Home News Wisconsin judge says state can no longer use ballot drop boxes

Wisconsin judge says state can no longer use ballot drop boxes

by J.C McCallum
Wisconsin judge says state can no longer use ballot drop boxes

A Wisconsin judge ruled last week that the state cannot use ballot drop boxes because state law doesn’t allow it:

JSONLINE – A Waukesha County judge ruled Thursday that absentee ballot drop boxes can’t be used in Wisconsin, potentially upending aspects of the spring elections and the fall’s high-profile contests for governor and U.S. Senate.

After hearing three hours of arguments, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren determined state law allows absentee ballots to be returned in person or by mail — but not in a ballot drop box.

“It’s all good and nice, but there’s no authority to do it,” Bohren said of the use of drop boxes.

He said he would finalize an injunction in 10 days ordering the state Elections Commission to withdraw long-standing advice to municipal clerks around the state that says they can use absentee ballot drop boxes.

Drop boxes have long been available in some Wisconsin communities, but their use expanded greatly in 2020 when absentee voting exploded because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 500 of them were available during the presidential election, according to a database compiled by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Bohren’s ruling barring the use of drop boxes — if it survives an almost-certain appeal — will affect how ballots can be returned in next month’s low-turnout primary for the spring elections. It will have more far-reaching consequences in the fall, when far more people vote.

Bohren’s ruling also prevents voters from having someone else return their absentee ballots for them. That means political groups can’t pick up ballots for voters — a practice that has not been widely used in Wisconsin.

His decision also will prevent voters from giving their ballots to their spouses and neighbors to return for them.

The decision could also prevent officials from holding events like “Democracy in the Park,” which Madison staged in 2020 to allow voters to return absentee ballots to poll workers who were stationed in parks.

This is certainly a victory, as Wisconsin is one of the states where ballot shenanigans are believed to have occurred. A judge in Wisconsin just allowed a GOP audit of the 2020 election to proceed.

Hopefully this ruling will stand up to appeals.

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