Education, Local Government and Politics, News

Salem State students got out the vote

SALEM ― A new report shows that Salem State University’s student-voting rate surpassed the national average in the 2020 election cycle. 

The report, recently released by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement ― an initiative of Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy & Higher Education ― showed that Salem State University (SSU) had a 68 percent student-voting rate, exceeding the national average of 66 percent. 

“There is an increasing need for active and engaged voices in our country, and I could not be prouder of our students’ commitment to getting out the vote and being heard,” said Salem State University President John D. Keenan. 

This data also marked an increase from SSU’s 64 percent student-voting rate in 2016. 

As students adapted to the many changes that coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic, students continued to cast their ballots in record numbers. 

“I am grateful to the Center for Civic Engagement, the Frederick E. Berry Institute of Politics, MassPIRG, and the many other campus partners who provided the resources needed to support this most central form of civic participation,” Keenan said. 

In addition to tabling on campus, SSU and its on- and off-campus partners held virtual programming about how to vote by mail and vote early, as well as fostering virtual, issue-based discussions and holding a virtual debate watch.

Samantha Giffen, a graduate student in SSU’s Higher Education in Student Affairs program, said they were proud to innovate at a time when most students were not living on campus and there were health and safety concerns about voting in person. 

“It was inspiring to see how enthusiastic and eager our students were to cast their votes despite the obstacles that the pandemic presented,” Giffen said. “This success reflects the dedication of our students and our entire campus to being active and engaged in the world around us.”  

The voter turnout at SSU earned the school a Silver Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge and, for the third consecutive year, a distinction from Washington Monthly as one of “America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting.” 

To view the report, visit

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