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Wisconsin Supreme Court Reopens Ballot Drop Box Ban Decision

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is reopening the debate over ballot drop boxes.

The liberal-majority court accepted a case that looks to overturn Wisconsin’s current ban on ballot drop boxes.

The former conservative-majority court, ruled Wisconsin law does not allow for ballot drop boxes at any place except the election clerk’s office.

“[The Wisconsin Elections Commission] staff may have been trying to make voting as easy as possible during the pandemic,” conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in 2022. “But whatever their motivations, WEC must follow Wisconsin statutes. Good intentions never override the law.”

But Democrats and activists argued state law didn’t specifically ban them, and Wisconsin’s liberal justices argued that a ban on drop boxes was tantamount to voter suppression.

“Although it pays lip service to the import of the right to vote, the majority/lead opinion has the practical effect of making it more difficult to exercise it. Such a result, although lamentable, is not a surprise from this court,” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote in her dissent.

The court’s new case argues ballot drop boxes are “critical for voters … who are unable to vote in person because of disability, scheduling conflicts, lack of transportation, or other hardship.”

Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote Tuesday the liberal-majority court is, once again, trying to play political games.

“By granting this petition to bypass, the majority again aims to increase the electoral prospects of its preferred political party,” Bradley wrote. “Finding the decision politically inconvenient, and emboldened by a new makeup of the court, this new majority embraces the opportunity to overturn (the 2022 ruling in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission). The majority’s decision to do so will upset the status quo of election administration mere months before a presidential election and lead to chaos and confusion for Wisconsin voters and election officials.”

The court will hear oral arguments in the new challenge in May.

Republican lawmakers have tried to ban the use of ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin, but Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed those attempts.

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