Politics

Wisconsin Supreme Court Limits Use Of Absentee Drop Boxes In Win For GOP

REUTERS/Bing Guan

Mary Rooke Staff Writer
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The Wisconsin Supreme Court limited the location of absentee ballot drop boxes in a Friday ruling, giving the Republican Party a significant victory one month before the state’s Aug. 9 primary.

Absentee drop boxes are illegal unless located in election offices, according to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 ruling.

“If the right to vote is to have any meaning at all, elections must be conducted according to law,” wrote Justice Rebecca Bradley for the majority.

The court ruled that the Wisconsin Election Commission’s (WEC) memos expanding absentee drop box locations in the state violated the voters’ right to participate in elections appropriately administered under state law.

“Allowing WEC to administer the 2022 elections in a manner other than that required by law causes doubts about the fairness of the elections and erodes voter confidence in the electoral process,” the court stated.

Ballot drop boxes are not alternative absentee ballot sites under Wisconsin law because a voter cannot request and vote at the drop box site, the court stated. The ruling also stated absentee drop boxes were not enacted by the legislative branch but instead were a creation of executive branch officials and are outside Wisconsin voting laws.

“Only the legislature may permit absentee voting via ballot drop boxes. WEC cannot. Ballot drop boxes appear nowhere in the detailed statutory system for absentee voting,” wrote Bradley.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the Circuit Court’s January ruling that absentee ballots can only be turned in through the mail or in person at an election office, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. (RELATED: Wisconsin Supreme Court: No, You Can’t Use A Transgender Name Change To Duck Sex Offender Registry)

“An absentee ballot must be returned by mail or the voter must personally deliver it to the municipal clerk at the clerk’s office or a designated alternate site,” the court stated.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ pursuit to fire a Republican appointee to the Wisconsin Board of Natural Resources (DNR board) on July 1.

The court’s ruling blocked Evers from being able to make provisional appointments to unelected positions while the state Senate is in the process of approving the governor’s nominees and prevented the governor from removing these appointees without cause.