Winthrop Student Voter Turnout Last Fall Higher Than National Average
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Winthrop Student Voter Turnout Last Fall Higher Than National Average

November 03, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Called the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) through Tufts University, the study results showed that Winthrop student voter turnout of 58.1 percent surpassed the national average for college students by 7.7 percent.
  • The national average for all 18-24 year olds was 43 percent.

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – A university initiative to encourage more Winthrop students to vote in last year’s presidential election worked. Winthrop student voter turnout was up nearly 5 percent from 2012, according to a national study.
Called the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE) through Tufts University, the study results showed that Winthrop student voter turnout of 58.1 percent surpassed the national average for college students by 7.7 percent. 
“We are quite pleased with the Winthrop campus results which exceeded our expectations,” said Karen Kedrowski, political science professor and executive director of the university’s new Center for Civic Learning. “Student voter turnout was up across all ages and almost all majors and racial/ethnic groups.” 
Winthrop has participated in the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement projectsince 2012 and is among more than 1,000 institutions to participate. NSLVE researchers match student enrollment data with each state’s voting records.
The national average for all 18-24 year olds was 43 percent.
Among majors at Winthrop, students in the history, liberal arts and social sciences reported the highest rates of voting. History, visual and performing arts, and English saw the greatest increases in voter turnout. Students in philosophy & religious studies and natural resources & conservation saw small declines. 
Winthrop faculty, staff and students teamed together to encourage participation in the November election through the Winthrop Decision 2016 initiative. Their efforts resulted in Winthrop being designated as a Voter Friendly Campus, one of only two in the state and 83 in the nation.
And more recently, Winthrop’s student voter turnout rate earned a Bronze Shield from the All In Campus Democracy Challenge. “This is the second national recognition Winthrop received for its 2016 student voter registration, education, and turn out efforts,” said Kedrowski, who noted that Bronze Award recipients had between 50-59 percent student turnout. 
Kedrowski said Winthrop can use the 2016 voter results to help set goals for 2018 and 2020 elections. She expects the university will continue participation with the Voter Friendly Campus Initiative and the All In Campus Democracy Challenge.
More details about the Winthrop report are available on the West Forum web site here. 
For more information, contact Kedrowski at kedrowskik@winthrop.edu or at 803/323-2217.

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Last Updated: 2/18/20