The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge recently hosted its third biennial awards ceremony to recognize select higher education institutions, educators, and students for their extraordinary work in student voter engagement during the 2020 presidential election.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and most students learning virtually, the honorees ensured students across the country could cast their ballots.
The 2020 presidential election engaged the largest and most diverse group of college students in U.S. history. UNC Asheville received the 2021 Platinum Seal – an accolade bestowed upon institutions that achieved a voting rate between 80-90% of eligible students who voted on Election Day. More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participate in the ALL IN Challenge.
“We were able to accomplish this progress through a lot of hard work and an amazing partnership between Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, outside organizations, and, most importantly, our students,” says Ashley Moraguez, associate professor of political science at UNC Asheville. “Every year, large swaths of our student body (encouraged by student organizations like the Political Science Club and SGA) volunteer at voter registration drives on campus, organize transportation to help the campus community to get to the polls, host ballot information sessions, and bring awareness to important races and issues. Our student body is incredibly engaged, and they deserve the credit for this accolade!”
The 2020 election cycle saw unprecedented voter registration and turnout among college students according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), a research study of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education (IDHE) at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. IDHE reported that 66 percent of college students voted in the 2020 election, a 14 point increase from 2016. Data provided by IDHE shows UNC Asheville’s voting rate increased by 18.1% to 81.2% in 2020.
“The rise in voter participation and engagement for college students in last year’s presidential election amidst a global pandemic was tremendous and will undoubtedly be tied to the tireless efforts of the dedicated students, faculty, administrators, and partner organizations that are part of the ALL IN Challenge network,” said Jen Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “The hard work of these trailblazing honorees will help support many of the country’s future leaders in fulfilling the equitable, engaged vision of democracy to which we aspire.”
For more information, visit https://vote.unca.edu/.
Prepared by UNC Asheville.