Huskers improved voting participation between 2016 and 2020 elections

· 3 min read

Huskers improved voting participation between 2016 and 2020 elections

Voter registration among students increased to 92%
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Grace Carey, a freshman from Bellevue, Nebraska, votes in her first election Nov. 3, 2020.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was recognized as a national leader in promoting civic engagement among college students at a national awards ceremony.

The university received the following awards at the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Award Ceremony on Nov. 8, 2021. More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participate in the ALL IN Challenge, which recognizes colleges and universities for their commitment to promoting political engagement on campus.

Recognitions received by UNL:

T.J. McDowell, assistant vice chancellor for Student Affairs, served on the Husker Vote Coalition committee in 2020 and was pleased with our campus’s efforts to increase voting among students.

“Voting is one of our most sacred rights as citizens in a democracy, and through participating in the All in Campus Challenge we encourage students to use their voices in the electoral process,” said McDowell. “We should all be proud that UNL earned the Gold Seal recognition in the All IN Challenge.”

The awards are based on 2020 data from the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement (NSLVE), a project of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, which tracks voter registration and participation rates at more than a thousand colleges and universities throughout the country.

Highlights from the data:

  • 92% of UNL students (18,992) were registered to vote in 2020.

  • 74.3% of UNL students (15,395) cast ballots in 2020, compared to a 66 percent average across all institutions.

  • Overall, UNL saw an increase in student registration and voting compared to the 2016 election cycle, when 87% of UNL students were registered to vote and 60% casted ballots.

Andrew Brown, assistant director of community engagement within Student Leadership, Involvement, & Community Engagement, attributes the university’s high level of civic participation to a series of initiatives launched through the Huskers Vote Coalition.

“We’ve worked with colleagues across campus — students, faculty, staff, administrators and community partners — to try to make responsible civic engagement a cultural norm at UNL,” Brown said. “The fact that our student voter turnout increased between 2016 and 2020 at a rate higher than 14 percent shows that our Huskers Vote Coalition helped students develop as thoughtful and engaged citizens.”

Coalition efforts included hosting registration stations throughout the semester.

Cameron Collier, a senior political science major and 2020 Husker Vote Coalition committee member, worked at the registration stations to help ensure students on- and off-campus were prepared for the 2020 election.

“The students working the booths were handing out information regarding important deadlines and how to request a mail-in ballots,” Collier stated. “Democratic engagement is an important element of being a Husker, and the coalition allows us to work together to promote students’ understanding of and involvement with the democratic process.”

The coalition maintains a presence on campus throughout the year, hosting activities to build awareness and enthusiasm about voter participation. To learn about how you can become a member of the Huskers Vote Coalition Committee reach out to

Click here to review the full report data, including a breakdown by colleges and majors.

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