Higher education leaders have a responsibility to prepare students to become responsible and engaged participants in our democracy, and that includes, most importantly, to exercise the right and duty to register and to vote.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge has been encouraging colleges and universities since 2016 to make plans and to take action to increase nonpartisan student civic learning, political engagement, and – especially – voter participation. Over 600 campuses have risen to this challenge and institutional voting rates for colleges and universities have increased exponentially between elections. And yet, the average voting rate for a presidential election remains at 48.3%* with voter registration hovering at 70.6%.*
As a field, we can – and must – do better. That’s why the ALL IN Challenge and its Higher Education Presidents’ Council is challenging our institutions to make a visible commitment to reaching full student voter registration and voter participation in all elections. Together we can embed messages about the central importance of voting and participating as informed members of our democracy into our campus culture by including opportunities for voter registration systematically into processes that reach virtually every college student.
We are asking that college and university leaders commit their institutions to actively working toward the goal of full student participation in the 2020 election and beyond.