The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education (IDHE) to Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life released a new report on student participation in the 2020 election season. Data indicated that students voted at unprecedented rates, with a 66% participation rate in 2020 compared to 52% in 2016.
Report oneAnalyzed participation across various demographics and reflected on the correlation between academic experience and political participation.
The IDHE’s National Study on Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) studied the voting habits of students from approximately 1,100 institutions in all fifty states. He used the method of merging the registration records of participating campuses in the fall of an election year with the state-level administrative voting records of the Secretaries of State.
David Brinker, theprincipal researcher at IDHE who worked on this report, mentioned how third parties contributed to the study.
“It’s a process that we design and administer, but there are third parties who are routinely entrusted with protected student dataâ¦ from which we can learn more about student participation in general elections.” Brinker said.
Brinker added that his role in the report included identifying areas for future study.
“For this report, my main responsibility was to do the data analysis, but really to look for interesting data points that were worth exploring further,” Brinker said.
Adam gismondi, Director of impact at IDHE and co-author of the report, manages communication and strategy Implementation.
“[My work] strives to ensure that [the research] gets used to it and is seen â, said Gismondi.
In general, different methods of determining the ability to vote produce various implications for the rate of voting. According to Brinker, NSLVE’s greatest strength is its full campus registration rather than sample or self-assessment data.
âWe have a real denominator,â Brinker said. âThis is still an estimate, but we have a very good idea of ââhow many students from each of our participating colleges are eligible to vote.
Brinker said the limits of NSLVE are double.
âWe know some things about the dataset that we’re very transparent about,â Brinker said. “On the one hand, that we under-represent community colleges, primarily two-year institutions.”
The team guarded whether this had a significant impact on the results and determined not. The second gap is conceptual and inherent in the data type IDHE collects, according to Brinker.
âWe are measuring student votes as a measure to reflect the civic health of US colleges and universities,â Gismondi said. “It’s a proxy for civic participation, but of course there are good reasons not to vote, and we don’t measure others [reasons]. “
Gismondi added that numerous are interested in partisan interpretations of data. However, IDHE does not document party affiliation or the selection of candidates.
The IDHE implored colleges and universities to shift their focus from increasing registration rates to motivating registered voters. According to the Pew Research Center, unregistered citizens are simply less motivated to vote. On the other hand, registered non-voters are more likely to be prevented from voting in a way that raises questions of fairness and access, according to Brinker.
IDHE urges states, municipalities and figures of power get up for student voting rights and ensure that students are knowledgeable about voting opportunities at hand.
Jane romp, one of the two coordinators of democracy representatives at JumboVote, agreed that the low efficiency is a consequence of the lack of accessibility, especially with postal ballots.
“Because a lot of Tufts students made the decision to vote at home rather than Medford or Somervilleâ¦ the process of applying for mail-in ballotsâ¦ was really confusing for a lot of people,” Romp, a junior, said.
In Massachusetts, the proposal VOTES Act eintroduce postal voting and advance voting in person, which would make it easier for students to vote. Tisch College strives to correct these disparities in the absence of legislation.
Gismondi describes how Tisch College has a wide reach with its programming.
“Tisch College is the only college of its kindâ¦ and this allows for more solid research work”, Gismondi noted. âWe have a policy center, we have community outreach workâ¦ [and] the major in civic studies.
Romp explained this JumboVote established connections to work with SMFA and School of Engineering students To amplify voices in academic fields that are not generally associated with politics and civic engagement. Brinker called Tufts a school this supports students’ desires to commit to progress.
âI really think the students at Tufts don’t just go to class, get the grades, get the degree and get the job,â Brinker said. “I think they want their work to count now, not laterâ¦ and I think Tufts takes that mentality.”
Romp believes That youyoung people want to help build a better futurees. Not only can the data in the report be used as an educational tool, Brinker says, it can motivate students to continue to make a difference by exercising their right to vote.
âThe data makes us resistant to assumptions we might have about the groups we are measuring; the assumption that young people don’t vote runs deep in the minds of some people, âsaid Brinker. “I hope people [read] fairness data and understand that it is not about reports of how things inevitably go or the rules that govern politics. “