February 11, 2003
SFSU students voted at a significantly higher rate than eligible voters across the United States, according to results of a survey conducted by the Public Research Institute.
Nearly 66 percent SFSU students who are eligible voters cast ballots in the November 2002 election, the survey reported. Nationwide, 39 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the election, according to the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate. In San Francisco, 50 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections.
About 57 percent of eligible college students nationwide voted in the 1996 presidential election, according to a Panetta Institute survey.
"Students at San Francisco State tend to vote in high numbers for various reasons," said SFSU director of civic engagement Marsha Nye Adler, who compiled the survey report and spearheaded a voter registration and get-out-the-vote drive on campus. "The city's and University's tradition of political activism draws students to the campus, and many pick up the activist spirit after arriving here. The Bay Area also has a traditionally higher turnout than most of the country. In addition, SFSU students tend to be somewhat older than other undergraduates, which follows the general trend of rising voting rates as people mature."
The SFSU survey also found that 67 percent of respondents are either "very interested" or "fairly interested" in politics.
SFSU mounted an extensive voter registration and get-out-the-vote drive that netted nearly 2,000 registrations on campus. The University provided voter education materials and information on issues and candidates so that students could vote knowledgeably. In addition, the University held a forum on campus with San Francisco and statewide candidates for office, provided links to extensive online resources about voting and ballot issues, and disseminated e-mail, Internet and voicemail reminders from President Robert Corrigan to students.
For more, see the press release.
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