Miami University is one of the best places of higher education for student voting, according to a recent survey of hundreds of colleges and universities.
Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based political magazine, measured 1,488 colleges and universities against four areas “of a college’s commitment to encouraging voting by its students.” That criteria includes:
• signed up for or participated in Tufts University’s National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE);
• signed up for the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, which uses NSLVE data to create plans to boost a college’s student-voting rates and civic participation;
• released its NSLVE data publicly; and
• make its ALL IN action plan public.
Miami University was one of 58 schools to have completed all four areas. Other Ohio schools include The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University and Cleveland State University. The list also includes big-name schools like Harvard, Rutgers and Purdue.
“Since voting habits tend to crystallize in young adulthood — vote in one election, and you’re far more likely to do so again — colleges and universities have an unparalleled opportunity to create voters not just for the next election, but for life,” wrote Saahil Desai, an assistant editor at The Atlantic and previous Digital Editor at Washington Monthly.
Christie Zwahlen, director of Community Engagement at Miami University, said Miami follows many of the best practices outlined by NSLVE, the Andrew Goodman Foundation, the Campus Vote Project and others.
“Our campus-wide coalition includes staff, faculty, and students from a wide variety of backgrounds, majors, departments and offices who are all committed to working together in decreasing barriers to student voting,” she said. “It’s an important part of Miami’s legacy and culture to encourage and support student civic engagement.”
Zwahlen also said the school excels at allowing students to lead.
“We listen to their feedback and implement programs based on their ideas and excitement,” she said. “All of the students in the Office of Community Engagement and Service are empowered to lead this way, and we find it to be highly effective.”
Butler County Board of Elections Director Diane Noonan said the ranking is because the faculty members at Miami “are 100 percent committed to get the students to Get Out to Vote,” and the school has ensured to include the elections board in many of its activities.
“The Butler County Board of Elections has a great partnership with Miami, both on its main campus and its branches. We have been in included in all of their meetings generating Get Out to Vote campaigns,” she said. “We have gone to all of the campuses to conduct demos using our voting systems, work with Miami’s administration to send out letters to provide better IDs for voting. They also let Board of Elections use all of their facilities for voting on Election Day.”
Here’s the list of the top colleges and universities that have a high emphasis on student voting efforts in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, according to the Washington Monthly survey.
Bowling Green State University-Main campus
Cleveland State University
The Ohio State University-Main campus
University of Louisville
Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis
Purdue University-Main campus