Wis. Supreme Court rules ballot drop boxes unlawful ahead of fall elections

With fall elections around the corner, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday that a widely used elections practice is unlawful.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 6:17 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With fall elections around the corner, the state Supreme Court challenged a widely used elections practice.

The conservative-dominated court said absentee ballot drop boxes outside of clerks’ offices are unlawful. It also ruled only voters can return their own ballots in person.

The court did not address Friday whether anyone besides the voter can return the ballot by mail.

This decision challenges how voting has looked in Dane County for decades. The court’s opinion, as written by Justice Rebecca Bradley, cited 570 drop boxes used around 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties for the spring 2021 election.

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, said, “This decision is a big step in the right direction.”

Also looking forward are other members of the GOP, like Scott Grabins, chair of the Republican Party of Dane County.

“I certainly don’t believe this ruling is going to have a negative impact on the turnout,” he said. “What’s really going to drive voter turnout is enthusiasm for the candidates that are on the ballot.”

Democrats said the ruling will make it harder to vote, especially for seniors or those with disabilities.

Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said, “What I have seen from Wisconsinites is when they see someone trying to take away their right to vote, when they see someone trying to put obstacles in their path, that can actually rev people up and lead people to turn out in greater numbers. So I think this will politically backfire on the Republicans.”

Gov. Tony Evers, up for reelection in the fall, said, “Anytime we make it more difficult for people to vote, we take a chink out of the armor for democracy.”

The Wisconsin Elections Commission, a defendant in the case, declined to comment Friday. A spokesperson said the group is still reviewing the decision and will discuss on Tuesday.

Copyright 2022 WMTV. All rights reserved.