University acknowledged for increased voter participation
The university received a gold seal from the “ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge” for its excellence in promoting civic engagement through voter participation during the 2018 midterm elections. The awards were presented Tuesday afternoon at the challenge’s second awards ceremony in Washington, hosted at the Newseum.
According to a survey conducted by the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, voter turnout rate among university students increased to 41.6% during the 2018 midterm elections.
“We are excited to honor the University of Delaware with an ALL IN Challenge gold seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation,” Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the challenge, said.
“More institutions [like the university] are changing culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country,” Domagal-Goldman said.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national, nonpartisan initiative that acknowledges and supports campuses as they strive to increase civic engagement. The challenge allows for universities to educate students how they can stay actively informed while instilling active civic engagement and higher voter participation rates on their campuses.
The recognition of the gold seal underlines the university’s commitment to its principal mission of encouraging the student voice. This empowerment and encouragement comes from registered student organizations such as Make it Count, a nonpartisan civic engagement organization here at the university. They partnered with TurboVote, an online service to help students vote in every local, state and national election.
Gillian Williams, a senior public policy major and co-president of Make It Count, said she is pleased with the progress the university has made.
“I have seen an incredible amount of growth in our community regarding civic engagement over the past couple of years,” Williams said. “It is great to see support from the administration at UD in creating dedicated civic engagement initiatives for students.”
In 2018, the university’s Center for Political Communication joined forces with the Biden Institute and Make it Count to promote National Voter Registration Day. They encouraged students to register to vote or sign up for alerts through the university’s TurboVote website.
Since the collaboration, the university’s student voter registration rates have successfully increased.
“Make it Count is proud to serve as a non-partisan resource and to start conversations about voting with our peers,” Williams said. “There is still room for improvement but the progress we have made so far gives me a great sense of hope.”
Civic engagement appears to have become a prominent topic of conversation for many college students and is continuing to develop positive conversations and awareness in increasing efforts to remind all students of their ability to make a change.
“The rise in voter participation and engagement on college campuses in last year’s midterms and what’s sure to be a high turnout in 2020 can and will undoubtedly be tied to the hard work of the dedicated students, faculty, administrators and partner organizations that are part of the ALL IN Challenge network,” Domagal-Goldman said.