National study reveals Dominican's increase in civic engagement leads to higher vote turnout

A national study shows that Dominican's recent efforts to increase civic engagement on campus has resulted in significantly higher turnout rates at the polls.

So, on September 24, students from the Department of Political Science and International Studies were again encouraging their peers to register to vote during National Voter Registration Day. The students were sitting at tables with laptop computers on Caleruega Dining Hall Plaza from noon to 1: 30 p.m. registering or re-registering other Dominican students to vote.

A national study shows that Dominican's recent efforts to increase civic engagement on campus has resulted in significantly higher turnout rates at the polls. In fact, the voting rate for Dominican students in the last election was more than 25 percentage points higher than 2014’s rate. The student voting rate increased to 47.4% in 2018 from 20.5% in 2014.

The report is part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University. The study shows that in 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate among campuses in the study was 39.1%, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of 19.7%.

In recent years, Dominican has significantly boosted efforts focused on encouraging students to vote. Democracy & Equity was the university’s community engagement theme from 2017-2019. Students, faculty, and staff organized events relevant to the theme, augmenting students’ learning by connecting coursework with issues relevant across local, national, and global communities. Events included town hall forums, lunchtime forums, panel discussions, State of the Union viewing parties, voter registration drives, and voter information sessions.

In 2016, Dominican, working as a voter education partner of the Commission on Presidential Debates, created College Debate 16, a non-partisan, social media initiative designed to engage college students in the election and the Fall 2016 presidential debates. CD16 provided a platform aimed to inspire students both at Dominican and on campuses nationwide to engage with each other in civil discourse and have meaningful conversations around the political issues. More than 145 college students from 50 states and Washington, DC served as CD16 delegates, engaging their peers, classmates, and friends through social media on the issues that mattered the most to them.

Dominican's registration rate also increased, from 61.8% in 2014, to 75.5% in 2018. Of the students who registered, only 33.2 % voted in 2014 while 62.8% voted in 2018.

NSLVE is the only national study of college-student voting. It is based on the voting records of more than 10 million students at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

September 24, 2019