Ruling Regarding Banning of Ballot Drop Boxes Overturned by Wisconsin Supreme Court
July 5, 2024

Lake Country Tribune

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Friday to reinstate the use of most ballot drop boxes across the state, reversing a decision made less than two years ago that banned their use. The court’s decision clarified that while municipal clerks are not required to use drop boxes, they are permitted to do so at their discretion, recognizing the lawful utilization of secure drop boxes.

This ruling, anticipated after the court’s liberal justices indicated their stance during oral arguments in May, is expected to have significant implications for the 2024 presidential election in this crucial battleground state. The decision effectively allows the widespread use of ballot drop boxes, potentially impacting voter accessibility and election outcomes, according to NBC News.

The Associated Press added that “At least 29 other states allow for absentee ballot drop boxes, according to the U.S. Vote Foundation, and expanded use in Wisconsin could have major implications in the presidential race.”

RELATED: Immigration a Growing Issue in Wisconsin Congressional Race

The Background

During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Democrats encouraged the use of ballot drop boxes, a practice they are expected to continue this fall, while Republicans have claimed it leads to widespread voter fraud. However, some Republicans are now urging their voters to use drop boxes in anticipation of the recent ruling. The Wisconsin Elections Commission funded the expanded use of drop boxes during the pandemic, and Friday’s decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reinstate them marks the latest development in the state’s evolving election landscape.

In July 2022, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballots could only be dropped off at election clerks’ offices, not in any other drop boxes, asserting that only the GOP-controlled state Legislature had the authority to set laws and policies on this matter. However, after liberals regained the court majority in 2023, the Democratic group Priorities USA filed a suit to overturn the 2022 ruling, arguing that the decision was flawed because Wisconsin law does not explicitly address the issue of drop boxes.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s four liberal justices voted to take up the case, agreeing to determine whether the previous ruling was incorrectly decided, but did not address other issues raised in the suit.

This is a ongoing story, stay tuned for updates.

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