Ballot boxes in Wisconsin are to remain banned in the upcoming April primary elections in the state. The Wisconsin Supreme Court voted Friday to keep these ballot boxes banned for the upcoming election.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) issued memos to Wisconsin clerks in March and August of 2020 encouraging their use, stating that absentee ballots do not need to be mailed by the voter or delivered by the voter, in person, to the municipal clerk but instead could be dropped into a dropbox. According to WEC, ballot drop boxes can be unstaffed, temporary, or permanent.
But this broke Wisconsin law so a local attorney attempted to get ballot boxes removed through the courts since they had not been put in place by the legislature. This contradicted the Wisconsin Constitution requirements. But her case was eventually dismissed without comment by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
A couple of weeks ago a judge in Waukesha County addressed the subject and banned the use of ballot boxes in the upcoming election.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Waukesha County voters in June 2021 challenging the legal status of absentee ballot drop boxes after WEC issued unlawful guidance to clerks, in 2020, encouraging the use of absentee ballot drop boxes, and telling voters that anyone else can return their ballot for them.
This case was appealed to the Appeals Court. There the court stayed the action from the lower court and so this went on to the state Supreme Court.
On Friday the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to keep the ballot boxes banned for the upcoming April election.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported:
A closely divided state Supreme Court ruled Friday that it would allow a lower court decision to go into effect that will ban the use of ballot drop boxes for the April election.
Drop boxes can still be used for next week’s primaries and it’s possible the high court will change course and allow them for other elections.
While a final decision is yet to come, Friday’s 4-3 ruling suggests the use of ballot drop boxes could soon come to an end in Wisconsin. Drop boxes became popular during elections in 2020 as the coronavirus spread across the state…
…The majority in Friday’s decision consisted of the four justices who were elected with the support of Republicans. The three justices elected with backing from Democrats were in dissent.
The case appears to hinge on the views of Justice Brian Hagedorn, who was elected with Republican help in 2019.
Last month he joined the liberals in the 4-3 decision that said the drop boxes could be used in February. In Friday’s decision, he sided with the court’s conservatives.
Justice Hagedorn campaigned as a conservative but like so many Republicans of late, his voting record is that of a Democrat. It’s surprising he voted the way he did despite the dropboxes being unconstitutional.