1 percent, nearly 20 points higher than the 19.7 percent of college students who voted in the 2014 midterm elections.

Researchers at Tuft University were able to analyze this information by allowing colleges around the U.S. to participate in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). 

The NSLVE enables colleges to discover the voter registration and voting rates of their students.

Additionally, the study found that the highest voting turnout came from Hispanic students at approximately 36.5 percent, which doubled the 14 percent of Hispanic college students who voted in 2014. 

“It marks a watershed election year for student voter turnout, including promising progress in narrowing some persistent turnout gaps.”

While women’s colleges had the highest voting rates among four-year institutions and two-year colleges, both public and private universities had made improvements with the turnout of college voters between 2014-2018.

During the 2018 midterm elections, many political activists referred to the midterms as the most “consequential election of our lifetime.” The increase in turnout reflected youth’s concern for significant issues such as gun control, health care, voter registration, and LGBTQ equality.

Furthermore, the increased rate of millennial voters shifted political gender balances by electing a minimum of 90 female candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Nancy Thomas, Director of the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, discussed the active participation of college voters.

“At a time of increased activism and voter participation by all Americans, today’s report highlights even greater interest among college students,” Thomas said. “It marks a watershed election year for student voter turnout, including promising progress in narrowing some persistent turnout gaps.” 

Next week’s twelfth district general election will see Democrat Chris Hurst defending his seat from Republican newcomer Forrest Hite. 

Keep up with Radford University news through The Tartan.

Photo Credit: (Parker Johnson on Unsplash)

Wesley Wallace

Wesley Wallace is a Sophomore student at Radford University. He aims to acquire his Bachelor of Science in Theatre with a minor in entrepreneurship. In addition to writing for the Tartan, he previously served as the Campus Relations Chair for Radford's NAACP and maintains a student conduct board position within Radford's Office of Student Standards & Conduct.