Simpson College recently reported that student voting on its campus increased 15.7 percent in last year’s election and is more than 11 percentage points higher than the national average.
The Simpson student body voted at a rate of 50.2 percent during the 2018 midterm election, up from 34.5 percent during the 2014 midterms. While voting rates among college students rose nationally, Simpson's turnout was significantly higher than the national average of 39.1 percent.
The full campus report can be viewed here.
Through its nonpartisan John C. Culver Public Policy Center, Simpson College supports and encourages student voter engagement and civic participation. Teams of undergraduate Culver Fellows supported by the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program and the Campus Election Engagement Project conduct nonpartisan voter registration drives and sponsor educational programs designed to boost student voter turnout and engagement in the democratic process.
“Thanks to the hard work of our student ambassadors and a robust institutional commitment to engaged citizenship, Simpson College achieved a tremendous increase in student voter turnout in the 2018 midterm election,” remarked Seth Andersen, Director of the Culver Public Policy Center. “I applaud Simpson students for voting in such great numbers last year and challenge them to continue to raise the bar by setting a new voter turnout record in 2020.”
The report is part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. The study shows that nationwide, the voting rates at participating college campuses doubled on average compared to the previous 2014 midterm. In 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate (AIVR) among campuses in the study was 39.1 percent, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of 19.7 percent. Turnout increases were widespread, with virtually all campuses seeing an increase over 2014.
The NSLVE report is conducted by IDHE, which is the only national study of college-student voting. It is based on the voting records of more than 10 million students at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; IDHE does not receive any information that could individually identify students or how they voted. The study provides reports to participating colleges and universities, like Simpson College, which use them to support political learning and civic engagement, as well as to identify and address gaps in political and civic participation.
Part of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) is an applied research center focused on college and university student political learning and engagement in democracy. IDHE researchers study student voting, equity, campus conditions for student political learning, discourse, participation, and agency for underrepresented and marginalized students. IDHE's signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, (https://idhe.tufts.edu/nslve) is a service to colleges and universities that provides participating institutions with tailored reports of their students' voting rates. Launched in 2013 with 250 campuses, the study now serves more than 1,000 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Simpson College established the John C. Culver Public Policy Center in 2010 to honor the service of John C. Culver, who served the people of Iowa for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Following his death in December 2018, Simpson College established a memorial fund to advance Senator Culver’s legacy of public service. Simpson College strives to honor the example of John C. Culver by inspiring young people to pursue careers in public service with integrity and moral courage. The Center’s nonpartisan programs seek to educate and inspire young people to actively participate in our democracy and encourage them to consider public service as their life’s work.
For more information, please visit simpson.edu/culver-center.