Emerson students broke their own voting records in the 2020 federal election by nearly 16 percentage points, and bested the average student voting rate by more than 10 percentage points, based on a recent study from Tufts University.
According to the October 2021 report, released by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), an initiative of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, 76.1 percent of Emerson students who were eligible to vote on Election Day 2020 cast a ballot, up from 60.2 percent of Emerson students in the 2016 election, and 44.7 percent in the 2018 midterms.
Tufts tracked the voting rates from more than 1,000 higher education institutions using data from 2016, 2018, and 2020 federal elections. More than 50 million college student records were collected for this study. The 2020 voting rate for all college students was 66 percent.
Emerson also made significant gains in voter registration last November, when 87.3 percent of eligible students were registered to vote, up from 84.1 percent in 2016. Nearly all of those registered to vote in 2020 – 87.1 percent – actually cast a ballot. Contrast that to 2016, when 71.6 percent of registered students made it to the polls or voted absentee.
Jason Meier, director of Student Engagement and Leadership (SEAL), said efforts by his office and campus partners to get out the vote paid off, calling it “inspiring.”
“SEAL made a simple goal to get two-thirds of our campus to register and vote in November 2020. To see our campus exceed that goal is so exciting,” Meier said.
The percentage of students who voted by mail jumped 14 percentage points over 2016, to 52 percent, a number that likely reflects the pandemic.
Meier acknowledged that the College’s efforts has paid enormous dividends in terms of student participation in democracy.
“We couldn’t be more excited and proud of our community and their demonstration of civic engagement,” Meier said. “Less than ten years ago, barely 10 percent of Emerson’s students were voting in elections. To see this increase by more than 60 percent in the last few years is inspiring.”