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Student Voters

Historically, young adults have voted at lower rates than older cohorts.  They are also the newest members of our democracy, move more frequently, are less likely to have a driver’s license, and are less likely to be contacted directly by political campaigns then older age groups, all of which are barriers to registering and voting.

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Campus Vote Project on Campus

    We can help change  
   historical trends in  
  student voting...  

Why Student Voters Matter

However, we saw a modest increase in student turnout from 2012 to 2016 and a tremendous improvement in youth turnout from 2014 to 2018 and from 2016 to 2020.  Millennials and Gen Z were the largest share of eligible voters in 2020, but because of their lower voting rates have not been the largest share of the electorate in previous elections.

We can help change these historical trends and continue to grow the increasing voter turnout rates and increasing share of the electorate that is younger voters by working with community colleges and universities to welcome the nearly 20 million students they serve each year into the democratic process.  Young people cite barriers such as missing a deadline or lacking other information as the reason they did not register at much higher rates than older age groups.  Students also cite trusting their college or university over other institutions so by working with community colleges and universities to provide students nonpartisan opportunities to register to vote, learn about the issues and candidates on the ballot, and receive accurate information on deadlines and processes for voting absentee, by-mail, early, or on Election Day we can empower students to become life-long voters and active citizens.    

Young adults (ages 18-29) made up about 21% of the voting eligible population in 2014, but voter turnout for this demographic has reached record lows in recent years, sitting at 17% in recent years. In midterm elections like last year and in off-year elections like 2015, local offices are on the ballot and can be decided by a matter of a few votes. Local offices and issues have a direct impact on a student’s home and college community. Officials make decisions on topics like student debt, funding for higher education, and the economy.

Why Student Voters Matter

 Young people have 
the power to 
make a difference. 

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An important way to achieve this is to make their voices heard at the polls on Election Day.
“Overall, NSLVE students voted at a higher rate in 2016 than 2012 by about three percentage points, rising from 45.1% to 48.3%, jumping from 52% in 2016 to 66% in 2020. That 14 percentage point increase outpaces that of all Americans, who jumped 6 percentage points from 61% to 67%."

Source: American Association of Community Colleges Fast Facts 2018

College Student Voters Matter

Because community college students typically go to school in the communities where they and their family live, they can directly share registration and voting information with their larger community.

Community College

 CVP has a particular     
focus on community 
college campuses 
across the country. 

Why Community College Student Voters Matter

These students can be hard to reach compared to traditional campus efforts because of varied schedules, multiple campus locations, and work obligations. CVP help administrators and faculty engage with students to overcome these difficulties...

Community College Stats

10.3 million students attend community college in the U.S. (representing 39% of all U.S. undergrads).

Among undergraduates, 50% of Hispanic students, 40% of African-American students, and 36% of Asian/Pacific Islander students attend community colleges. 

36% of students entering community colleges are first-generation college students

Source: American Association of Community Colleges Fast Facts 2022

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