NEWS

National Voting Coalition Commends Student Voters, Organizers for High Youth Turnout

PRESS RELEASE: Students Learn Students Vote Coalition
CONTACT: Danny Fersh, danny@slsvcoalition.org

As election workers calculate final vote counts in precincts throughout the US, one thing is clear: in 2022, young voters and student voters showed up in force, making a decisive impact on races around the country and building on the momentum of the last four years, in which youth and student voting rates have increased dramatically. The Students Learn Students Vote (SLSV) Coalition, a nonpartisan network of more than 400 national, state, and local organizations dedicated to growing the student vote, commends young voters for showing up to participate in our democracy – many of them despite significant barriers

According to data released today by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, 27% of all voters ages 18-29, the second-highest youth voter turnout rate in a midterm election in the last 30 years, trailing only the 2018 election. Youth voter turnout in competitive states (FL, GA, MI, NC, NH, OH, PA, WI) was even higher, reaching an aggregate rate of 31%. Student-specific voter turnout data is expected to be available in the fall of 2023 from CIRCLE’s sister institution, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

The last six years have seen historic growth in student voter participation, led by young people mobilizing in college communities throughout the US. In 2018, supported by resources, connections, strategic direction, and infrastructure built collaboratively by SLSV Coalition members, 40% of student voters turned out for the US midterm elections – more than double the 19% who participated in the 2014 midterms.  Since then, hundreds more campuses have invested in nonpartisan student voter engagement efforts, resulting in historic student voter turnout in 2020. The student vote movement has been laying the groundwork for this election for years. 

While the overall student voting rate won’t be known for several months, voter engagement efforts on college campuses translated into palpable excitement as students in Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and more waited in hours-long lines to vote, determined to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. 

“The 2022 youth wave was no accident,” said Clarissa Unger, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition. “It is the result of a national movement that has been growing on college campuses for years – from 4-year flagship universities to small liberal arts colleges, from community colleges to HBCUs and every type of campus in between. Thousands of local leaders across the country have been engaging and mobilizing students to participate in our democracy all year long – not just during election season.”

By helping campus leaders build nonpartisan voting coalitions, combat misinformation by communicating directly to students, foster dialogue across political divides through events and mobilizations, and empower new voters to make informed and confident choices, SLSV Coalition partners are helping create a lasting culture of civic engagement that continues to build on itself. The youth wave started in 2018, and it will continue to grow through investment in local communities.