For Immediate Release: March 9th, 2021
Contact: Nicholas Williams, Communications Coordinator for Penn Leads the Vote
Penn Retains “Voter Friendly Campus” Designation for Second Time
Penn received the designation of “Voter Friendly Campus” from the Campus Vote Project and NASPA for the second time in a row.
Philadelphia, PA — Today, the University of Pennsylvania is one of over two hundred campuses in thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia designated as a “Voter Friendly Campus,” by national nonpartisan organizations Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project (CVP) and NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. This designation celebrates Penn’s commitment to actively supporting and encouraging voter engagement.
The mission of the Voter Friendly Campus designation is to bolster efforts that help students overcome barriers to participating in the political process. Our campus was evaluated on a campus plan to register, educate, and turnout students in the 2020 election. It also included details on how we implemented these voter engagement efforts on our campus, and a final analysis of our efforts — all in the face of the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The designation is valid through December 2022.
The designation marks the second time that Penn has been named a Voter Friendly Campus. In 2019, Penn became the first member of the Ivy League to be officially designated as a Voter Friendly Campus. With this designation, Penn has demonstrated a strong commitment to the civic mission of higher education by preparing students to be engaged participants in our democracy through 2022 and beyond.
As part of our effort to help Penn be designated a Voter Friendly Campus, Penn Leads the Vote (PLTV) built a virtual infrastructure in the fall of 2020 to increase voting and civic engagement amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Key elements of our engagement infrastructure included the online platform Motivote, social media, and building a team of dedicated volunteers to further help the engagement process.
The designation comes just as the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life updated their estimates for voter turnout among Penn students in the 2018 midterm elections. NSLVE now estimates that turnout among Penn students was 54.7% in the 2018 midterms, a significant increase from their previous estimate of 41%. This new data moves Penn from Gold- to Platinum-Level recognition from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge — one of only 62 campuses nationwide, and the only Ivy League institution, to receive the award.
The institutions designated Voter Friendly Campuses represent a wide range of two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, and urban campuses. Notably, the list of designated institutions includes many Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The program is ultimately serving millions of students.
Penn Leads The Vote (PLTV) was established in 2004 and operated by Fox Leadership until 2014. PLTV was re-established in 2018 in the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. PLTV works in collaboration with the Office of Government and Community Affairs, which also oversees Penn’s institutional compliance with voter engagement requirements and on-campus polling location engagement. PLTV receives funding from Fox Leadership. PLTV receives funding and advising from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation for furthering our message through design.
NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.
Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and legal support organization that works to eliminate barriers to voting and improve election administration across the United States. Fair Elections Center’s Campus Vote Project works with universities, community colleges, faculty, students and election officials to reduce barriers to student voting and helps campuses institutionalize reforms that empower students with the information they need to register and vote.