Posted 2:31 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021
Voting at UW-La Crosse up in 2020
Nearly 68% of UW-La Crosse students voted in the 2020 presidential election. That’s up 3% from the 2016 election, according to the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education.
The IDHE study released last week found that 77.5% of UWL students registered to vote, while 87.6% of registered students voted. Those findings indicate that 67.9% of eligible UWL students voted on Election Day in 2020.
Early and absentee voting probably contributed to the higher turnout, says UWL Political Science Professor Tim Dale.
“Although the 3% increase from 2016 is not particularly significant, it does show that UWL is engaged and that the number remains steady,” he notes.
Dale says the higher turnout is also a reflection of the competitiveness of the past two presidential elections.
“People who vote understand that elections matter, and that their vote can make a difference,” he explains.
Voter turnout is usually lower in midterm elections, so Dale expects to see a drop off for 2022. But, he says, turnout will be determined by what happens in state and regional races.
“It will be interesting to see if 2024 holds the same turnout,” Dale says. “One of the big questions will be how college students remain engaged in such a politically charged atmosphere.”
Nationwide, the study’s authors reported record-breaking findings. On campuses across the country, students built on the momentum swing of 2018 and voted at high rates in the 2020 election, with voter turnout jumping to 66% in last year’s presidential election. The 14-percentage point increase, from 52% turnout in the 2016 election, outpaces that of all Americans, which jumped 6 percentage points from 61% to 67%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
IDHE’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE, pronounced n-solve) is the nation’s largest study of college and university student voting. Institutions must opt into the study. Nearly 1,200 campuses of all types—community colleges, research universities, minority-serving and women’s colleges, state universities, and private institutions — participate.
The dataset reflects all 50 states and the District of Columbia and includes 49 of the nation’s 50 flagship schools. IDHE uses de-identified student records to ensure student privacy. The 2020 dataset is robust with 8,880,700 voting-eligible students representing 1,051 colleges and universities.