Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has just dealt a huge blow to President Joe Biden and the Democrats by outlawing the use of controversial unmanned ballot drop boxes for elections.
The high court ruled that the use of ballot drop boxes is illegal under state law.
All drop-off ballots must be delivered in person to the clerk’s office.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court’s majority said voters can’t have other people return their completed ballots in person to a clerk’s office as well.
“Justice Rebecca Bradley, writing for the majority, said that under state law ballots must be returned to a clerk’s office or another designated site, not an ‘inanimate object’ such as an unstaffed box,” According to US News.
“Only the legislature may permit absentee voting via ballot drop boxes,” Bradley wrote.
In dissent, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley – joined by the court’s two other liberals – said the decision erected a new barrier to voting with little justification.
“Although it pays lip service to the import of the right to vote, the majority/lead opinion has the practical effect of making it more difficult to exercise it,” she wrote.
Wisconsin’s Democrat Governor Tony Evans said:
“Today’s decision is another in a long line of Wisconsin Republicans’ successes to make it harder for Wisconsinites to exercise their right to vote, to undermine our free, fair, and secure elections, and to threaten our democracy.”
Robin Vos, the Republican leader in the state assembly, said:
“Our next step has to be electing a new governor who will sign additional election reforms.”
The court’s 4-3 ruling has critical implications in the 2024 presidential race, in which Wisconsin will again be among a handful of battleground states.
President Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in 2020 by just under 21,000 votes, four years after Trump narrowly won the state by a similar margin.
The popularity of absentee voting exploded during the pandemic in 2020, with more than 40% of all voters casting mail ballots, a record high.
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 state’s two most heavily Democratic cities.
“Nothing in the statutory language detailing the procedures by which absentee ballots may be cast mentions drop boxes or anything like them,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority.
The court said absentee ballots can be returned only to the clerk’s office or a designated alternative site but that site cannot be an unstaffed drop box.
The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission had told local election officials the boxes can be placed at multiple locations and that ballots can be returned by people other than the voter, but put that on hold pending the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Rick Esenberg, president of the conservative law firm that brought the case, said the ruling “provides substantial clarity on the legal status of absentee ballot drop boxes and ballot harvesting.”
He said it also makes clear that state law, not guidance from the Elections Commission, is the final word on how elections are run.
In 4-3 decision, Wisconsin Supreme Court bans the use of ballot drop boxes. https://t.co/Y9zVM3v1NV
— Patrick Marley (@patrickdmarley) July 8, 2022
BREAKING: Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballot drop boxes may be placed only in election offices. The court did not address whether anyone other than the voter can return his or her own ballot by mail. https://t.co/SQVUYFKMrE
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 8, 2022
Huge victory for election integrity!
The Wisconsin Supreme Court just ruled that state legislatures – not unelected bureaucrats – should decide the use of absentee ballot drop boxes.
The RNC submitted an amicus brief in the case which the court cited in its opinion. (1/2)
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 8, 2022