The state of Wisconsin will no longer be able to use absentee ballot drop boxes as they did three years using COVID as an excuse.
The conservative majority of the state’s high court ruled that the boxes are illegal and that when someone delivers an absentee ballot to the clerk’s office, it must be done by the voter and not someone else.
Here’s more from Wisconsin Public Radio:
Absentee ballot drop boxes won’t be allowed in Wisconsin under a ruling handed down Friday by a divided Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The court’s conservative majority also ruled that it’s illegal for someone else, like a spouse or roommate, to return a voter’s completed absentee ballot to the clerk’s office. The voter must carry out that task personally.
The majority decision was written by Justice Rebecca Bradley and joined by the rest of the court’s conservative majority, including swing Justice Brian Hagedorn.
Both rulings mean absentee voting in Wisconsin’s 2022 election and beyond won’t be as convenient as it was two years ago when it surged during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nothing in the statutory language detailing the procedures by which absentee ballots may be cast mentions drop boxes or anything like them,” Bradley wrote.
The justices ruled that the Wisconsin Elections Commission exceeded their authority with the drop boxes in 2020:
The Wisconsin Elections Commission issued guidance in 2020 providing local clerks with advice on the best practices for unstaffed drop boxes if they chose to use them. Bradley wrote that guidance exceeded the WEC’s authority.
“WEC’s staff may have been trying to make voting as easy as possible during the pandemic, but whatever their motivations, WEC must follow Wisconsin statutes,” Bradley wrote. “Good intentions never override the law.”
Bradley also wrote that absentee ballots delivered in person at a clerk’s office must be delivered by a voter, and no one else.
“Reading the election statutes in context and as a whole, we conclude an absentee ballot delivered in person … must be delivered personally by the voter,” Bradley wrote.
Finally common sense prevails in the state of Wisconsin and hopefully it will help keep the 2024 election more secure in this blue state.