Judge: WI Ballot Drop Boxes Not Permitted Under State Law
Friday, January 14, 2022
During Wisconsin's pandemic elections, absentee ballot drop boxes offered a different route for people to cast their votes, but a new decision in Waukesha County Circuit Court could bar their use in future elections.
Luke Berg, deputy counsel at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, argued in a Thursday hearing for the group's lawsuit, drop boxes aren't mentioned anywhere in state law and therefore, are not permitted.
"What that means is there are no procedures, there are no requirements, there are no limitations on drop boxes, if they are allowed," Berg contended. "There are no restrictions on where they can go, on how many there can be, on how secure they should be."
An attorney for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, the defendant in the suit, countered the drop boxes are covered under existing absentee-voting rules. Attorneys for intervening parties in the case also claimed the plaintiffs, two Waukesha County residents, did not have legal standing to bring the suit.
The Associated Press reports the judge's decision will still allow drop boxes at municipal clerks' offices. An appeal in the case is likely.
Steven Kilpatrick, assistant Attorney General, pushed back on the assertion the state lacks formal rules for drop boxes. He said the Commission has established guidelines for their installation and operation.
"The Commission is not advocating or recommending that municipal clerks leave a shoebox on a park bench to collect absentee ballots," Kilpatrick stressed.
Wisconsin GOP lawmakers have waged a months-long battle to restrict absentee voting. In August, Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a bill which would have restricted drop-box locations.
According to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, more than 500 absentee-ballot drop boxes were established across the state ahead of the November 2020 election.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Statistics show thanks to the pandemic, Americans are now glued to their digital devices an average of 13 hours a day, up from 7 or 8 hours a day …
As Democrats in Congress struggle to get enough votes to pass new federal voter protections, Denver's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day "Marade" - a …
Today, the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, comes a chance to put our ideals into action on the sixth annual National Day of Racial …
Health and Wellness
As many Virginia schools pivot back to temporary virtual learning, some students are spending more time in front of screens. In response, the …
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments through the end of this month regarding a proposal which would sharply reduce m…
Connecticut has secured its first National Estuarine Research Reserve along part of the state's Long Island Sound. Conservationists applaud the news …
Proposed legislation would end subsidies for wood-burning power plants in Massachusetts by removing biomass as an eligible fuel source for the Commonw…
New Mexico's short, 30-day legislative session starts today with a focus on budget issues. Nonetheless, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer …