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UD student voters earn national recognition

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University of Delaware students have boosted their voter registration rate by nearly 27% since since 2014. In its September/October 2020 issue, Washington Monthly ranked UD 12th out of 157 schools in its 2020 Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll. Voter turnout among UD students increased from 14.8% in 2014―5% lower than the national average―to 41.6% in 2018―2.5% higher than the national average.

Nationally, student participation in elections has increased from the 2014 midterm election to the 2018 midterm election. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), an initiative of Tufts University's Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, voter turnout at the more than 1,000 institutions participating in the study increased by 21 points from 19% to 40%.

The University of Delaware's data reveals that voter turnout among UD students increased nearly 27%, from 14.8% in 2014―5% lower than the national average―to 41.6% in 2018―2.5% higher than the national average.

​The University of Delaware's data reveals that voter turnout among UD students increased nearly 27%, from 14.8% in 2014―5% lower than the national average―to 41.6% in 2018―2.5% higher than the national average.

All In Gold Seal: In 2019, the All In Campus Democracy Challenge presented UD with a gold seal for excellence in student voter engagement because it achieved a voter participation rate of 40% to 49% during the 2018 Midterm Election.

In 2019, the All In Campus Democracy Challenge presented UD with a gold seal for excellence in student voter engagement because it achieved a voter participation rate of 40% to 49% during the 2018 Midterm Election. The ALL IN Challenge is a national competition for universities to increase voter engagement on college campuses. 

To encourage schools to work at bettering turnout, Washington Monthly used the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) information to compile its fifth student voting honor roll. The listed schools met multiple criteria:

  • Submitted an ALL IN action plan in 2018 and 2020
  • Signed up to receive NSLVE data about their own campus registration and turnout rates
  • Made both their 2016 and 2018 NSLVE data available to the public
  • Demonstrated a repeated commitment to increasing student voting and been transparency about results

According to All In, 6.2 million students in 48 states participated in the challenge. UD was one of 169 campuses to receive a gold seal. A full list of seal awardees can be viewed at https://www.allinchallenge.org/seal-awardees/.

"We are so proud of our students for making this really remarkable change in voter registration and voter turnout," said Dr. Lindsay Hoffman, associate director of the Center for Political Communication at the University of Delaware. "It can be hard for college students to vote when they are out of state or moving frequently, but the online registration system—Turbovote―has made it easier to register and get reminders about where and how to vote, no matter your home state. This national recognition wouldn't be possible without a dedicated group of faculty, staff, administrators, and students who are committed to increasing political and civic engagement at UD."

"We are excited to honor the University of Delaware with an ALL IN Challenge gold seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation," said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. "More institutions like UD are changing culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we've seen across the country."

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a nonpartisan, national initiative recognizing and supporting campuses as they work to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement and full student voter participation. The Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus.

More than 560 campuses, enrolling more than 6.2 million students, have joined the Challenge since its launch in summer 2016.

In its September/October 2018 issueWashington Monthly named the University of Delaware ​one of only 58 colleges to meet all four criteria for commitment to encouraging voting by its students.

All In Bronze Seal: In 2016, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awarded the University of Delaware a bronze seal for having a student voting rate between 50% and 59%

In 2016, the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awarded the University of Delaware a bronze seal for having a student voting rate between 50% and 59%. With guidance from CPC Associate Director Lindsay Hoffman, the University of Delaware has continued its commitment to increasing voter engagement in 2018. Read more about UD's 2018 ALL IN Action Plan and other reports via the ALL IN Participating Campuses page.

Student participation in elections has increased in the past few years. A recent report, "Democracy Counts: A Report on U.S. College and University Student Voting" from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, an initiative of Tufts University's Institute for Democracy in Higher Education, shows that between the 2012 presidential election, and the 2016 presidential election, student voting went from 45.1% of eligible voters in 2012 to 48.3% in 2016a 7% improvement. 

"I am proud to honor the University of Delaware with an ALL IN Challenge bronze seal in recognition of their dedication, hard work, and achievement," said Zaneeta E. Daver, director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. "The University of Delaware is not only ensuring that a more representative population participates in our nation's democracy, but is educating students to be civic-minded. They are an example to be emulated."

The All IN Challenge encourages higher education institutions to help students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on their campus. By joining the Challenge, campuses commit to:

  1. Increasing student voting rates, helping students form the habits of active and informed citizenship, and make democratic participation a core value on our campus.
  2. Convening a campus-wide working group that includes members from academic affairs, student affairs, the student body, and any other relevant stakeholders.
  3. Participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) in order to measure our student voting rates.
  4. Developing and implementing a data-driven action plan to improve civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation.
  5. Sharing our campus’ action plan and NSLVE results with the Challenge in order to be eligible for a recognition seal and/or awards.

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UD student voters earn national recognition
  • Department of Communication
  • Department of Political Science and International Relations