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Stony Brook University students register, vote in record numbers


AllinchallengeStony Brook, New York, November 8, 2018 — The results are in, and Stony Brook University’s students topped the All In Challenge charts with more than 1,300 students pledging to vote in the 2018 Midterm Election on Tuesday. Among the 455 universities participating in the challenge, Stony Brook’s participation was the highest, earning the SUNY Long Island flagship first place in the national challenge.

According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement from the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University, about 43 percent of Stony Brook University students voted in the November 2012 Presidential Election — 3.7 percentage points lower than all colleges and universities nationwide.

This year, 1,769 total votes were cast by Stony Brook students at the on-campus polling site, marking an increase of more than 300% since the 2014 Midterm Election.

Since 2015, when Stony Brook established a partnership with The Andrew Goodman Foundation and its Vote Everywhere program, organized by Campus Champions Steven Adelson, who also serves as an Area Coordinator, and Ellen Driscoll, Interim Associate Dean of Students, the university has developed action plans for the 2016 and 2018 elections to increase voter turnout among students. In the three years, more than 13,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students have registered to vote; voter turnout has increased by 23 percent from 2012 through 2016; and the on-campus polling site in 2016 achieved an 86 percent voter turnout rate, which was the highest of any polling site in the country for the 2016 Presidential Election.

This year, Stony Brook scheduled events and initiatives throughout the year, beginning in late January, to encourage students to register to vote as well as participate in the party primaries in June and September and also the Midterm Election on Tuesday. The four-point action plan for 2018 included:

  • Increasing Stony Brook student voter turnout
  • Providing comprehensive access to voter education before the elections
  • Preserve the nationwide right for Stony Brook students to vote and,
  • Collaborate with other universities to transform democratic engagement.

To accomplish these goals, Stony Brook hosted community dialogue sessions about local issues, provided out-of-area students with access to absentee ballots for all 50 states and educated voters about ballot initiatives as well as candidate platforms.

Through efforts in previous years, a 10-point gain was made for Stony Brook student voter turnout between the 2012 Presidential Election and the 2016 Presidential Election while the national average increased only about 2.8 points. In 2012, about 2,109 Stony Brook students voted at the on-campus polling site and 3,002 voted on campus during the 2016 election. While the student population grew about 3,000 in the four-year span from 17,944 to 20,859, the number of Stony Brook student voters increased by about 43 percent, from 7,758 to 11,099.

Stony Brook’s Center for Civic Justice also invested time into helping students register to vote, including Class of 2019’s Yark Beyan, who spent four days a week at the Student Activities Center at a registration table. Since 2015, Beyan has helped register more than 17,500 students. This semester, she and 43 interns she supervises for the center have registered an additional 2,733 students.

About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with nearly 26,000 students and more than 2,700 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S.News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University fuels Long Island’s economic growth. Its impact on the  Long Island economy amounts to $7.38 billion in increased output. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

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