The 2022 midterm elections aren’t far off, and Eastern Washington University is hoping students will continue their trend of enthusiastic participation in the voting process.
A recent report from the Institute for Democracy and Higher education (IDHE) at Tufts University shows the participation rate of Eastern students continues to be higher than the national average for both public and private institutions.
“Our data shows a steady increase in EWU student registration and participation rates from 2014 to 2018 to 2020,” says Rob Sauders, vice president for Student Affairs at EWU.
Sauders notes that EWU received a Gold Seal award from the IDHE for the 2020 election with a 79 percent participation rate.
The award came not long after EWU began participating in the National Study of Learning, Voting & Engagement (NSLVE) through IDHE. Through NSLVE, Eastern receives reports on student involvement after each presidential and midterm election, specifically in terms of voter registration and participation rates. This is the first report EWU has received since partnering with the program. The report not only contained voting data from 2014, 2018 and 2020, but it includes data across categories such as field of study, age and sex.
“My takeaway is that our students are increasingly involved in civic life and the democratic process, which, hopefully, we can build upon to increase student involvement on campus,” says Sauders. He adds that if EWU’s participation rate was just one percent higher in 2020, the university would have received a Platinum Seal award — which is the goal for 2022.
Sauders says Samantha Armstrong-Ash, dean of students, Nick Franco, associate vice president, student equity, belonging, and voice, Chris Hoppe, director of student engagement and recreation, and Jake Morrison in Institutional Research were instrumental in the success of the initiative.