Absentee drop boxes can't be used in Wisconsin, judge rules
A judge in Wisconsin ruled on Thursday that absentee ballot drop boxes cannot be used in the state.
State of play: Absentee ballots can be returned via mail or in person, but under state law, drop boxes are not allowed, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren said.
- Bohren said he will finalize an injunction mandating that Wisconsin's Election Commission stop advising that drop boxes can be used.
The big picture: Ballot drop boxes were widely used in Wisconsin during the 2020 election due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- There were 500 boxes available in the state at the time, according to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
- Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson are up for re-election this year.
What they're saying: "In looking at the statutes, there is no specific authorization for drop boxes," Bohren said.
- "The Elections Commission ought to be required to more carefully follow the traditional mandates of Wisconsin law when they make major policy decisions."
- The lawsuit was brought by two Wisconsin voters who asked the judge to block the use of drop boxes, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The other side: Thursday's "ruling creates new barriers for Wisconsinites to vote absentee," tweeted Jeff Mandell, an attorney who represented Disability Rights Wisconsin and other groups in favor of keeping drop boxes in place.
- "In the midst of the Omicron surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. If it goes into effect, this ruling will prevent some people from casting their ballots," he added.
What to watch: The ruling is expected to be appealed, per AP.