Werner v. Dankmeyer
On Friday, July 21, on behalf of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and Common Cause Wisconsin, Law Forward filed an amicus brief in La Crosse County Circuit Court in defense of youth voters. The plaintiff in that case is asking the Court to create barriers to college students voting in the places where they live, work, and study. Our brief explains that this would violate both the United States Constitution and the Wisconsin Constitution.
We partnered on this brief with 26th Amendment scholar Yael Bromberg of Bromberg Law LLC. Attorney Bromberg’s scholarship explains that the 26th Amendment, which gave 18-20 year-olds the right to vote and outlawed age discrimination in ballot access, established a protected class – youth – and a protected classification – age – with regard to ballot access. Our brief explains how the plaintiff’s request for the court to create a presumption that student voters may not vote in the towns where they study and live would run afoul of this amendment. We also explain that the Wisconsin Constitution offers strong protections of the right to vote, which the plaintiffs’ lawsuit seeks to undermine.
This case is just one example of a disturbing trend of attacks on the youth vote. But in our democracy, every vote counts. Young voters have important contributions to make to our democracy, and they deserve to have their voices heard. Law Forward will continue to work to protect and advance the rights of all voters.
La Crosse County Circuit Court
July 21, 2023
September 19, 2023
The La Crosse County Circuit Court ruled in favor of student voting rights and orderly election administration. The plaintiff in Werner v. Dankmeyer argued, among other things, that college students should face additional, unconstitutional barriers to exercising their right to vote. The Court held that the plaintiff did not have standing to raise these arguments, and that the arguments, coming after the conclusion of the 2022 election, were both moot (too late) and unripe (too early). On behalf of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and Common Cause WI, and in collaboration with co-counsel Yale Bromberg, we filed an amicus brief in defense of youth voting rights. We celebrate this victory for some of Wisconsin’s youngest voters.