Written by Ashton Snyder on
 May 13, 2024

Wisconsin High Court Revisits Absentee Ballot Drop Box Restrictions

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has taken up a significant case that could redefine absentee voting in the state.

The court is reviewing a prior decision that curtailed the use of absentee ballot drop boxes. Following recent changes to the court's composition, this ruling may be overturned.

According to NBC News, the justices began hearing arguments on Monday on the legitimacy of restricting ballot drop boxes to only election clerks' offices. This issue had been originally settled in July 2022 when the then-conservative majority of the court ruled in favor of the limitations.

Legal Tug-Of-War Over Ballot Access

The backdrop of this legal challenge is marked by a shift in the court’s composition. Following a liberal majority ascendancy in 2023, there has been a renewed push to expand voting accessibility.

Priorities USA, a key player in this legal dispute, argues that the absence of specific bans in Wisconsin law supports the broader use of drop boxes beyond the confines of clerks' offices.

Parties on both sides of the political spectrum have submitted numerous briefs. While Democrat-aligned groups and individuals call for reversing the 2022 decision, conservative factions, including the Wisconsin Republican Party, led by Chairman Brian Schimming, argue in favor of maintaining the status quo.

Diverse Perspectives on Voting Integrity

Jay Heck, the executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, champions the cause of drop boxes, citing their role in facilitating easier access to voting without any substantiated misuse.

“They make voting more accessible and possible for people. That’s the reason we support it,” Heck stated, countering concerns about potential electoral fraud.

Conversely, Schimming articulates a sentiment of uncertainty and frustration with the shifting legal interpretations of voting laws. “The law keeps moving around in this state unnecessarily,” he remarked, expressing concerns about the judiciary acting as a legislative body due to the proximity of the upcoming elections.

Legal Arguments and Future Implications

The Wisconsin Elections Commission relaxed the rules concerning drop boxes at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, aiming to facilitate voter participation during the health crisis. However, the law's silence on the specifics of dropbox usage continues to fuel legal battles.

Priorities USA’s filing compellingly advocates for flexibility in handling absentee ballots: “Nothing prevents municipal clerks from agreeing to accept ballots at locations other than their own offices, including via secure ballot drop boxes placed elsewhere.” This statement underscores the ongoing legal debate and the lack of explicit restrictions in current state law.

The rapid escalation of this case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, bypassing lower appellate courts, underscores its importance and urgency. The liberal justices’ decision to accept the case in March for a focused review on the validity of the 2022 decision suggests potential shifts in the state’s voting landscape.

In conclusion, the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision on using absentee ballot drop boxes has broad implications for voting accessibility in the state. As the justices deliberate, both sides await a ruling that could significantly influence voter turnout and how elections are conducted in Wisconsin. The debate underscores the delicate balance between ensuring electoral integrity and providing broad access to voting facilities.

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About Ashton Snyder

Independent conservative news without a leftist agenda.
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