Community college students who took a political science class were more likely to register to vote, to cast their ballots and to demonstrate an understanding of constitutional checks and balances, a new study shows.

Two University of Florida researchers who examined data from a survey of more than 2,000 students at nine community colleges found that those who took at least one political science course were 9 percent more likely to register to vote than those who didn’t. They were also 8 percent more likely to vote in a local, state or federal election.

When asked specific questions about the American political system, students who took political science were 9 percent more likely to answer correctly that the Supreme Court — not Congress or the president — decides whether laws are constitutional, and 17 percent more likely to know that it takes a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto.

The study has implications for youth voter turnout in future elections and comes at a time of heightened interest in civic education among students.



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