You are here

Backpack and the Ballot

Title: The Backpack and the Ballot: How Collegiate Civics Education Impacts Youth Voter Participation.
Name(s): Pfingston, Chaston, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Bachelor Thesis
Date Issued: 2020-12-03
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Florida Governor Reubin Askew, in an address to the state legislature, said “to distrust the ability of government simply because it is government ... may be an easy way to get headlines in the newspapers or a few minutes on the evening news . . . but government will not work if we dislike and abuse it” (1976). Forty-four years later, it appears that he was right. Only fifty-one percent of Americans are able to name all three branches of their government, and only eighteen percent of them express trust in it (The Annenberg Public Policy Center 2020; Shapiro and Brown 2018).The neglected state of civics knowledge in the United States demonstrates the prescience of Askew’s remarks, and researchers have been quick to investigate the implications of such a lack of knowledge on political behavior. Institutions of learning have long served as sources of civic knowledge and, as a result, a great focus has been placed on the role of civics education in the development of political behaviors. But while we know that civics education has the potential to increase political participation, few studies have examined the actual impacts of specific education policies on voter turnout.Therefore, in this study, I sought to examine the impact of a 2017 law passed by the Florida Legislature that required students at all public colleges and universities to complete a civic literacy requirement before graduation. Using data from the Florida Voter Registration and Voting History Extract File, I conducted a three-tiered analysis to determine the impact that this law had on youth voter turnout following its implementation in 2018. This analysis consisted of a multivariate regression model conducted at the county-level and incorporated into an interrupted time-series anal- ysis. The results of these analyses were then plugged into a t-test, which found that the effect of age on voter turnout was reduced at a significantly higher rate in college counties than non-college counties in 2018. This suggests that, while collegiate civics education cannot be directly credited with increasing the turnout of college voters, it is also unable to be eliminated as a potential source of the effect.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1607036545_236ed521 (IID)
Keywords: Civics Education, Political Participation, Voting, College
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Pfingston, C. (2020). The Backpack and the Ballot: How Collegiate Civics Education Impacts Youth Voter Participation. Retrieved from