With a student voting rate of nearly 75% for 2020, UCF outpaced the national average for voting engagement, according to a recent study from the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education. UCF’s new voting rate also marks a 13.5% increase from 2016, highlighting the university’s commitment to encourage increased civic action.
Across the nearly 1,200 campuses — including community colleges and public and private institutions — considered in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) the student voting rate average is 66% for 2020, marking a 13% increase nationally from 2016.
The study’s measure of voting rates considers the percentage of eligible voters who engaged in early voting, mail-in voting and those who voted on Election Day.
UCF’s new voting rate exceeded the university’s goal of 70%, according to Shane Juntunen, director for the Office of Student Involvement.
UCF also recently earned a Gold Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for nonpartisan student voter participation efforts in the 2020 Election. The challenge aims to promote a more engaged and inclusive democracy across colleges and universities.
“The Office of Student Involvement has been leading the university’s efforts in regards to voter registration and engagement and is a member of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and the Campus Vote Project,” says Juntunen. “The efforts have resulted in a huge success and [has been] only possible with the collaborate efforts of the Office of Student Involvement, Student Government, Governmental Relations an everyone else at UCF that contributed.”
The NSLVE report also found that 89% of UCF’s student body is registered to vote and 84% of those registered voters participated in the 2020 election. Nationally, about 80% of registered students voted in 2020.
In 2019, UCF was designated a voter-friendly campus by NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, because of its initiatives to register and encourage students to vote. Washington Monthly magazine also ranked UCF as the 20th Best Public College for Voting this year. In 2020, the magazine also listed UCF among 157 institutions for schools with best voting.
UCF’s voting precinct, Precinct 538, saw a 107.56% voter turnout in the 2020 election. The more than 100% turnout was achieved as 811 ballots were cast at the site by the end of Election Day, but 754 voters were registered in the district by Oct. 6, 2020 — the deadline for voter registration. There is no deadline in Florida for registered voters to update their address, allowing for on-campus residents to make changes up through Election Day and at UCF’s site. Ballots cast at UCF’s precinct, which is located in the Live Oak Center, also included early voting and mail-in voting.