National Initiative Aims to Set Record Voter Turnout at Colleges and Universities

May 23, 2008


May 23, 2008

CONTACT: Tony Pals,
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Libby May,
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National Initiative Aims to Set Record Voter Turnout at Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON, May 23 -- From the Iowa caucuses through Tuesday night's primaries in Oregon and Kentucky, the student vote has been an integral part of this primary season. To help ensure that students stay engaged through the general election, the National Campus Voter Registration Project has launched a nonpartisan, nationwide campaign to register college students, educate students about the issues and candidates, and motivate students to go to the polls on Election Day. The National Campus Voter Registration Project, is a joint effort of 50 national higher education associations that provides resources to the nation's 3,700 colleges and universities to aid campus efforts for the 2008 election.

Throughout the primaries, polls have shown record levels of engagement among the nation's youth, especially with college students, who have taken on active roles in the 2008 primary season. Research by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Education (CIRCLE) found that 79 percent of the youth voting, ages 18- 29, in the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries on February 5 had attended college. Never have the voter education and registration activities on America's campuses been more central and influential in a national election than they are shaping up to be in 2008.

The nonpartisan National Campus Voter Project has launched the Your Vote, Your Voice web site, The site includes state-by-state details on voter registration, voter education and participation activities, and a wealth of timely and useful information. The campaign is targeted to provide information to campus organizers.

The project is co-chaired by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

"In the last two presidential elections, students saw the difference that each individual vote can make," said NAICU President David L. Warren. "Civic awareness and voter engagement is on the rise on campuses across the country. If the momentum continues through the party conventions and into the fall, the student vote will not only hit a record high but it could determine our next president."

"Traditionally America's colleges and universities have been deeply committed to preparing our students for citizenship and now this commitment is being matched by the enthusiasm and importance today's college students bring to participating in the civic life of America," said AASCU President Constantine Curris.

"If our democracy is to be sustained and strengthened, we must continue to educate students about their rights and responsibilities as citizens and to foster their engagement in the electoral process," Curris said.

"Fostering civic engagement among college students and preparing them for lives of active civic leadership is a basic responsibility of the nation's colleges and universities," said CIC President Richard Ekman. "Research provides ample evidence that youth who attend college are more likely to vote; to work full-time for or contribute financially to nonprofits; and to be involved in community service and volunteer activities.

"This voter registration project further instills in our students a commitment to the democratic process - which ultimately contributes to the betterment of society," Ekman said.

The National Campus Voter Registration Project is partially funded by the American Academic Leadership Institute. A complete list of the participating 50 national higher education associations can be found at


NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. Since 1976, the association has represented private colleges and universities on policy issues with the federal government, such as those affecting student aid, taxation, and government regulation. With nearly 1,000 member institutions and associations, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. NAICU members enroll 85 percent of all students attending private institutions. They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, comprehensive universities, church-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, and two-year colleges.

AASCU is the leadership association of 430 public colleges and universities Delivering America's Promise through their common commitments to access, affordability and educational opportunity. Enrolling more than 3 million students annually throughout the U.S. and its territories, these institutions fulfill the expectations of a public university by working for the public good through education, stewardship and engagement, thereby improving the lives of people in their community, their region and their state.

CIC is an association of more than 580 independent liberal arts colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that work together to strengthen college and university leadership, sustain high-quality education, and enhance private higher education's contributions to society. To fulfill this mission, CIC provides its members with skills, tools, and knowledge that address aspects of leadership, financial management and performance, academic quality, and institutional visibility. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

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