Despite a legacy of low turnout, college students — and young people in general — could be a decisive voting bloc in this election. Already, nearly 5 million Americans, ages 18 to 29, have cast early votes, a far higher number than at this point in 2016.
But will this fall's pandemic campus experience upend optimistic projections for a college student turnout?
"This election year is just incredibly important," says Annie Rosenow, a senior political science major at the University of Rochester, who's been working on campus voter outreach. "For me and many of my peers, it's our first time voting in a presidential election."
She's part of a broad upward trend in college students and young voters in recent years: College students more than doubled their rate of voting between the 2014 and 2018 midterm elections, according to research from Tufts University.