Wisconsin governor urges state Supreme Court to revoke restrictions on absentee ballot drop boxes

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin, urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the ruling on Tuesday that prohibited absentee ballot boxes outside the offices of the election clerks in this presidential battleground.

Evers filed a motion the day before Wisconsin’s primary presidential election asking the court to reverse a ruling from 2022 that restricted drop box locations. Donald Trump, the former president, claimed that drop-boxes were responsible for voter fraud in 2020 when he lost Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s highest court was dominated by conservative justices during that time. Since then, the court has shifted to a liberal majority. The current justices have agreed to review the case brought forth by Priorities USA, an activist group for liberal voters, and Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Voters. Oral arguments will be held on May 13.

Wisconsin’s law does not mention drop boxes. Liberals argue that this means it is legal to distribute drop boxes around communities. Evers claimed in his filing on Tuesday that the 2022 court misinterpreted returning a ballot to a clerk.

The filing states that “depositing a vote into a dropbox maintained by the municipal secretary is a personal deliver to the municipal secretary in much the same manner as a voter drops a ballot in the mailbox and does not wait to see it collected by the postman,”

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Since 2010, drop boxes have been in use in Wisconsin. However, their popularity exploded during the first year following the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. In 2020, more than 500 drop boxes were installed in more than 435 communities, including over a dozen in each of Madison and Milwaukee, two of the most heavily Democratic cities in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is one of the few battleground states for presidential elections, so its voting rules are of particular interest. Wisconsin has seen four of its six presidential elections decided by less that a percentage point. The last two were also among them.

According to the U.S. Vote Foundation, at least 29 states permit absentee ballot boxes to be placed in locations other than voting offices.

Evers stated in a press release that “all across the country, election officials use drop boxes to make sure all eligible voters are able to freely cast their votes.” Drop box voting is secure and safe, and Wisconsin’s election law does not prohibit local clerks using this option.