College students can no longer be considered apathetic when it comes to making their voices heard at the polls. Their voting rates in the 2018 midterm elections doubled compared to the 2014 midterms, according to the Democracy Counts report recently issued by Tufts University’s Tisch College for Civic Life.
The Tufts report analyzed the voting behavior of more than 10 million students on over 1,000 college campuses nationwide. It showed that student voter turnout on those campuses averaged 39.1% for the 2018 midterms, twice the rate of 19.7% measured during the 2014 elections. Female students continued to vote at higher rates than men in 2018, with black women maintaining their position as the most active voters on campus overall. The largest voting rate increase across ethnic groups was among Hispanic students, whose voting rate more than doubled from 2014 to 2018.
Rates of voting among students attending two-year, four-year, public and private colleges and universities all showed similar increases, although women’s colleges continued to vote at the highest rates among institutional types. Voter turnout among students majoring in STEM fields, as well as those majoring in business, lagged behind that of students studying the humanities, social sciences, and education.
“College students today are more diverse than ever, and while they are not a monolithic group, they represent a formidable voting bloc of nearly 20 million,” said Nancy Thomas, director of the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tisch. She called 2018 a “watershed election year” for student voter turnout.