Kalamazoo College Student Voter Turnout and How to Increase Student Political Engagement
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This research project investigates the best way for Kalamazoo College to increase its student voter turnout rate. Kalamazoo College students voted at their highest levels in the 2018 Midterm and 2020 Presidential Elections since the National Study for Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) began tracking student turnout rates in 2012. Since young people tend to vote at lower rates than older people, it is important for colleges and universities to motivate students to vote to increase their engagement and representation in US political systems. This study aims to find out how the best ways to promote voting among K students. To test the hypothesis that K Votes has increased student turnout among K Students, NSLVE data was analyzed, and K was compared to similar institutions and geographical locations. Voter mobilization literature was reviewed, and 18 K students were interviewed about what they think are the best ways for students to develop their political identities and vote. The results indicate that voter mobilization efforts by K Votes have had a positive impact on the student turnout rate, since K Votes targets first years through First Year Forums and voter registration drives. Importantly, K Votes must improve outreach efforts to Asian, Black, and Hispanic students and inform all students on how to vote while they are on study abroad.
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