Wisconsin Reinstates Ballot Drop-Boxes After Ruling From Democrat-Controlled Supreme Court


The Democrat-controlled Wisconsin Supreme a court ruled Friday that state officials can place drop boxes around their communities in this November’s elections, reversing a previous decision made by a Republican-controlled court. Election integrity advocates have long criticized the use of drop boxes due to lack of oversight.

The court previously limited the use of drop boxes in July 2022, ruling that they could only be placed in local election clerks’ offices. In addition, the court ruled that ballots could only be dropped off by the person who filled them out.

This represented a massive deviation from 2020, when ballot “mules” were allowed to drop off ballots from other people with no oversight. Such mules were observed dropping off large piles of ballots in multiple states in the weeks leading up to the 2020 election.

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Conservatives controlled the court at the time of the previous ruling, though control shifted last year with the election of liberal justice Janet Protasiewicz. Sensing an opportunity, the left-wing voter mobilization group Priorities USA asked the court to revisit the decision this past February.

The justices announced in March they would review the ban on drop boxes but wouldn’t consider any other parts of the case. Conservatives on the court were critical of the decision, arguing that liberal justices were attempting to give Democrats an advantage this fall.

On Friday, the court ruled 4-3 that ballot drop boxes can be utilized in any location.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, one of the court’s four liberal justices, wrote in the court’s majority opinion that placing a ballot in a drop box is no different than delivering it to a local election clerk. “Our decision today does not force or require that any municipal clerks use drop boxes,” Bradley wrote. “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.”

All three conservative justices dissented to the ruling. Justice Rebecca Bradley argued that her liberal justices made a politically motivated ruling that defies precedent set by the previous case.

“The majority in this case overrules (the 2022 decision) not because it is legally erroneous, but because the majority finds it politically inconvenient,” Bradley wrote. “The majority’s activism marks another triumph of political power over legal principle in this court.”

Wisconsin — which is projected to be one of the most crucial swing states in the upcoming election — saw a massive increase in mail-in and absentee voting in 2020. More than 40 percent of votes cast were done so through mail or absentee voting, smashing previous records.

At least 500 drop boxes were set up in more than 430 communities for the election that year, including more than a dozen each in Madison and Milwaukee, the AP reported. Both cities are Democrat strongholds.

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