2020 student voting rate 71.8 percent in 2020 • Up 8.7 percent from 63.1 percent in 2016
Inver Hills Community College has been recognized as a 2021 ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge Award Winner. The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge honors higher education institutions, educators, and students who increased student voter engagement during the 2020 elections. According to ALL IN, the 2020 presidential election engaged the largest and most diverse group of college students in U.S. history.
ALL IN recognized Inver Hills with a 2021 Gold Seal Campus Award for a 2020 student voting rate of 71. 8 percent, which represents an 8.7 percent increase from a rate of 63.1 percent in 2016. More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participated in the ALL IN Challenge.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is hosting the third biennial ALL IN Awards Ceremony, November 8–10, 2021, 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.
Shannon Williams, Inver Hills community-based learning coordinator, attended the virtual Main ALL IN Awards Ceremony Monday, November 8. Shannon reported that Inver Hills received a Best in Class Award for having the highest voting rate for all 185 community colleges in the country that participated in the ALL IN Challenge.
“I am so proud of our student team that worked hard to register their peers to vote and inform them of the voting process,” Shannon said. “Because of their work, Inver Hills was recognized with an award for the highest student voter turnout rate for community colleges nationwide. This award would not be possible without the passion and dedication of so many civic engagement champions at Inver Hills.”
“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.”
Kari Rusch-Curl, Inver Hills dean of student success and retention, was elated to learn about the large upswing in student voter participation as well as the ALL IN Gold Seal Campus and Best in Class awards.
“I am so excited and very proud of our students for engaging in the voting process, and I’m grateful to Shannon Williams for leading the initiatives related to voter education, registration, engagement, and turnout,” Kari said. “Shannon’s creative programming and efforts to reach students are to be commended!”
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.
Nationwide, the study’s authors report a record-breaking set of findings. On campuses across the country, students built on the momentum swing of 2018 and voted at high rates in the 2020 election, with voter turnout jumping to 66 percent in last year’s presidential election. The 14 percentage point increase, from 52 percent turnout in the 2016 election, outpaces that of all Americans, which jumped 6 percentage points from 61 percent to 67 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“That students, often younger and first-time voters, turned out at rates commensurate with the general public is nothing short of stunning,” said IDHE Director Nancy Thomas. “We attribute this high level of participation to many factors, including student activism on issues such as racial injustice, global climate change and voter suppression, as well as increased efforts by educators to reach students and connect them to the issues and to voting resources.”
The NSLVE Campus Report detailed how Inver Hills showed a marked improvement between 2016 and 2020 in student voter registration rate (74.5 percent vs 82.7 percent), voting rate of registered students (84.8 percent vs 86. 9 percent), and student voting rate (63.1 percent vs 71.8 percent).
“One of our values as a college is community engagement,” said Michael Berndt, Inver Hills president. “Voting is a powerful expression of that engagement because we are taking responsibility for the community’s direction.”
About the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge…
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge (ALL IN) is a national, nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organization. ALL IN strives for a more inclusive democracy—one in which all voices are heard. We believe that higher education plays a role in graduating students into voters and in closing electoral participation gaps that persist by race and age.
Through an intentionally designed program—which provides structure, support, and recognition—ALL IN strengthens college and university efforts to improve civic learning, political engagement, and voter participation. Ensuring that students are registered to vote and participate in all elections is a key component of our work.
About the IDHE…
The Institute for Democracy in Higher Education (IDHE) National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE, pronounced n-solve) is the nation’s largest study of college and university student voting. Institutions must opt-in to the study, and at this time, nearly 1,200 campuses of all types—community colleges, research universities, minority-serving and women’s colleges, state universities, and private institutions—participate.
The dataset reflects all 50 states and the District of Columbia and includes 49 of the nation’s 50 flagship schools. IDHE uses de-identified student records to ensure student privacy. The 2020 dataset is robust with 8,880,700 voting-eligible students representing 1,051 colleges and universities.
Learn more about get-out-the-vote efforts at Inver Hills by contacting:
Community-Based Learning Coordinator
Inver Hills Community College