Wisconsin Supreme Court bans absentee ballot drop boxes

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News July 8, 2022

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Friday essentially banned absentee ballot drop boxes, ruling that the boxes may be placed only in election offices and that no one other than the voter can return a ballot in person.

The court said absentee ballots can be returned only to the clerk’s office or a designated alternative site but that site cannot be an unstaffed drop box.

Rick Esenberg, president of the conservative law firm that brought the case, said the ruling “provides substantial clarity on the legal status of absentee ballot drop boxes and ballot harvesting.” He said it also makes clear that state law, not guidance from the Elections Commission, is the final word on how elections are run.

At least 500 drop boxes were set up in more than 430 communities in Wisconsin during the 2020 election, including more than a dozen each in Madison and Milwaukee — the state’s two most heavily Democrat cities.

The court didn’t address whether anyone other than the voter can return his or her own ballot by mail. That means that anyone could still collect multiple ballots for voters and, instead of using a drop box, put them in the mail.

Republicans have argued that practice, known as ballot harvesting, is ripe with fraud. It was documented extensively in Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary “2000 Mules”.

The ruling was seen as a huge setback for Democrats who said the decision would make it harder to vote in the battleground state.

The decision sets absentee ballot rules for the Aug. 9 primary and the November general election. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson and Democrat Gov. Tony Evers are seeking reelection in key Wisconsin races.

“This decision is a big step in the right direction,” Johnson said of the Friday ruling.

“It’s a slap in the face of democracy itself,” said Democrat Party Chairman Ben Wikler.

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