Media Release  

Harvard Kennedy School Meets 90% Student Participation Goal in Harvard Votes Challenge

Cambridge, MA – The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation announced today that over 90 percent of all eligible Harvard Kennedy School students have committed to registering to vote as part of the Harvard Votes Challenge, a university-wide campaign to build a stronger culture of voting among Harvard students.

The Ash Center, which helped coordinate the Kennedy School’s participation in the Harvard Votes Challenge, worked with teams of students across the School to meet its ambitious goal of having 90 percent of students eligible to vote in the United States sign up with TurboVote, an online voter registration and notification platform developed by HKS alumni. As of October 24, 510 current HKS students participated in the challenge.

“We set this goal to test the proposition that if a community, campus, or organization really sets its sights on the ambitious civic goal of registering nearly everyone, it can be done,” said Archon Fung, the Winthrop Laflin McCormack Professor of Citizenship and Self-Government at Harvard Kennedy School. “In the last midterm election in 2014, only 24 percent of eligible Harvard students voted. I hope the results of the Harvard Votes Challenge encourage other campuses and communities all around the country to embrace their civic responsibility to foster political participation for everyone.”

Teresa Acuña, associate director for democratic governance programs at the Ash Center, helped coordinate much of the HKS contribution to the challenge. “This challenge shows what is possible when there is institutional support around civic engagement met with the organizing power of students,” she said. “We are moving into a robust get-out-the-vote campaign and we’re going to continue the hard work of ensuring that everyone who participated in the challenge cast their vote on November 6.”

About the Harvard Votes Challenge
The Harvard Votes Challenge is a nonpartisan, University-wide effort that is challenging Harvard schools to do their part to increase voter registration and participation among eligible students.

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit

For media inquiries, contact:
Daniel Harsha
Associate Director of Communications
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation