The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Florida College Students, and the Florida League of Women Voters Take Further Legal Action Against a Florida Law Aimed at Preventing Early Voting on College and University Campuses

The Andrew Goodman Foundation along with a group of 8 Florida college students and the Florida League of Women Voters amended a lawsuit challenging Florida’s new election bill recently signed by Governor Ron DeSantis. The new law made headlines for its provisions imposing severe restrictions on the ability of returning citizens with prior felony convictions to register and vote following the popular passage of Amendment 4 during the 2018 election. However, a last-minute amendment slipped into the bill also included a parking requirement specifically aimed at limiting the ability to use college or university campuses as early voting sites – effectively preventing young Floridians from exercising their constitutional right to vote. The supplemental complaint argues that the law is intentionally designed, and will limit the youth vote in violation of the First, Fourteenth, and the Twenty-Sixth Amendments.

This latest voter suppression tactic is part of an ongoing effort by former Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to categorically ban early voting on college and university campuses. In response, The Andrew Goodman Foundation, its Vote Everywhere campus leaders, other students, and the Florida League of Women Voters successfully sued the State in 2018. A preliminary injunction was granted, allowing early voting on college and university campuses. In granting the motion, the federal court held that Florida was intentionally discriminating against young peoples’ ability to vote in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution.

Notably, in granting the preliminary injunction, the federal court also found the Secretary of State’s original claim – a lack of adequate parking – to “reek of pretext.” The injunction resulted in the establishment of 12 early voting polling sites at 10 Florida colleges and universities and nearly 60,000 people voted at those sites in the November 2018 election. Following the successful litigation and the resulting on-campus early voting sites, Florida’s new election law aims to scale back those gains by erecting new roadblocks to make it more difficult for young voters to access early voting.

“The Andrew Goodman Foundation condemns this latest cynical attempt by the Florida Legislature and Governor to further restrict the voting access of students attending Florida’s colleges and universities across the state. While these voter suppression schemes have become more “sophisticated,” their intent and impact remain the same – to disenfranchise young voters. This new law is nothing more than a shameful attempt to circumvent the 2018 injunction that we secured from the Federal Court to allow early voting on Florida’s colleges and universities. Voting is a fundamental right and we will continue to vigorously fight to protect it for all Americans, including students,” David Goodman, President of The Andrew Goodman Foundation.

Click here to read the amended complaint.

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 young leaders, engaging low-propensity 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 Freedom Summer volunteer and champion of equality and voting rights who was murdered by the KKK in 1964 at 20 years old while registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi.