The Andrew Goodman Foundation Files a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Against the State of Wisconsin to Block Enforcement of Restrictions on the Use of Student IDs for Voting in the 2020 Election

Today, The Andrew Goodman Foundation (AGF) filed a motion for an immediate preliminary injunction to block the enforcement of the state of Wisconsin’s restrictions on the use of student IDs for voting. The organization is seeking injunctive relief ahead of the 2020 elections to ensure that student voters have equal access to the ballot box. The injunction follows a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin in November 2019. That lawsuit contends that the law discriminates against voters based on age, therefore violating the 26th Amendment of the Constitution, which outlaws the denial or abridgment of the right to vote for those over eighteen on the basis of age.

Wisconsin’s draconian student voter identification law is the strictest in the country. It places unreasonable and excessive burdens on the use of student IDs for voting—burdens that are not required on any other form of voter identification in Wisconsin. Prior to the passage of this law in 2011, Wisconsin boasted one of the highest turnout rates for young people in the country. However, the last 2 election cycles have seen the state’s rank in student turnout plummet to among the lowest nationally. Data from the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University shows that in 2016, the first year the strict student voter ID law was in place, the state saw the second-largest decline in student voter turnout in the country. While nationwide student voter turnout rose to record levels in that election, some areas of Wisconsin reported declines in student voting of more than 11%, and many areas of the state had declines of 5% or more. Similarly, on-campus student turnout in Wisconsin lagged 6.5 percentage points behind national trends in 2018. Moreover, a University of Wisconsin-Madison study found that in 2 counties alone, the law prevented up to 23,250 voters from even casting ballots in 2016.

“We are approaching a consequential presidential election and students’ voices could once again be silenced at the ballot box as a result of Wisconsin’s discriminatory rules. It is important to recognize that these restrictions on student voting are part of a continuum of voter suppression laws being enacted by state legislatures around the country under the guise of voting integrity, but they only serve to make it more difficult for traditionally marginalized communities to exercise their constitutional right. In fact, the Wisconsin court already acknowledged that there has been no documented evidence of student voter fraud before or after this law was enacted,” explained David Goodman, President of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. “My brother and our organization’s namesake, Andrew Goodman, who was murdered as a college student for registering Black Americans to vote in Mississippi, is an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin. We will continue to uphold his legacy by fighting against any attempts to disenfranchise students or any other American citizens.”

The Wisconsin lawsuit, The Andrew Goodman Foundation v. Bostelmann et al., is filed on behalf of the organization by Perkins Coie LLP and Bromberg Law LLC.

This motion for preliminary injunction follows other legal actions taken by AGF against voter suppression laws in states across the country. In September 2019, the organization was granted a preliminary injunction in Tennessee, which blocked the implementation of one of the most punitive voter registration laws in the country—a law that threatened excessive civil and criminal penalties on good faith third-party registration efforts. AGF also won a preliminary injunction in a pending lawsuit in Florida, which halted Florida’s ban on early voting on college and university campuses. The temporary win allowed nearly 60,000 voters to cast ballots at on-campus polling sites in the 2018 race.

Click here to read the amended complaint.

Click here to read the preliminary injunction.

About The Andrew Goodman Foundation 

The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s mission is to make young voices and votes a powerful force in democracy by training the next generation of leaders, engaging young voters, and challenging restrictive voter suppression laws. The Foundation’s Vote Everywhere program partners with America’s colleges and universities to provide resources, visibility, and mentoring to a national network of student leaders who involve their peers in participatory democracy through long-term voter engagement, public policy, and social justice initiatives. The organization is named after Andrew Goodman, a 20-year old Freedom Summer volunteer, and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered by the KKK in 1964 while registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi.