GW Student Voting Rates Leapt in 2018

GW rate exceeds a national movement of increased college student voter participation.

September 23, 2019


As part of National Voter Registration Day, GW Votes hosted voter registration tabling around campus to help GW students, staff and faculty register to vote. (Photo: Harrison Jones/GW Today)

By Tatyana Hopkins

Students at the George Washington University more than doubled their voting participation in the 2018 midterms compared to 2014, according to a recent study by Tufts University.

The study found that 46.8 percent of GW students voted in the 2018 midterm elections compared to 21.9 percent who voted in the 2014 midterms. The study also noted that the university’s 2018 voter rate exceeded the average participation rate among private research institutions, which was 42.5 percent.

GW’s increased voting participation is part of a national trend of college students across the United States, whose voting rates doubled between the two midterm elections years—the  sharpest rise in engagement among all demographic groups during that period.

GW Votes, a coalition of students, faculty and staff convened by the GW Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, hosted voter registration tabling around campus Tuesday as part of National Voter Registration Day.

“We are excited that GW students' voter participation increased so significantly between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections,” said Amy Cohen, executive director of the Nashman Center. “Our campus is so involved in politics and policy, public conversation, service and community-engaged scholarship, and it is great to see our community use the power of civic engagement at the polls.”

She said GW Votes will continue to hold events on campus and around the Washington, D.C., area to ensure that students, faculty and GW staff have the tools and opportunity to participate in the electoral process. 

Ms. Cohen suggested that the GW community use the online GW Votes tool to register to vote, check registration status, find out how to cast an absentee ballot and get a reminder of when to mail a ballot or vote.

“Absentee ballot deadlines vary across states, but it’s important to think about voting early,” she said.