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Swarthmore's Commitment to Voting

Swarthmore College is committed to increasing student participation in our democracy through voter registration and voting in primary and general elections. College students get to choose where they register and vote -- either in their permanent home state or at their college location. The College strives to empower students with the information they need to register and vote, regardless of where that may happen.

President Valerie Smith believes in government by all the people. She appreciates the power of the vote as an expression of one's individual voice withing the democratic process. In February 2018, President Smith convened the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) committee in response to a report from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) which showed that while a majority of eligible Swarthmore students register to vote, voter turnount among Swatties was below or at the national average for colleges and universities. The primary aim of GOTV is to increase participation in the voting process regardless of political party affiliation.

GOTV Committee

The GOTV committee develops annual action plans to increase voter registration, turnout, voter education, and civic engagement. Our efforts are entirely nonpartisan. Here's our 2022-23 action plan

Committee MemberS

  • Ben Berger, Associate Professor of Political Science and Executive Director, Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility
  • David Foreman, Director of Institutional Relations
  • Joshua Goldwyn, Assistant Professor of Mathematics & Statistics
  • Roy Greim, Associate Director of Web Communications
  • Sam Handlin, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Emily Higgs Kopin, McCabe Library Digital Archivist
  • Jeremy Loomis, Head Women's Tennis Coach
  • Owen Mortner '23
  • Frannie Richardson '23
  • Pamela Shropshire (Committee Chair), Special Assistant for Presidential Initiatives 

  • Gigi Simeone, Health Sciences/Pre Law Advisor
  • Kristin Smith, Registrar
  • Kilin Tang '25
  • Rebecca Weintraub-Barth, Director of Student Activities

Our Partners

NSLVE

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 of eligible students voting rate of registered students voting rate of all eligible students voting rate for all nslve institutions
2012 80.0% 75.9% 60.7% 47%
2014 68.7% 30.7% 21.1% 19%
2016 85.7% 80.6% 69.1% 53%
2018 85.7% 66.0% 56.6% 39%
2020 88.8% 85.4% 75.9% 66%

Read the full 2016 Swarthmore NSLVE report [PDF].

Read the full 2018 Swarthmore NSLVE report [PDF].

Read the full 2020 Swarthmore NSLVE report [PDF].