A Wisconsin judge has ruled that absentee ballot boxes are not allowed under state law. This means that they cannot be used in the upcoming midterm elections.
Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren issued the ruling that states that there’s no authorization for drop boxes. The Wisconsin Election Commission has been ordered to rescind its guidance on how to use drop boxes, NPR reports.
“In looking at the statutes, there is no specific authorization for drop boxes,” Bohren said.
The ruling was in favor of Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty’s (WILL) lawsuit against the state’s election commission.
The WEC had sent a memo to clerks before the 2020 election that stated: “a family member or another person may also return the ballot on behalf of the voter.” The memo also specified that drop boxes may be used.
“A shoebox on a bench in a park would be legal for collecting ballots,” WILL attorney Luke Berg said. “Now, that’s absurd, of course. But that’s the logical consequence of the position that the commission is taking.”
Judge Bohren noted that despite the Election Commission’s instructions regarding the construction and placement of drop boxes, the law does not permit them. “All of that is good and nice, but there’s no authority to do it,” Bohren said.
Wisconsin law states that no person “may receive a ballot from or give a ballot to a person other than the election official in charge.”
The Wisconsin Elections Commission was given until Jan 27 to rescind the guidance regarding drop boxes, but they plan to appeal.
“Staff and WEC commissioners plan to review the court’s order and consult with legal counsel in the coming days,” WEC spokesperson Riley Vetterkind said in a statement.
Additionally, “the Wisconsin legislature has launched a special counsel investigation into the election, which has focused primarily on the manner in which outside money from groups funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was used to unlawfully influence (and, in the city of Green Bay, possibly even take over) the administration of the presidential election,” The Federalist reports.
The special counsel investigation is expected to conclude by the end of February.