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Data Brief: Out-of State College Students and Voting

cover of data brief on out of state voting

Between 18 and 20 million people attend U.S. colleges and universities annually. Around 80% of them attend an in-state intuition, but a significant number relocate out of state. These mobile students have the legal option of voting from their campus address or from their former, pre-college address. In this data brief, we examine patterns of where out-of-state students choose to vote.

Where students choose to vote matters for their electoral participation. As this brief illustrates, there are large turnout gaps between out-of-state students who register to vote in their campus state versus at their pre-college address. Out-of- state students may face confusing or inconvenient rules for voting from a distance. Understanding who is disenfranchised by confusing or suppressive voting rules can lead to effective policy changes to lower barriers to voting.