Iowa State students’ voter turnout higher than national average

Students voting in Buchanan Hall on campus

AMES, Iowa – Young voters are expected to make a difference in the 2020 election, and if a new report is any indication, Iowa State University students will be engaged in the process.

Iowa State’s overall voting rate for the 2018 midterm elections was 40.6%, according the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement. That’s higher than the national average of 39.1% and a significant jump from the university’s 2014 voting rate of 22.6%.

“An 18% increase in student voter turnout from 2014 to 2018 is outstanding, which is a credit to all the members of the Iowa State and Ames communities who worked hard to make this possible. Our challenge is to build on this momentum for the 2019 municipal and school board elections and the 2020 presidential cycle,” said Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State.

To further break down the report released this month from Tufts University, the voting rate of registered Iowa State students increased 20.4% from 30% in 2014 to 50.4% of registered students who voted in the 2018 midterm election.

The way in which Iowa State students voted virtually stayed the same, with 51.4% of students voting in person in 2014 and 51.3% voting in person in 2018. Roughly 40% of students voted absentee during both midterm cycles.

Both men and women increased their voting rates. Women voted at a rate of 20.9% in 2014 compared to 39.6% in 2018. Men voted at a rate of 19.3% in 2014 and 33.2% in 2018.

In 2018, the following majors had the highest percentage of voter turnout: history, English language and literature, and public administration and social service professions.

The majors with the lowest percentages of voter turnout in 2018 are computer and information sciences, engineering and engineering technologies, and mathematics and statistics. However, these majors all increased their voter turnout percentages over the 2014 midterm election.

NSLVE is a signature initiative of the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. IDHE is an applied research center focused on college and university student political learning and participation in democracy. Since NSLVE’s launch in 2013, more than 1,000 colleges and universities have signed up to receive their voting rates for the 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 federal elections.

More information about the IDHE and NSLVE can be found at:

Copies of the report on student voting rates for Iowa State University in 2014 and 2018 can be obtained by emailing the Catt Center at

About the Catt Center

The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University was founded in 1992 to interest, educate and engage citizens in the political process. The center offers leadership development and mentoring opportunities; fosters research on issues related to women and politics; brings prominent women leaders, national and international scholars, and political activists and practitioners to campus; and encourages women and men to pursue careers in politics, public administration and public service.