Ballot Boxes REINSTATED – Wisconsin Governor Pleased While Others Oppose

Election Ballot Box Daily Report July 06,2024

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that election officials can use ballot drop boxes for the 2024 presidential contest following a seven-vote margin on an overarching state Republican challenge to voter practices in Dane County – overturning two lower courts’ orders barring them because nowhere in state law is there specific permission.

The liberal justices of the court voted 4-3, saying Wisconsin law allows for ballot drop boxes to be used in absentee voting and that city election clerks are permitted to utilize them as part of their responsibilities with respect to administering elections. Democrats welcomed the ruling, while Republicans criticized it.

“Our decision today does not force or require that any municipal clerks use drop boxes. It merely acknowledges what [state law] has always meant: that clerks may lawfully utilize secure drop boxes in an exercise of their statutorily-conferred discretion,” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote.

Friday’s ruling reverses a July 2022, conservative-majority decision from the same courts that prohibited unmanned ballot drop boxes. When liberal Judge Janet Protasiewicz beat a conservative candidate in the Supreme Court election last year, Democrats renewed their fight against the ban on ballot drop boxes.

The three conservative justices on the court dissented in challenging terms, saying that “the majority again forsakes the rule of law in an attempt to advance its political agenda.”

Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote: “The majority ends the term by loosening the legislature’s regulations governing the privilege of absentee voting in the hopes of tipping the scales in future elections.”

She said the majority decision would “legitimize any method of getting absentee ballots to a municipal clerk that the clerk may choose.”

“An unattended cardboard box on the clerk’s driveway? An unsecured sack sitting outside the local library or on a college campus? Door-to-door retrieval from voters’ homes or dorm rooms? Under the majority’s logic, because the statute doesn’t expressly forbid such methods of ballot delivery, they are perfectly lawful,” she wrote. 

Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) applauded the ruling, saying it is a “victory for democracy” and declared his intent to continue fighting to ensure that every eligible voter can safely, securely cast their ballot as easily as possible so they can have their voices heard.

Wisconsin GOP Chair Brian Schimming said he was “disappointed” in the ruling.

“In a setback for both the separation of powers and public trust in our elections, the left-wing justices on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin have obeyed the demands of their out-of-state donors at the expense of Wisconsin,” he said. “This latest attempt by leftist justices to placate their far-left backers will not go unanswered by voters.”

Wisconsin is expected to be one of the key states that determine the 2024 presidential election.

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