July 6, 2024

WI high court rules absentee drop boxes can be used in November

One of the ways that Donald Trump and his followers are saying that the 2020 election was stolen was through the use of drop-boxes, absentee ballots, and other alternative voting methods.

According to Wisconsin's high court, that's going to continue in 2024.

In a 4-3 decision, Wisconsin's liberal Supreme Court ruled that "dropping off an absentee ballot did constitute as returning it to a 'municipal clerk,' reversing itself from its previous decision made by the then-conservative majority court arguing that it could be dropped off only at election offices."

"By mandating that an absentee ballot be returned not to the ‘municipal clerk’s office,’ but ‘to the municipal clerk,’ the legislature disclaimed the idea that the ballot must be delivered to a specific location and instead embraced delivery of an absentee ballot to a person — the ‘municipal clerk,’" said Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who wrote for the majority.

"Given this, the question then becomes whether delivery to a drop box constitutes delivery ‘to the municipal clerk,'" Bradley continued.

"We conclude that it does. A drop box is set up, maintained, secured, and emptied by the municipal clerk. This is the case even if the drop box is in a location other than the municipal clerk’s office," said the majority opinion. "As analyzed, the statute does not specify a location to which a ballot must be returned and requires only that the ballot be delivered to a location the municipal clerk, within his or her discretion, designates."

While Republicans might not be thrilled to learn about the decision, liberals certainly are.

"Today’s ruling affirms a basic principle: a democracy, we should make it easier for eligible voters to cast a ballot—not impose barriers based on conspiracy theories," said Ben Wikler, the state Democratic party chair.

"By restoring access to safe and secure ballot drop boxes, the Court has ensured voters in communities across Wisconsin—cities big and small, in red areas and blue areas—are able to exercise their right to vote in a way that works for them," he added.

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