University of Michigan: Student voter turnout tripled in 2018

More than 15,800 students voted in 2018 midterms

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

U-M student Josiah Walker and a fellow student volunteer at the Party at the Polls event outside Rackham Auditorium on Nov. 6, 2018 (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR - Voter turnout is on the rise at the University of Michigan.

The school announced that student voters tripled in the 2018 midterm elections, compared with 2014.

More than 15,800 students voted in 2018, compared with 5,282 in 2014, spiking U-M's student voting rate to 41%. The number tripled the school's previous 14% voting rate, according to data released by the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement at Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

Colleges nationwide have seen a jump in student voter turnout, from 19% to 40% overall. This puts U-M at a higher rate than the national average.

"The increase is significant, especially when you take into account the reality that the state of Michigan had among the most restrictive youth voter laws in the country during the 2018 election cycle," Mary Jo Callan, director of U-M's Ginsberg Center said in a statement.

In recent years, the state of Michigan changed some of its voting laws to make it easier for students to cast their votes, including no-reason absentee voting and same-day voter registration.

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In 2017, the Ginsberg Center launched the Big Ten Voting Challenge. The nonpartisan project aimed to increase voter registration and turnout on all 14 Big Ten Conference campuses.

Later this month, the results from the challenge will be released and the center will award the college campus with the greatest turnout growth from 2014 to 2018 as well as the greatest overall turnout in 2018.

Upon launching, presidents from each Big Ten school pledged $10,000 to promote student public engagement on their respective campuses.

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