UMD-Hosted Summit Mobilizes Youth Voters for 2024 Election

National Student Vote Summit 2023

Young voters are expected to turn out in record numbers in 2024, injecting fresh perspectives, diverse voices and a keen awareness of contemporary issues into what鈥檚 expected to be a contentious election. The question of how to encourage and harness the power of those young people was a primary issue at the National Student Vote Summit, held at the 含羞草研究所 from November 15 to 17. Hosted by the , in collaboration with the and , it was the first in-person summit since 2019 and attracted hundreds of students, staff and university leaders from 65 colleges and universities, 62 nonprofit organizations and three election offices representing 25 U.S. states and D.C. 

鈥淭his summit was a great opportunity for our UMD faculty, students and staff to share our successful strategies for engaging college voters and to learn from other campuses about ways we could remove barriers and strengthen our own activities to register, prepare and mobilize our students to vote,鈥 said Lena Morreale Scott, principal investigator of MDI, senior faculty specialist in the College of Education and director of the Civic Education & Engagement Initiative.  鈥淲hile it is certainly not the only way, voting is a fundamental way for college studentsand all of usto shape our futures by choosing those who lead our shared democracy.鈥   

鈥淯MD has a proven track record of leadership with regard to supporting student voting. Co-hosting the National Student Voting Summit with TerpsVote and SLSV was a great way to showcase the incredible work going on across campus and to engage other leaders in this space,鈥 said Michael Hanmer, an MDI principal, a professor in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement. 

The student-run TerpsVote organization reported that 85% of eligible UMD students were registered to vote in 2020, and 81% of that group cast a ballot. Maryland Athletics鈥 VoTERP initiative, run in alignment with the Big Ten Conference, provides nonpartisan resources to student-athletes. That effort led to the Xfinity Center鈥檚 selection as a polling place during the 2020 presidential general election; it became the largest polling center in Maryland. Terps were among the volunteer poll workers.

Over half of adults ages 18-29 voted in the 2020 presidential election, an historic high, according to from the Brookings Institution. released Nov. 29 by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University showed that 57% are 鈥渆xtremely likely鈥 to vote next year, and they are most focused on the economy, climate change and gun violence. 

Paul Brown, director of the School of Public Policy鈥檚 Civic Innovation Center and an MDI principal, noted that coalitions and collaborations are crucial in fostering informed and active democratic participation among young voters. 

MDI facilitated national conversations on equitable democratic participation and, along with TerpsVote, provided a total of 20 scholarships for UMD students working on civic engagement and 含羞草研究所 to attend the summit.

鈥淚 learned a lot about the current challenges and projects going on within the student voting sphere and met many interesting people who were doing very cool work that I would not have encountered otherwise,鈥 said public policy major and scholarship recipient Liora Petter-Lipstein 鈥25.

A version of this story first appeared on the .