More than 80% of Drake University Students Voted in 2020 General Election

Drake students voted at an almost 15% higher rate than the national average for university students

More than eight in 10 (80.4%) Drake University students voted in the 2020 General Election, according to a national study published by Tufts University. Drake student turnout exceeded the national average of 66%.

Drake student voter turnout increased almost 10% from the 2016 General Election, when 71.1% of Drake students voted. Drake also saw an increase in voter registration rates (from 88% in 2016 to 91.6% in 2020) and the voting rate of registered students (from 80.8% in 2016 to 87.7% in 2020).

“Increasing voter turnout was an ‘all-hands’ effort across campus in 2020,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “Creating responsible global citizens is part of our University’s mission. We’re proud of our students for embracing our mission and exercising their right to vote.”

Nationally, university student turnout increased from 52% in the 2016 General Election to 66% in 2020. The rise in student turnout was greater than that of the national turnout, which increased from 61% in 2016 to 67% in 2020.

Located in Iowa’s capital city of Des Moines, the Drake campus is an important location for the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. The University hosted presidential debates in 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2020, and Drake students help fill the staff of every campaign. Drake students are also active as interns and clerks at the nearby state capitol.

The high level of civic engagement on the Drake campus is the foundation that the University is building on to create the Drake University Center for Public Democracy. This interdisciplinary institute will create approaches to advance public participation in politics, and bolster the University’s strong undergraduate and graduate programs in American politics, legal education, and law politics and society.

Drake is also currently fundraising for the Every Bulldog a Changemaker initiative, which will support programs that help Drake students make a positive impact in their community. Information on these programs is available at