Civic Engagement on Campus Could Shape the 2020 Elections

New political research from Tufts University prove that efforts to organize and mobilize voters on college campuses are working—and that their impact could shape the 2020 election results.

According to a report released Thursday by Tuft’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education as part of its ongoing National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, nearly 40 percent of students who were eligible to vote in the 2018 elections headed to the polls—marking a massive increase from the 2014 election, when only 19 percent did. The new data, which was compiled using a database of 10 million students from 1,000 college and universities, also found that students across lines of race voted in higher proportions than they had previously in 2018.

The Higher Education Act of 1998 requires that campuses make a “good faith effort” to educate students around civic participation and give them opportunities to register as voters, but in years past many administrators have shied away from the task for fear of seeming partisan or encouraging on-campus rallies and protests. But the new numbers from Tufts prove just how outsized student power can be at the polls—and how eager young voters are to make themselves heard.

Read the full report on the Tufts study at Inside Higher Ed.


Carmen Rios is a feminist media-maker and movement-builder. She's currently a Consulting Editor at Ms. and the host of Bitch Media's Popaganda podcast, and was previously the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. and the Feminism Editor, Community Director and Social Media Co-Director at Autostraddle. Her work has also been published by outlets like the Atlantic's CityLab, BuzzFeed, ElixHER, Feministing, Girlboss, Mic, MEL and Everyday Feminism; and she is additionally a co-founder of Webby-nominated Argot Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @carmenriosss.