Winthrop University: For Fifth Straight Year Washington Monthly Recognizes Winthrop on Its Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll
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For Fifth Straight Year Washington Monthly Recognizes Winthrop on Its Best Colleges for Student Voting Honor Roll

September 13, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Winthrop is among the top 230 colleges/universities in the Student Voting category of the 2022 Washington Monthly College Rankings and is one of only four institutions listed from the Palmetto State.
  • In 2020, Winthrop’s voter registration rate was 89.5 percent, up from 81 percent in 2016.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Winthrop University remains a South Carolina higher education institution leader in turning out the student vote in national elections, according to Washington Monthly.

Winthrop is among the top 230 colleges/universities in the Student Voting category of the 2022 Washington Monthly College Rankings and is one of only four institutions listed from the Palmetto State.

Efforts at Winthrop and other institutions have helped encourage young people nationally to take a greater role in helping pick government leaders. More than half of 18- to 24-year-olds cast ballots in 2020, a threshold not reached since 18-year-olds were first allowed to vote in 1971.

At Winthrop, 75 percent of the student body voted in the 2020 presidential election, up 17.8 percent from the 2016 presidential election. In 2020, Winthrop’s voter registration rate was 89.5 percent, up from 81 percent in 2016.

President Edward Serna ’02 was pleased to see Winthrop on the list and is proud of how the institution has made civic engagement a priority. “We want our students to make a difference in their communities when they leave college,” Serna said. “I can’t think of a better way to do that than by encouraging our students to exercise their constitutional right to vote while they are here attending Winthrop and then for the rest of their lives.” 

To make the student voting honor roll, universities had to submit 2020 and 2022 action plans to the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. Schools also needed to have signed up to receive data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), which calculates college-specific registration and voting rates. 

In short, schools on the list needed to have shown a repeated commitment to increasing student voting—and have been transparent about the results. 

In her role as director of the John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy, Katarina Moyon worked with a committee of faculty, staff and students to educate the campus on voting issues. Among the committee members was Professor Jennifer Leigh Disney, chair of the Department of Political Science, who said: “In the 2020 presidential election, the national student voting rate was 66 percent. Our 75 percent voter rate and 90 percent voter registration rate at Winthrop are incredible, and demonstrate why Winthrop is a special place.” 

Highlights of Winthrop’s voting turnout in 2020 included:

  • Winthrop had a 75 percent voting rate among students, up 17.8 percent from 2016 and nine points above the national average for college students voting in the U.S. The average voting rate for institutions similar to Winthrop in 2020 was 57 percent.

  • Winthrop had an 89.5 percent voter registration rate, up from 81.1 percent in 2016.

  • Winthrop improved in every major and minor category that was measured in 2020, including by racial group, age group (except the 50+ group), gender, education level and all majors.

In spring 2020, before COVID-19 required Winthrop to close its campus, the university hosted several presidential candidates and surrogates. Students also heard speakers in 2020 talk on the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement. In addition, art students painted a voting mural encompassing empowering messages for student voting and engagement, which remains on display between McLaurin Hall and Rutledge Building. 

Student Voting Ambassadors helped get out the vote by talking about registration and engagement efforts. 

For more information, please contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at longshawj@winthrop.edu or call 803/323-2236.

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Last Updated: 9/13/22