Ballot drop boxes that were installed across the state of Wisconsin during the 2020 election, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, were ultimately declared illegal by the State Supreme Court on Friday in a 4-3 decision.
The Court held that existing state law would prohibit such boxes from becoming permanent and prevents the practice of someone else delivering an individual’s ballot for them, in response to a lawsuit filed in 2021.
“We hold the documents are invalid because ballot drop boxes are illegal under Wisconsin statutes,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority opinion.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission had initially installed the boxes to provide for pandemic relief, but also with the intention of making them available for future elections. The agency guidelines further stated, “a family member or another person” could drop off a ballot on behalf of a registered voter.
That stance, the Court said, is in direct conflict with regulations Wisconsin already has on the books.
“An absentee ballot must be returned by mail or the voter must personally deliver it to the municipal clerk at the clerk’s office or a designated alternate site,” Bradley added in the opinion.
State and federal Democrats have long pushed drop box policies, mail-in voting, and similar systems of change as they feel they would not only hold a voter registration advantage — but these methods have been exposed as being more open to fraud and manipulation, in the form of mass ballot stuffing or ballot dumping.
Setups like these can also lead to bad actors voting in the name of the dead, elderly, and incapacitated — or obtaining ballots for felons and those living in the United States illegally. This tarnishes the final tally and throws the nation’s electoral counts into question.
The decision comes as the court’s conservative majority may be in jeopardy after an election was triggered by the retirement of conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, Wisconsin Examiner reported. State Supreme judges in Wisconsin serve 10-year terms and must run for re-election.
“The election that will decide the partisan leaning of the Wisconsin Supreme Court won’t be held until next April, but two candidates have already jumped into the race,” the Examiner article continues.
The High Court of Wisconsin took an important step today, in restoring the civic pillars of everyday life that helped our republic function prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hopefully, other swing states will follow their lead and allow the lives of their citizenry to get back to normal — especially when it comes to casting their ballots and having their voices heard.
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