The number of Towson University students voting in midterm elections has doubled in the past four years.
In 2018, midterm voter turnout reached a modern high. And according to the Pew Research Center, for the first time in history, younger generations (Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X) accounted for the majority of voters.
Towson University’s student population did its part in shifting the majority. According to the National Study of Learning, Voting and Environment (NSLVE), 42.2% of TU students voted in the 2018 midterm elections.
NSLVE is a free and voluntary resource for over 1,000 campuses, including Towson University, that objectively examines student and institution-level data on student voting.
According to the NSLVE, TU’s student voting rate was above the voting rate for all institutions (39.1%), and doubled in growth from the 2014 midterm election (20.7%). Towson University also has 85.6% of its student population registered to vote through events like those that happen on National Voter Registration Day, which falls on September 24 this year.
“It was exciting to see students being part of democratic process by helping students register to vote, participating in dialogues around the issues and standing in line in the Union for hours to cast their vote,” says Christopher Jensen, director of Towson University's Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility.
For the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, turning registered students into informed voters is the endgame. And despite young people increasingly becoming the largest population eligible to vote, older populations continue to turn out to the ballots in large percentages, especially during midterm and local elections.
This is why TU’s staff feel it’s incredibly important to help close the gap that exists between those who are registered, and those who actually turn out to vote.
“As we get closer to the 2020 election season, the latest NSLVE report not only serves as a great resource and motivator, but it also reminds us that the work is far from over to continue institutionalizing democratic engagement at Towson University,” says Luis Sierra, assistant director for Civic Engagement.
“We look forward to the months ahead, as we strive to empower and support all our students, faculty and staff to exercise their invaluable right to vote.”
The Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, along with other organizations around campus, have provided several different events and programs to promote voter registration.
In addition, student leadership has been at the core of the TU Votes movement, starting with TU’s Vote Everywhere Ambassadors, Sophie Bertrand & Jonathan Townes.
Towson University is proud to be one of the campuses in partnership with the Andrew Goodman Foundation, which provides training, resources and connections to ambassadors across the country, so that they can lead the way in mobilizing student voters across their campuses.
TU’s Vote Everywhere ambassadors also help to coordinate every voter registration drive. They also work with various student organizations and campus units and provide them with information and resources.
“Through the TU Votes initiative, Towson University is showing its commitment to preparing graduates who will serve as effective, ethical leaders and engaged citizens,” Jensen says. “From classroom discussions to student organizations meetings, and everything in between, the TU community continues to show that civic engagement is at the core of who we are.”
Getting to registered to vote on Towson University’s campus is as easy as ever. Students can be a part of the TU Votes Initiative in several ways:
This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.