Indiana University South Bend is pleased to announce that student voting increased by 7.5 percent in last year’s presidential election, rising to 63 percent in 2020 from a rate of 55 percent in 2016. Voting rates increased for both men and women ages 18-39 across all racial and ethnic groups.
The increase in IU South Bend student voting in the 2020 election recognizes the long-term, ongoing, student-supported, efforts that IU South Bend has made to register, educate, and mobilize student voters, said Elizabeth Bennion, Chancellor’s Professor of Political Science.
These statistics come from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), creators of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE. IDHE is located at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life.
IU South Bend’s voting rate reflects a national trend. On campuses across the country, students built on the momentum swing of 2018 and voted at high rates in the 2020 election. Like turnout for college students nationwide, IU South Bend’s turnout increase in the 2020 presidential election, outpaces that of all Americans, which jumped 6 percentage points according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Bennion attributed IU South Bend’s high level of participation to the advance preparation and assistance of multiple campus groups, including Students Learn, Students Vote Coalition, Indiana Campus Compact, Campus Election Engagement Project, and the Women of IU South Bend. We were able to do this because of the solid plan we had in place one that allowed us to build on past success, explained Bennion.
And, of course, we couldn’t have done any of this without the enthusiasm and hard work of our democracy fellows. Students from the American Democracy Project and Political Science Club led our voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts, while also hosting weekly discussions about critical policy issues that engaged students across the political spectrum.
Chancellor Susan Elrod said, We are very proud of the efforts put forth by student groups on campus to increase student voter participation at IU South Bend, especially during the pandemic. Their planning and enthusiasm were important factors in increasing student voter participation. Likewise, we are proud of our students for their strong engagement in the democratic process and exercising their responsibility to vote.
IDHE’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement is the nation’s largest study of college and university student voting. Institutions must opt-in to the study and nearly 1,200 campuses of all types participate. The dataset reflects all 50 states and the District of Columbia and includes 49 of the nation’s 50 flagship schools. IDHE uses de-identified student records to ensure student privacy. The 2020 dataset is robust with 8,880,700 voting-eligible students representing 1,051 colleges and universities.