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Study Reveals Who's Voting — And Who's Not — At Illinois State University

Illinois State University saw an increase in student voters from the 2014 to 2018 midterm elections.

A recent study of Illinois State University shows the number of students who voted in the 2018 midterm election rose 13% from 2014.

Credit Mary Cullen / WGLT
Harriett Steinbach, interim director for Illinois State University's Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning.

Harriett Steinbach, interim director for ISU's Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, said she uses the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education study to better target students who are less likely to be civically engaged.

“When faculty can show that this is how legislation, this is how legal bodies, this is current legislation that could affect our profession, that helps students to make those connections and feel engaged with their field of study,” she said.

Steinbach said there is a national trend towards college students becoming more politically engaged. African American women in particular, she said, are noted to be voting more than in years past.

The study shows low voter turnout in ISU students who study leisure and fitness, business, and liberal arts.

“This is important information as we develop our strategies for the future and that we will be very intentional engaging with the departments that offer these majors to talk with them about what can we do to help increase their student voting rate,” Steinbach said.

The study shows ISU students who study history, english, and legal professions are most likely to vote. History had the highest student voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, with nearly 50% of students voting.

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ISU Voting Trends - Full Story