College student voting surged nationwide in 2020, according to a new report from the National Study of Learning, Voting and Engagement, and Pomona College students were part of the trend.
Pomona College students voting rate was 77.7% in 2020, a +19.3 change from 2016. That is well above the national rate for college students, which was 66% in 2020 (compared with 52% in 2016.)
PomonaVotes, a nonpartisan student organization led by Naomi Tilles ’22 and Michaela Shelton ’21, rallied Pomona students last year to register and get out to vote. This was not an easy task, given Pomona’s remote instruction at that time due to COVID-19.
In planning their strategy, Shelton and Tilles decided to focus on student-to-student canvassing via text messaging and social media messages, in addition to Zoom events tied to presidential debates.
“Pomona students are models for civic engagement as their voting record shows even during a year when they were not on campus,” says Dean of Campus Life Josh Eisenberg, who was involved with the initiative. “Much of the credit goes to Michaela Shelton and Naomi Tilles, co-chairs of PomonaVotes and their volunteers.”
The report was recently released by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), creators of the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE.