June 2024
Voting Rights

At a Glance

On November 19, 2019, The Andrew Goodman Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge Wisconsin’s voter ID law, challenging the strictest form of student voter identification in the country pursuant to the Twenty-Sixth Amendment. The Judge did not grant our motion for preliminary injunction to enjoin application of the strict student voter ID law in the 2020 election. Strong expert testimony, found below, was submitted in this matter illustrating the impact of the law.

About the Case

According to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University, Wisconsin saw one of the largest decreases in student voting rates between 2012 and 2016. That’s because the state enacted one of the strictest student voter ID laws in the country ahead of the 2016 elections. The law requires that a student ID include the issuance date, an expiration date of no more than 2 years from the date of issuance, and a signature. A voter who wishes to use a student ID must also independently prove current enrollment. No other forms of permissible identification are subject to these onerous requirements.

To remove restrictions imposed on the use of student IDs for voting, The Andrew Goodman Foundation, with the help of Perkins Coie LLP and Bromberg Law LLC, filed a lawsuit in federal court against six members of the Wisconsin Elections Committee on November 19, 2019. The legal challenge argued that the restrictions are intentionally designed to discriminate against student voters in violation of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which outlaws denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of age. On January 22, 2020, ahead of the 2020 elections, the Foundation took further legal action by filing a motion for a preliminary injunction to block the enforcement of Wisconsin’s restrictions on the use of student IDs for voting to ensure that students have equal access to the ballot.

On February 5, 2020, U.S. District Judge William M. Coney sided with the defendants by granting their motion to stay the case until a ruling is issued in the One Wisconsin Institute, Inc. v. Thompson case pending before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Case Nos. 16-3083 & 16-3091. Judge Coney contemporaneously summarily denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

Following the issuance of the ruling in One Wisconsin, the parties entered a joint stipulation of dismissal without prejudice.