Student turnout at UCLA increased by more than 300% between 2014 and 2018, according to a report by The National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE). NSLVE is a project of the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.

In attendance were Arielle Romm, volunteer with the New Voters Project, Douglas Barrera, Associate Director of the Center for Community Learning, Mark Peterson, Professor of Public Policy, Political Science and Law, and Emma Barudi, a representative of the External Vice President and UCLA Vote Coalition BruinsVote.

“When students know when and how to vote, they turn out to the polls,” said Sithara Menon, third year, New Voters Project Coordinator in 2018 and chapter chair of CALPIRG Students. “That’s why we worked to make sure that every student on campus had the opportunity to register to vote and knew how to vote come election day.”

CALPIRG Students helped 6,000 students register to vote in 2018 and made more than half a million text, phone, and face-to-face reminders to help students find their polling place and turn out to the polls.

“We believe that the full participation of young people in the political process is pivotal to a truly representative democracy,” said Arielle Romm, first year volunteer with the New Voters Project. “It’s our future, so let’s vote on it.”

Nationally, the Institute of Democracy and Higher Education found that college and university

student turnout more than doubled between 2014 and 2018 with 40% of eligible students voting

versus 19% in 2014. The percentage increase in turnout on colleges and universities across the country was significantly higher than the turnout for all Americans.

“Among UC campuses, UCLA has been and plans to continue to be the leader in promoting student voter registration and voting,” said Karen Hedges, Deputy Director of Campus Life. “UCLA’s BruinsVote Coalition and CALPIRG worked with staff to lead efforts to make voting easier on campus through convenient online voter registration and a centralized polling location on campus. It is partnerships like these, between staff, students, and faculty, which lead to increased voter registration and voter turnout. We will continue this upward trajectory into the 2020 election season!”

Student leaders are working with the broad vote coalition on campus, BruinsVote, to build off of their 2018 work. Campus and community members interested in joining the BruinsVote Coalition should contact Elisa Chang at elisachang2@gmail.com.

“Presidential elections have historically had higher turnouts than the midterms,” said Elisa Chang, New Voters Project Coordinator, “The student turnout in 2020 is going to be huge and we need to make sure that our schools are ready.”

Submitted by Elisa Chang, New Voters Project Coordinator

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