Penn Leads the Vote

Since 2004, Penn Leads the Vote (PLTV), a nonpartisan, student-led network has registered over 10,000 Penn undergraduates; mobilized diverse student organizations to disseminate information about voting; learned federal and local election law; coaxed City officials to provide adequate polling places; trained students to serve as poll workers or watchers; and hosted a myriad of get-out-the-vote events before and on Election Day. Penn undergraduates’ participation in elections is among the highest in the nation.

Since PLTV was launched in 2004, voter participation at the six on-campus voting locations has increased 300-350% depending on the election. In 2000, which was the last presidential election prior to the start of PLTV, 1,184 voters cast ballots at the six on-campus polling locations.  Over 3,000 voters participated in 2004 (3,259) and nearly 4,000 voters (3,998) cast ballots in 2008 at those 6 locations. In 2012, the number of voters returned to the 2004 level. Participation in the mid-term elections showed a similar pattern increasing threefold from 2002 to 2006 when 1,500 voters cast ballots. The number of voters held steady in 2010.

PLTV student leader AJ Schiera wrote a report on the 2008 PLTV experience: VRPUs and Turnout, Too: The Challenge of Targeting Undergraduate Voters, with Penn Leads the Vote '08 as a Case Study.