A recent study, “Getting Registered and Getting to the Polls” examines the impact of on-campus voter registration efforts on college student turnout.

Although many schools frequently host on-campus registration drives, their success is generally evaluated solely on the number of forms collected. However, this study focuses on what happens after students register.

The authors explore whether or not students who register through an on-campus voter registration drive actually turn out to vote, and if providing basic information about the voting process to those students increases turnout.

By comparing the turnout rate of students who registered through the on-campus drives with the turnout rate of similar young people, the study found that students who registered on-campus turned out at a higher rate than young people nationwide.

And while it is important to analyze and improve on-campus registration strategies, we must also look at new and innovative ways to engage non-college youth in the political process. This includes registering eligible high school students and looking to expand pre-registration opportunities for 16 and 17-year-olds.

Because it has become difficult to reach many individuals at home, other voter mobilization efforts are increasingly important. Nonprofits and other community-based organizations are well-positioned to reach younger community members and to make the case for the importance of civic participation. By encouraging young people to register and to vote, we can increase the likelihood that they participate in both upcoming and future elections. Get started today!

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