The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) student voting rate nearly doubled between the 2014 and 2018 midterms, according to a new report from Tufts University.
In 2018, 48.9% of all UNO students who were eligible to vote ended up casting a ballot, up from 24.8% in 2014.
The campus numbers mirror a national trend, showing voting rates at most participating colleges doubled. The study’s average campus voting rate was 39.1%, up from 19.7% in 2014.
UNO has had a long-standing commitment to civic engagement in many forms. Voter registration is a regular feature of UNO civic engagement activities. Staff and faculty work with local agencies that promote civic engagement and UNO is also home to a student group that works to encourage election participation: UNO!Votes.
Barb Pickering, Ph.D., professor in the School of Communication and UNO Civic Engagement Coordinator, said UNO is committed to providing opportunities for civic participation.
“The NSLVE results for 2018 demonstrate that these efforts are paying off in voter turn-out,” Pickering said. “I am extremely proud of our work and look forward to continuing voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts in anticipation of the 2020 election and beyond.”
“UNO’s voting rates, which are higher than the national student voting rates, reflect our commitment to civic and community engagement,” added Jodi Benenson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School of Public Administration. “We have an opportunity to build on this momentum and continue to prioritize learning for democracy at UNO.”
Among takeaways from the UNO report:
UNO students who are 50 and older had the highest voter participation rate (75.8% in 2018). Students who were 18-21 or 22-24 were tied at the low end of the spectrum (43.7%).
Graduate students were more likely to vote than undergraduate students (55.4% compared to 43.9%)
In 2018, part-time students were more likely to vote than full-time students (52.3% compared to 43.5%)
Absentee voting was up 17.4% between 2014 and 2018.
While voter participation was up across the board, some trends continued. In both years, students studying library science had the highest voting rate compared to other majors (46.2% in 2014 and 70.7% in 2018).
Among majors, the largest jump was with those studying Visual and Performing Arts (59% in 2018 compared to 22.6% in 2014).
The report is part of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. It is based on the voting records of more than 10 million students at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia; IDHE does not receive any information that could individually identify students or how they voted. The study provides reports to participating colleges and universities, like UNO, which use them to support political learning and civic engagement, as well as to identify and address gaps in political and civic participation.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.