Jul 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Wisconsin Supreme Court says absentee voter drop boxes are illegal

Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee election commission collects the count from absentee ballots from a voting machine on November 04, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Claire Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee election commission collects the count from absentee ballots on November 4, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Wisconsin's conservative-led Supreme Court ruled Friday that absentee voter drop boxes are illegal under the state's constitution.

Why it matters: The ruling is a victory for Republicans. Many in the party, including former President Trump, have falsely alleged the 2020 election was rigged and that ballot drop boxes may facilitated voter fraud.

The big picture: Absentee voting and drop boxes surged in popularity during the pandemic, with more than 40% of all voters casting mail ballots during the 2020 election.

  • The ruling is a blow to Democrats in the battleground state before the 2022 and 2024 elections. Biden narrowly beat Trump in Wisconsin by just under 21,000 votes in 2020.

Driving the news: The court ruled that Wisconsin voters will be required to mail or return completed absentee ballots in person to designated officials.

  • Voters will also only be allowed to return absentee ballots in drop boxes in elected officials' offices, per the court.
  • "Wisconsin's election statutes require that to return an absentee ballot in person, voters must personally deliver their ballot to the clerk or the clerk's authorized representative," the conservative majority court wrote in the Friday opinion.
  • The court did not address the question of whether anyone other than the voter can return their own ballot by mail, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Go deeper... Florida lawmakers pass bill restricting mail voting, drop boxes

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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