In a refreshingly common-sense decision, a judge in Waukesha County, Wisconsin has ruled that drop boxes cannot be used to collect absentee ballots. Conservatives had filed a lawsuit arguing that state law limits the ways in which ballots can be collected. Judge Michael Bohren agreed, issuing a ruling which will likely have a serious impact when Wisconsin residents vote in the November election.
Drop boxes banned by new ruling
The fact that large numbers of ballots were deposited in drop boxes sparked a conservative backlash after Wisconsin and other swing states were called for Joe Biden.
Absentee voting on such a large scale was unprecedented before the 2020 election when the pandemic allowed states to enact sweeping overhauls to their vote collecting processes.
Republicans have contended that some of these changes made voter fraud far easier than it is in traditional in-person voting.
The judge did not discuss that possibility, but he did decide that the law necessitates that there be some limits in how absentee ballots can be delivered.
Wisconsin had hundreds of drop boxes in place during the 2020 election. Judge Bohren said that election workers had no authority to collect votes from these locations.
State law, according to the judge, allows absentee ballots to be delivered in person or by mail. Drop boxes do not fall into either of those methods.
Political groups can’t collect absentee ballots from voters
The ruling also established that political groups cannot pick up absentee ballots from voters and deliver them on their behalf.
This was reportedly not as common as drop boxes in Wisconsin, but Democrats nationally have been very interested in expanding on this vote collecting method.
In California, for instance, Democrats have ensured that everyone will receive an absentee ballot whether they request it or not. Local Democrats will, of course, be happy to show up at the door to help you with that ballot.
This is a rare defeat for Democrats in their campaign to force extremely lax voting rules on states which still have some reasonable restrictions in place.
Democrats claim that Republican efforts to put a stop to drop boxes and other unconventional vote collecting methods are part of a war against democracy.
They will almost certainly appeal the judge’s ruling ahead of the November elections, in which Wisconsin will elect a governor and a senator.