The Wisconsin Supreme Court prohibits the use of most ballot boxes

Voting rights groups and Democrats have argued that restricting ballot boxes would make it especially difficult for some residents to vote. People with disabilities. Meanwhile, conservative interests in Wisconsin say voting procedures used in the state during the 2020 election, such as the widespread use of ballot boxes, violated state law and opened the door to potential fraud.

State law does not address ballot boxes, but in a 4-3 ruling Friday, the court’s majority said the absence of an absolute ban does not mean they are legal. “Ballot boxes appear nowhere in the elaborate statutory framework for absentee voting,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote.

The majority ruled that Wisconsin Commission on Elections — a six-member panel that helps oversee voting in the state — overstepped its authority in the 2020 election when it directed local election clerks to allow the use of drop boxes to return absentee ballots during the height of the pandemic. . In its ruling, the court said a voter can drop off absentee ballots at the clerk’s office or other designated site — but not at an unmanned ballot box.

The justices did not address whether someone could mail a ballot on behalf of another voter — leaving open the possibility of some third-party ballot collection.

The decision comes a month before Wisconsin’s Aug. 9 primaries and establishes the ground rules for the state’s high-stakes elections this year. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, is up for re-election in a race that will help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. And the 2024 presidential race will drive the outcome in Wisconsin and a handful of battleground states.
In A statement On Friday, Evers called the decision “another victory in a long line of Wisconsin Republicans that makes it harder to exercise their right to vote, undermines our free, fair and secure elections and threatens our democracy.”

Rick Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which challenged drop boxes and collected ballots on behalf of other voters — said the decision provides “substantial clarity.”

“Wisconsin voters can trust that state law, not (the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s) guidelines, has the final word on how Wisconsin elections are conducted,” he said. Report Posted on Twitter.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission’s guidance on relaxing voting procedures during the pandemic has faced fierce criticism — including calls for Remove the bilateral body — from some Wisconsin Republicans President Joe Biden Won the state by less than 21,000 votes in 2020.

Drop boxes have gained popularity in recent elections in the Badger State: More than 520 ballot boxes were used in the 2020 general election, according to the numbers cited, and that number increased to 570 in 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. At the end of Friday.

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This story has been updated with additional information.

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