Tufts Releases Student Voting Data

The data will allow us to measure progress as we work to increase student voting rates this November and beyond.
a presidential election data graph

Tufts University has always been committed to fulfilling higher education’s mission to prepare students to participate in civic life and in democracy. While that public engagement can take many forms, in election years like this one, the University is especially focused on that fundamental civic act: voting.

To that end, Tufts launched JumboVote 2016, a university-wide effort to improve political education and engagement on all three campuses, spearheaded by Tisch College with support from the Office of the Provost and representation at all schools and university departments. Jumbo Vote aims to increase student voting rates this November and beyond, creating a sustained culture of political participation on the Tufts campuses. Now, Tufts has released the data that will serve as a benchmark for measuring that goal: the voting and registration rates for all enrolled students in the 2012 and 2014 elections.

More than half (51.2%) of Tufts University students voted in the 2012 presidential election, and just under one fifth of students voted in the most recent midterms, when participation is historically much lower.

The data comes from the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), an initiative of Tisch College’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education. The first and only study to objectively examine student and institution-level data on student voting—and to share these data with participating campuses—NSLVE’s database includes more than 7 million student records at more than 825 colleges and universities.

NSLVE allows us to compare voting rates among similar institutions. Tufts’ 2012 voting rate of 51.2% is higher than the average for all institutions in the study (46.9%) and for all private research universities in the study (47.1%). The Jumbos’ 2014 voting rate (18.5%) is also slightly higher than that of similar institutions (18.4%).

“We’re excited to share this data which will allow us to concretely measure political participation at the University, and we hope that it serves as extra motivation for Tufts students to get registered and vote this November,” says Diane Alexander, A16, Tisch College’s JumboVote 2016 coordinator. “We have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident that our outreach and education efforts though JumboVote, and the historic nature of this presidential election, will mean we see a lot more members of the Tufts community at the polls.”