Published: Nov. 8, 2021

student casting ballot in the UMC Vote Center

Students and campus community members cast their 2020 election ballots in the UMC Vote Center. Photo by Casey A. Cass/CU Boulder.

Neither the global COVID-19 pandemic nor a tough academic year with students learning remotely in many cases could keep Buffs from doing their civic duty and making sure they were registered to vote, and mailing their ballots or stopping by a polling place in 2020’s historic presidential election.

On Monday, Nov. 8, the campus community learned it was awarded a platinum seal by organizers of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, a national, nonpartisan initiative of Civic Nation. There are five seal levels, and CU Boulder was one of 47 that received the top platinum seal out of 495 seals awarded. In 2020, 80.3% of eligible CU Boulder students voted, greatly surpassing the national rate of 66%.

In addition, Athletics successfully rallied Buffs to register and vote, contributing to two additional ALL IN honors: Highest Voter Registration and the Highest Voter Turnout, which will be awarded at a special PAC-12 Athletic Challenges Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 10. 

This is the first year that ALL IN is honoring the work of their Athletic Conference Voting Challenges in which schools compete against their athletic rivals to increase student voter participation and engagement. There are currently 12 athletic conferences participating in the ALL IN Athletic Conference Challenges, encompassing 125 institutions enrolling 2.6 million students. 

The 2020 presidential election engaged the largest and most diverse group of college students in U.S. history, according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE), a research study of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education (IDHE) at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. IDHE reported that 66% of college students voted in the 2020 election, a 14-point increase from 2016. 

More than 840 institutions enrolling close to nine million students participate in the ALL IN Challenge.