After university-led efforts to encourage voting last year, The University of Wisconsin saw a 52.9% voting rate, up 17.3% since 2014, according to a report published by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement.

The report was conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University. IDHE is a research center that focuses on university and college students’ political learning and engagement.

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Chair of Associated Students of Madison Laura Downer said the rise in voting in 2018 showed an increased interest among students to cast votes and have their voices heard, according to the UW news website.

“These results show that we as students were excited to vote in 2018,” Downer said. “We want to have a say in the future of our country, and we know how crucial voting is to amplifying our voice. I’m looking forward to even higher student participation in 2020!”

UW also participated in the Big Ten Voting Challenge last year, a non-partisan effort aiming to encourage students to vote at all 14 Big Ten universities, according to their website.

Trophies will be awarded to two Big Ten universities, one with the highest eligible voter turnout and the other for making the biggest improvement. Results of the competition will be available this October.

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Collective efforts aiming to promote voting among UW students last year included registration drives, publicity efforts, discussion panels, a debate and chalking on Election Day.

Political science professor and the Faculty Chair for UW’s Big Ten Voting Challenge Committee Barry Burden said it was always a pleasure seeing UW students react positively to those efforts, according to UW news.

“We’re pleased that UW–Madison students recognized the value of voting. …” Burden said. “We hope to teach our students the importance of civic involvement to our democracy.”