The Wisconsin Supreme Court has banned absentee ballot drop boxes in the state, so they will not be able to use them no matter what happens with COVID.
Justice Rebecca Bradley and the court’s conservative majority, including swing Justice Brian Hagedorn, ruled on the issue in 2022.
“Nothing in the statutory language detailing the procedures by which absentee ballots may be cast mentions drop boxes or anything like them,” Bradley wrote in the ruling.
— ✟ Right Scoop ✟ (@trscoop) September 23, 2023
“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 continued. “Good intentions never override the law.”
Additionally, voters must personally deliver absentee ballots to the clerk’s office. Others, including roommates and spouses, will not be allowed to deliver ballots for them.
“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.
Liberals on the court argued in their dissent that the ruling would make it harder for people to vote.
“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,” wrote Justice Ann Walsh Bradley. “A ballot drop box is a simple and perfectly legal solution to make voting easier, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. But it is apparently a bridge too far for a majority of this court.”
WPR reported at the time:
According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, there were 528 drop boxes in use in the 2020 presidential election spread across 430 municipalities. By the spring of 2021, local officials reported a total of 570 drop boxes spread across 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
The state’s Democrat Governor Tony Evers condemned the ruling in a post to X.
“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,” Evers wrote.
Today’s #SCOWIS 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. Read my full statement ⬇ pic.twitter.com/CBOwLoYveP
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) July 8, 2022
Read the court’s full ruling here.