Seventy-seven percent of Wesleyan students who were eligible voted in the 2020 presidential election, earning a Gold Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, an increase of 10 percent from the previous presidential election.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national, nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, which strives for a more inclusive democracy.
While civic participation is embedded in Wesleyan’s DNA, this level of turnout is due to a sustained voter registration effort, said Diana Martinez, Assistant Director, Jewett Center for Community Partnerships.
“We are always looking for ways to bring the students together,” Martinez said.
In addition to periodic voter registration drives (including efforts to help students register in their home states), student groups encouraged each other to get to the polls, and Martinez’s team made sure that same day voter registration was painless.
The act of voting for a student living on campus can be complicated, Martinez said. This past election, students were extremely conscious of where their vote would have the most impact – back in their hometowns or in Middletown itself. The question of whether it was appropriate to vote in Middletown at all came up for students – are they just visitors in this community or are they full-fledged participants?