Florida study touts higher turnout from on-campus voting amid court fight

This article was originally published by The Hill on July 31, 3019.

An organization aimed at increasing young voter turnout touted the success of Florida’s early on-campus voting sites in 2018 in a study released Tuesday.

The Andrew Goodman Foundation said nearly 60,000 registered voters in nine Florida counties used the early in-person ballots at 12 on-campus locations in the midterm elections.

The report comes as the foundation and League of Women Voters of Florida are suing the state over a new election law, passed under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, which they say will burden young voters. The Miami Herald reports the new election law requires “sufficient non-permitted parking” at early voting sites.

“Young voters, as well as people of color, and those who did not cast a ballot in 2016, disproportionately voted at the on-campus polling locations at public and private universities and colleges,” the study said.

In a complaint filed earlier this month, the Andrew Goodman Foundation and League of Women Voters argue that “the permitted parking prohibition provides a new means of suppressing the vote of young voters,” the Herald reports.

“The permitted parking prohibition discourages and in some cases effectively prohibits on-campus early voting in communities that voters disproportionately access on foot, on public transit, or through cars with parking permits,” the plaintiffs argued.

In the study, the foundation said the “voter suppression” law DeSantis signed threatens any repeats of 2018’s record turnout.

“This report demonstrates that young people — especially Hispanic and Black voters — are enthusiastic about civic participation and voting when the process is accessible and fair,” foundation President David Goodman said in statement. “Students face numerous barriers such as a lack of access to transportation or balancing busy school and work schedules, which make it more difficult for them to vote at off-campus polling locations.”

Goodman added that off-campus voting is even more challenging for disabled and economically disadvantaged students.

“Voting is a fundamental right and it should be accessible for all Americans including students,” Goodman said. “Democracy works best when everyone has a voice.”

A DeSantis spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The parking requirement was reportedly tucked into an election law package near the end of the legislative session at the end of May and signed by DeSantis. It went into effect July 1.