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Three colleges tied for the highest overall undergraduate voting rate in the 2020 elections: College of the Atlantic, the University of Puget Sound and Bowdoin College, according to ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a nonpartisan student voting organization. Denison University had the highest overall voter registration rate, and St. Olaf College the highest overall voting rate, which includes graduate students. North Carolina A&T State University was the HBCU with the highest voter registration rate and Spelman College scored the highest voting rate among historically Black colleges and universities. The full list of winners can be found here.
ALL IN, which announced the winners at its biannual awards ceremony Monday, also recognized more than 30 individuals and 50 institutions that increased democratic engagement on their campuses. Jen Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, said the awards serve as a motivators for institutions to amp up their student voting efforts through efforts such as registering students to vote at orientation.
"Part of what we're seeing is this emphasis on making sure that all eligible students are getting the opportunity to register to vote and really leaning into the idea that that can't just be done in an ad hoc basis around tabling or, you know, one-off email to students, but instead needs to be built into what we kind of call institutional processes," Domagal-Goldman said. (This paragraph has been updated to correct the quote.)
The awards come as student voting soared to an all-time high of 66 percent in the 2020 presidential election, the latest study from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education found. ALL IN used those data in identifying its winners.
“Congratulations to the outstanding ALL IN award winners for their efforts to make voter participation and civic engagement critical elements of their campus cultures,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at the awards ceremony. “It’s up to all of us to develop a generation of students who understand the difference that they can make when they exercise their right to vote and raise their voices in national and local elections. Democracy doesn’t simply happen. It is cultivated by each of us every day. I am proud of the more than 800 higher education institutions that stepped up to support student engagement in our democratic society.”