March 10, 2022 at 08:30 AM EST
MTV, the global brand that pioneered youth voter engagement, announced today its 2022 election program Voting Early is Easier, designed to help young voters return to the ballot box following their record turnout in 2020. MTV partnered with a team of students working on their Duke University Master in Interdisciplinary Data Science program to study access to voting on college campuses, and early findings show that in 2020, in the 35 states where Election Day polling information is available, 74% of college campuses did not have in-person voting options on campus, affecting at least 6.6 million students. The research also found that the lack of access is more pronounced for students at 2-year community colleges than 4-year institutions.
While college students voted at a higher rate than youth voters overall in 2020, ease of access to voting sites – including transportation and inconvenient locations – were consistent barriers cited by young people who did not vote. In particular, demand for early voting options has risen dramatically in recent years, but in the 35 states that meaningfully allow for early voting, 90% of colleges did not have in-person early voting options on their campus. Local election infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the needs of college voters.