Friday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court delivered a victory for ballot integrity and the credibility of the voting process. By a 4-3 vote, the Court ruled that Wisconsin law prohibited the use of ballot “drop boxes” in most circumstances and outlawed the vote-fraud tactic of ballot harvesting. You can read the genesis of this case here: Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Rules Absentee Ballot Boxes Illegal.
It’s a ruling feared by voting rights proponents, who said ahead of time such a decision would make it harder for voters — particularly those with disabilities — to return their absentee ballots. Many Republicans hoped for a ruling that they said would help prevent someone from casting a ballot in the name of someone else.
The 4-3 ruling came a month before the state’s Aug. 9 primaries, when voters will narrow the fields for governor and U.S. senator. Both contests in this battleground state are being closely watched nationally.
For years, ballot drop boxes were used without controversy across Wisconsin. Election clerks greatly expanded their use in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic as absentee voting hit unprecedented levels.
The state’s high court on Friday ruled that means voters themselves must return absentee ballots and cannot use drop boxes.
Wisconsin law says no person may “receive a ballot from or give a ballot to a person other than the election official in charge.” Those bringing the lawsuit argued that policy must be strictly followed, meaning it would be illegal for someone to drop their elderly parents’ ballots off for them or for church members to gather ballots after a service and then take them to a clerk’s office.
The majority agreed with that assessment.
Republicans have been most concerned about large-scale efforts to collect ballots by partisan actors. While some have engaged in that practice in other states, neither side deployed extensive operations for ballot collection in Wisconsin in 2020, when Joe Biden narrowly defeated President Donald Trump in the state.
The lower court ruled that ballots returned by mail could be placed into mailboxes only by voters themselves — a finding that alarmed advocates for the disabled because some voters physically cannot get to the polls or place their ballots in the mail.
Read the rest at redstate.com.