2020 voting report: By the numbers

Kristina García

Penn Today

Friday, November 12, 2021

The numbers are in. University of Pennsylvania students voted in unprecedented numbers during the 2020 presidential election, achieving record-high voter turnout during a semester taught fully online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data were reported in the 2020 Campus National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) Reportissued by the Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University. 

This data might not come as a surprise for members of Penn Leads the Vote (PLTV), who co-wrote an action plan outlining steps to foster student civic engagement in 2020 and 2021. The plan recently won the ALL IN Democracy Challenge 2021 Best Action Plan Award for the Pennsylvania Campus Voting Challenge for a four-year institution. 

PLTV, which operates from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships and works in partnership with the Office of Government and Community Affairs, is a non-partisan voter-engagement program. It’s currently co-directed by Harrison Feinman of Los Angeles and Eva Gonzalez of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, both seniors majoring in political science. 

The award was a great testament to both Penn Leads the Vote and Penn students, says Feinman. “The sum really is greater than its parts, and we were all able to pull together and work as an entire campus to improve civic engagement.” 


Here are the results:


The number of eligible Penn students who voted in the 2020 presidential general election, a 9.2% increase from the 2016 election, and a 23.1% increase from the 2018 midterm election


The turnout rate for the general population


The national college student voter turnout rate


The rate of registered Penn students who voted on Election Day 2020, compared to 73% in 2016 and 64% in 2018


Penn’s eligible voter registration goal for 2028, included in the Action Plan


View the above data featured in Penn Today.