November 16, 2021

Wayne State student voting rate above national average

Wayne State students pose for a photo at the polling station on campus.
Wayne State students pose for a photo at the polling station on campus.

Wayne State University students made sure their voices were heard in the 2020 presidential election, as the university had a voting rate of 73.5% — more than 7% above the national average.

It was an increase of 12.5% from 2016, as 16,840 students voted in the 2020 election, compared to 13,056 in 2016. 

Wayne State’s voting rate report comes from the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), creators of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE.

"I am so proud of our students for their exemplary civic engagement,” Dean of Students David Strauss said. “Our students care so much about their communities, and this recognition demonstrates this commitment.”

Wayne State used a number of initiatives to encourage students to get out and vote. Election Day was declared a university-wide holiday in 2020 and the first-ever on-campus polling location, Detroit Precinct 149, opened in February of 2020 in the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at the Wayne State Law School to make voting more convenient for Detroiters, including students living on campus. 

Wayne State also featured a number of student-led efforts, including the “Warriors Vote” campaign, which is part of the national Campus Vote Project (CVP) that works to reduce barriers to student voting. 

The"Warriors Vote” campaign included the development and launch of Motivote, a one-stop shop for election-related resources. 

“I think the voting numbers show our student body is passionate and informed,” said Wayne State Student Senate President Sailor Mayes. “Our student body showed that they care in a very important election in 2020.”

Earlier this year, Wayne State was named a “Voter Friendly Campus” by CVP and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Wayne State also earned the Gold Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for its participation efforts in the 2020 election.

Wayne State had a registration rate of 90% in 2020, and 82% of registered students voted. 

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