Wisconsin Judge Issues Key Ballot Ruling Ahead of 2022 Midterms

A judge in Wisconsin has issued an important ruling regarding ballot drop boxed ahead of the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election.

Ruling on state’s election commission’s order to install ballot drop boxes before the 2020 election, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren noted last week: “It’s all good and nice, but there’s no authority to do it.”

The Daily Wire notes:

Judge Bohren made the determination in response to a lawsuit filed by voters represented by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), The Federalist explained Monday.

Notably, Bohren’s ruling also blocks outsiders from returning a voter’s absentee ballot for them. “That means political groups can’t pick up ballots for voters — a practice that has not been widely used in Wisconsin,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In a press release, WILL said Judge Bohren’s decision bans ballot harvesting.

The plaintiffs “argued that state law allowed for only two methods of returning an absentee ballot: Through the mail or in person at the municipal clerk’s office. Nowhere does it allow for a ballot to be dropped off in a drop box,” The Federalist report noted.

What’s more, Wisconsin law clearly states that no person “may receive a ballot from or give a ballot to a person other than the election official in charge.”

Still, ahead of the 2020 election, the Wisconsin Elections Commission indicated in a memo to clerks that “‘a family member or another person may also return the ballot on behalf of the voter’ and that ballots could be returned in drop boxes instead of in person at the clerk’s office,” The Federalist said.

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Some 500 drop boxes were set up across the state and were used to collect tens of thousands of absentee ballots in the 2020 general election.

Notably, the group did not allege vote fraud, merely that the ballot drop boxes violated existing Wisconsin law.

“The guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission on absentee ballot drop boxes was unlawful. There are just two legal methods to cast an absentee ballot in Wisconsin: through the mail or in-person at a clerk’s office,” said WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg.

“And voters must return their own ballots. We are pleased the court made this clear, providing Wisconsin voters with certainty for forthcoming elections.”

Bohren said a finalized injunction was forthcoming “ordering the state Elections Commission to withdraw long-standing advice to municipal clerks around the state that says they can use absentee ballot drop boxes,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Legal observers say they expect the ruling to be appealed.