The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled to uphold a temporary ban on the use of drop boxes for the state’s upcoming spring elections.
Opponents of the use of drop boxes argue the law only allows two specific ways to cast an absentee ballot in the state: through the U.S. mail or delivered in person to a municipal clerk.
“Wisconsin voters deserve certainty that elections are conducted fairly and in accordance with state law. But the Wisconsin Elections Commission is giving advice to clerks that is contrary to the law, putting the ballots of countless voters at risk,” said Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg, the group that filed the lawsuit.
The recent ruling handed down from the court is not a final decision on the merits of the case, as it only addresses a request to stay the original ban of the boxes.
Nevertheless, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway decried the ruling, calling the decision an “attack on voting” and “racist voter suppression.”
“It is deeply disappointing that the majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court decided to institute two sets of rules for the same election cycle, sowing confusion by allowing secure ballot drop boxes for the primary and locking them shut for the general election,” she said.
“Worse, the court has not heard the facts of the case yet and gives absolutely no justification for this ruling. Plaintiffs argue that ballot drop boxes are not mentioned in the law and so they are prohibited. This is a weak argument, since clerks across Wisconsin took a variety of measures to keep voters safe during the pandemic, including curbside voting, providing PPE and hand sanitizer at the polls, increasing the wage when poll workers were in short supply, and purchasing drop boxes to facilitate absentee voting when trouble at the post office threatened the right to vote.”
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Wisconsin Daily Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Satya Rhodes-Conway” by Madison. Background Photo “Ballot Drop Box” by Cliffordsnow. CC BY-SA 4.0.