University of Connecticut students voted in the 2018 midterm elections at a 44% turnout, slightly higher than the national average for college students.
According to recent studies from Rutgers University and the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), over 7.5 million or 40 %, of college-aged students voted in the midterms, four percentage points below where NSLVE showed UConn voter turnout.
On Tuesday, National Voter Registration Day, UConn’s chapter of the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) opened a booth for students wishing to register to vote.
One of the student coordinators of the program, Daniella Chuka, was happy about the large turnout, which she attracted through a campaign of awareness about the event spanning from Twitter to the Hartford Courant.
“Over the past four years, we’ve seen almost 3,500 more students register, and the voting rate increasing by 24%,” Chuka said. “We are hoping to get a large increase in UConn voters due to the upcoming Mansfield election.”
ConnPIRG was able to gather dozens of registration forms within an hour of opening at 11 a.m., and a small crowd of students gathered to wait to sign up as well. “I registered to vote!” stickers were handed out to students who registered themselves at the booth.
Victor Htut, the tactical coordinator for the Student Voting Project, said much more should be done to sway the large population of non-voters, which he attributed to unclear directions on how to vote once registered.
“I think we still have a way to go before we reach 50%,” Htut said. “I think people can be intimidated by the actual voting process, or where to cast their ballot. It is important that you not only register, but use your vote to make your voice heard.”
ConnPIRG can provide students with more information to vote in the upcoming Mansfield elections, 2020 primaries and, next year, the presidential election. (studentvote.org)
Samuel Katz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at [email protected].