William & Mary Wins Award for Voter Registration

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William & Mary has been recognized for high voter registration and participation for the 2020 Election (Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels)

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary (W&M) was recently honored with awards in recognition of student voter participation in the 2020 election cycle.

The nonpartisan ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awarded the school with the Platinum Seal for excellence in student voter engagement with a campus-wide voting rate of 82.4 percent in 2020. W&M joins only forty-seven other college campuses nationwide to receive this honor out of the 495 seals presented. Additionally, it was the only school in the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive the Platinum Seal.

According to a Nov. 9 report issued by W&M, the school’s voting rate was significantly higher in 2020 versus 2016, where 58.9 percent of eligible voters on campus participated. The school attributes this increase to the formation of the Voter Engagement Action Committee by the school’s Office of Community Engagement. . The report states that the committee is comprised of students, faculty as well as local residents who work together to provide nonpartisan tools and information for the campus community to encourage civic engagement.

“Such recognitions are a tribute to William & Mary’s history and culture being a university that promotes leadership and civic engagement,” said Associated Director of the W&M Office of Community Engagement Rich Thompson.

W&M was also recognized through the Virginia Campus Voting Challenge for having the highest voter turnout rate and for tying with James Madison University for having the highest voter registration rate. W&M was measured up against other four-year institutions across the Commonwealth.

The awards are based on data gathered as part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement; a research study which is performed by the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education through Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University.

The ALL IN challenge reports a 66 percent voting rate in 2020, which is up from 53 percent in 2016.

“The rise in voter participation and engagement for college students in last year’s presidential election was record-setting and will undoubtedly be tied to the efforts of the dedicated students, faculty, administrator[s], and partner organizations that are part of the ALL IN Challenge network,” said Executive Director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Jen Domagal-Goldman.

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