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Learn About Swarthmore's Commitment to Voting

Students registering to vote

In February 2018, Swarthmore President Valerie Smith called for the creation of a nonpartisan committee to increase student participation in our democracy through voter registration and voting in all primary and general elections. ​

The Voter Registration/Get Out the Vote Steering Committee (GOTV Committee) was called to action in part in response to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), which showed that while a majority of eligible Swarthmore students register to vote, voter turnout was below or at the national average for colleges and universities. 


The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE), part of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, serves as a leading venue for research, resources, and advocacy on college student political learning and engagement in democratic practice. The Institute’s signature initiative is the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), which offers colleges and universities an opportunity to learn their student registration and voting rates. NSLVE is the first and only study to objectively examine student and institution-level data on student voting and to share these data with participating campuses. Institutional participation is free and protective of student privacy. 

According to NSLVE, Swarthmore's voting rates have been:
(Data is not available before 2012)

  registration rate voting rate of registered students voting rate of all eligible students voting rate for all nslve institutions
2012 75.9% 59.4% 45.1% 46.9%
2014 68.1% 24.8% 16.9% 19.1%
2016 81.5% 54.8% 44.7% 50.4%
2018 79% 49.6% 39.2% 39.1%

Read the full 2012 & 2016 Swarthmore NSLVE report [PDF].

Read the full 2014 & 2018 Swarthmore NSLVE report [PDF].

GOTV Committee

In response to Swarthmore's NSLVE data from 2012–2016, the GOTV committee has developed a 2020 action plan to increase voter registration, turnout, voter education, and civic engagement. Our efforts are entirely nonpartisan.

Committee MemberS

  • Andrew Barclay, Director of Student Activities
  • Ben Berger, Associate Professor of Political Science and Executive Director, Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility
  • John Blanchar, Assistant Professor of Psychology 
  • Ryan Dougherty, Senior Writer/Editor, Communications
  • David Foreman, Director of Institutional Relations
  • Katie Price, Associate Director, Lang Center
  • Pamela Shropshire (Committee Chair), Special Assistant for Presidential Initiatives 
  • Gigi Simeone, Health Sciences/Pre Law Advisor
  • Martin Warner, Registrar
  • Amanda Whitbred, Director of Advancement Marketing and Communications
  • Frannie Richardson '23
  • Satchel Tsai '23
  • Robert Zigmund '21, Lang Center Associate for Politics and Public Policy 

MEDIA Coverage

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