The numbers are in, and the winners are MTSU students who have exercised their right to vote.
Student voting at MTSU increased from 44% in both 2016 and 2014 to 65% in 2020 — an increase of 21percentage points, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.
In addition, 84% of MTSU students registered to vote in the 2020 election compared to 72% in 2016, an increase of 12 percentage points.
“Everyone on campus made this happen, from professors in classrooms to campus organizations,” said Mary Evins, a research professor of history and coordinator of the American Democracy Project. “Everyone took the time to get students registered where they could vote the most efficiently, discussed with them the importance and value of civic participation and assisted students in getting to the polls.”
The vast majority of MTSU students, 93% of them, voted in person at the polls. Seventy-two percent of MTSU students took advantage of early voting, up from 58% in 2016.
“Helping students register to vote where they live during college so that they can get to the polls in person — the ‘live here, vote here’ principle — increases student voting,” Evins said.
Nationally, the study found a record-breaking swing among college students. Voter turnout among this group soared to 66% in 2020, a 14% increase over the 2016 election. That surpassed the increase among Americans in the aggregate from 61% in 2016 to 67% in 2020.
“We attribute this high level of participation to many factors, including student activism on issues such as racial injustice, global climate change and voter suppression, as well as efforts by educators to reach students and connect them to the issues and to voting resources,” said Nancy Thomas, director of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education.
“MTSU’s increase in voting in 2020 exceeded the national average,” Evins said. “Our goal every year is 100% registration and 100% student voting, but to have surpassed ourselves in both areas is spectacular. Let’s keep it up! Let’s exceed ourselves again!”
MTSU and the nearly 1,200 other institutions that participate in the institute’s study must opt in to be a part of it. The study is the nation’s largest examination of college and university student voting. Its data set reflects all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
For more information about the American Democracy Project, contact Evins at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. To learn more about the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, go to https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve.
— Gina K. Logue (firstname.lastname@example.org)