Dec 3, 2021 - News

Voting by Minnesota college students jumped in 2020

Data: LeadMN/U.S. Census; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Pandemic-related barriers didn't keep Minnesota college students from voting in droves in 2020, a report released Thursday shows.

Driving the news: Voting was up across all types of Minnesota higher education institutions, including private universities and two-year colleges, according to a new State of Student Voting report from the student organization LeadMN.

  • The projected turnout rate of 70% beats the national average for college students and eligible voters in general, as the chart above shows.

Zoom out: It wasn't just college students casting ballots. Overall youth turnout here jumped 8 percentage points, to 57%, according to researchers at Tufts University's Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.

  • Only New Jersey, which mailed ballots to all voters in the presidential election, saw higher turnout among residents ages 18 to 29.

Between the lines: Many students voted early amid the pandemic, mirroring the trend seen in the general electorate.

  • More than half of college students cast their ballot before Election Day, up from 19% in 2016, data provided to Axios shows.

What they're saying: "The 2020 election busted the myth that students are apathetic about elections," Mike Dean, executive director of LeadMN, which represents two-year college students, said in a statement.

Yes, but: College and youth turnout still lagged Minnesota's overall state rate of nearly 80%. And while participation was also up among students from communities of color, a racial participation gap persists.

  • Just 54% of Asian and Black students cast a ballot, compared to 75% of their white peers.

Go deeper — and see a full list of turnout by college campus — via the full report.

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