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Voting at CSUF Up 32.6 Percent, According to National Survey

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Cal State Fullerton’s overall voting rate increased 32.6 percent from 2014 to 2018 — 8.4 percent more than the average institutional voting rate — according to a new report released by the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement.

The report, conducted by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, analyzed 2018 voter turnout among more than 10 million students at 1,031 colleges and universities across the U.S.

Highlights from CSUF’s individual report include:

  • 28,196 students registered to vote in 2018, an increase of 4,988 students from 2014 (23,208).
  • 17,432 students voted in 2018, an increase of 11,924 students from 2014 (5,508).
  • Cal State Fullerton’s overall voting rate in 2018 was 47.5 percent, a 32.6 percent increase from 2014 and 8.4 percent more than the voting rate for all institutions (39.1 percent).
  • 56.2 percent of students voted by mail in 2018, while 43.5 percent voted in person on election day.

Political science major Meghan Waymire — who served as the 2018-19 Associated Students Inc. chief governmental officer and is spending this semester in Washington, D.C., as part of the Panetta Institute Congressional Internships Program — believes many factors contributed to the increase in voter registration and turnout on campus.

“There are many layers as to why we’re seeing a spike in student voter data, including students and young people demanding more accountability of the executive branch and the extreme partisanship in Congress that leads to inefficiency and a lack of collaboration,” she explained.

“At CSUF, we adopted the belief that ensuring students are empowered in the political process isn’t the duty of one department. I believe that Titans turned out because of the cross-campus, collaborative efforts to boost voter registration, education and engagement.”

Campuswide efforts during the 2018 midterm election also garnered CSUF a statewide Ballot Bowl award for the California State University campus with the largest number of students registered.

Tori Shea Hust, 2019-20 ASI chief governmental officer, hopes to build on the momentum by organizing debate watch parties, lobby visits and political resource fairs for the 2020 election.

“I look forward to educating students on the history and importance of voting, as well as the Census, through collaborative events with on-campus organizations and high profile speakers,” said Hust.

Since his arrival on campus in January 2018, CSUF President Fram Virjee has been committed to ramping up the university’s civic engagement efforts.

“I will never forget popping my head out of the Titan Student Union on Nov. 6, 2018, to find our polling place surrounded by students — voter books in their hands, hearts on their sleeves and democracy at their fingertips,” said Virjee. “Several of them shared with me that it was their first time voting despite being old enough to have participated in several elections. That is when I knew our campuswide goal to boost registration and informed voting had come to fruition, and that CSUF was fast-becoming a national leader in empowering student participation in our democracy.” 

For more information, contact the Office of Government and Community Relations at 657-278-4730.