Despite changes in voter registration and voting processes, Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s undergraduate voting percentage rose 20 points from 2016 to 2020, according to a press release.
The surge was fueled by voter mobilization programs and campus-wide collaboration led by Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics’ Center for Youth Political Participation (CYPP).
According to the National Study for Learning Voting and Engagement report, Rutgers-New Brunswick’s student voting rate exceeded other comparable higher education institutions and the national average. Student voter turnout rose to nearly 73 percent in 2020, compared to 53 percent in 2016.
Rutgers—New Brunswick’s student electoral register rose to nearly 84 percent from 74 percent in 2016.
“The Eagleton Institute of Politics and its Center for Youth Political Participation are at the forefront of promoting elections and political engagement among young people of all backgrounds, which is the backbone of a healthy democracy,” said Chancellor and Chancellor Francine Conway of Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
In response to the state voting changes for the 2020 election, CYPP expanded its RU Voting Rutgers program into a statewide initiative called RU Voting National to provide students with state information on how to register and how to vote votes by mail and how to find their polling stations.
Through the national program, CYPP helped those learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing timely election information and helping students navigate changes in election practices.
“Students have faced unprecedented obstacles due to the pandemic as they seek to register and vote in the 2020 presidential election,” said Elizabeth C. Matto, associate research professor and CYPP director. “New Brunswick student voting data — specifically, the 20-point increase in voting ratings — shows that our students understood the importance of participating in our nation’s democratic process and that they remained motivated, despite the demands of the state.” to vote in state-run elections. government changes to voting processes.”
The data reflects the impact of the pandemic on the voting practices of Rutgers-New Brunswick students. 39 percent of them did not personally vote in 2020 (up from 24 percent in 2016); 18 percent of students participated in early voting (compared to 8 percent in 2016); and only 18 percent of students voted in person in 2020 (compared to 26 percent in 2016).
The report highlights the increase in voter turnout among Rutgers-New Brunswick’s youngest students. Voter turnout among 18- to 21-year-old students increased by more than 20 points, from 45 percent in 2016 to 66 percent in 2020. Likewise, voter turnout among 22- to 24-year-old students rose from 45 percent to 62 percent.
The Democracy Counts 2020 report is based on an analysis of the voting patterns of more than 9 million college students at more than 1,051 campuses participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). The Eagleton Center for Youth Political Participation at Rutgers University-New Brunswick is a partner in the NSLVE project.
The New Brunswick Civic Engagement Coalition, a campus-wide initiative to increase student registration and voter turnout, was led by Rutgers’ Division of Student Affairs, RU Voting and NJPIRG.
The report for Rutgers-New Brunswick data is available on the CYPP website.
The data comes from the National Study for Learning Voting and Engagement conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life.