August 15, 2013 | The University
Nearly 60 percent of CUNY students are registered to vote, exceeding the average voter registration rate for New York City college-age students by almost 10 percent.
As part of new initiative to gather data on student voter patterns, CUNY officials found that 58.9 percent of CUNY students eligible to vote have registered for the upcoming citywide elections. The current voter registration rate for New York City college age students is 50 percent.
There are currently 210,058 CUNY students who are eligible to vote, defined as a student who is a U.S. Citizen or appeared on the Board of Elections database.
With six weeks until the primary election, the University also launched this week the “CUNY Countdown” social media campaign to boost voter turnout and raise election awareness. For 10 days before the Sept. 10 primary and Nov. 5 general election, CUNY will send university-wide email blasts and use Facebook and Twitter to provide reminders about registration and voting.
At the CUNY Countdown launch meeting, University officials met to discuss voter registration partnerships with representatives from the New York Public Interest Research Group, the New York Campaign Finance Board, Common Cause and Citizen’s Union.
Interim Chancellor William Kelly attributed the high rate of voter participation among students to the university’s historic public service mission, coupled with more recent outreach efforts of the “CUNY Votes” campaign, civic partnerships, social media, and scheduling dozens of mayoral forums across CUNY’s 24 city campuses.
“Voter participation and civic involvement are essential to a strong, vibrant democracy,” said Kelly. “It is wholly consistent with CUNY’s historic public service mission to inform all members of the University community about the importance of voting and participation in the electoral process.”
The CUNY voter data was calculated by the University’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment by matching registration from the New York State Board of Elections against student enrollment data for fall 2012.
CUNY student voters also showed a large turnout for last year’s presidential election, with 64 percent voting. Moreover, some 36,119 CUNY students registered last year to vote for the first time.
CUNY’s success at registering record numbers of student voters stems from the emphasis placed on voter registration by the Chancellery and college presidents. At each of the 24 CUNY campuses, there is a designated voter registration coordinator responsible for registration and education materials.
More recently, CUNY officials launched the CUNY Votes website (www.cuny.edu/vote) along with a CUNY Votes Facebook page and Twitter account (#cunyvotes).
In June, as another effort to educate voters, the CUNY Graduate Center partnered with the League of Women Voters and launched an interactive “Who Represents Me? database (http://www.mygovnyc.org), a free website with information about the 2013 elections.
About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University is comprised of 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves more than 269,000 degree credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.
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