A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the controversial absentee ballot drop boxes widely used in the 2020 election are not allowed under state law; a decision that could dramatically impact voting in the swing state’s midterm elections — not to mention the 2024 presidential election — if the judge’s ruling stands.
As reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren, after hearing three hours of arguments, determined state law allows absentee ballots to be returned in person or by mail — but not in a ballot drop box.
Bohren then ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) to retract its instructions to election officials on how to use drop boxes, declaring that the WEC had overstepped its authority in issuing the guidance in the first place. It was a “major policy decision that alters how our absentee ballot process operates,” Bohren said, that was significant enough that it should have required approval by the Wisconsin State Assembly.
“It’s all good and nice,” the judge explained, “but there’s no authority to do it.”
So, what does the judge’s ruling change?
Bohren’s ruling barring the use of drop boxes — if it survives an almost-certain appeal — will affect how ballots can be returned in next month’s low-turnout primary for the spring elections. It will have more far-reaching consequences in the fall, when far more people vote, noted the Journal Sentinel.
Importantly, the ruling prohibits voters from having someone else return their absentee ballots for them. (Again, Democrats hardest hit), which means political groups can’t pick up ballots for “voters” (wink-wink) and also prevent voters from giving their ballots to their spouses and neighbors to return for them.
(Why do I think the Democrats will somehow turn this into “systemic racism”?)
The decision could also prevent (Democrat) officials from holding events like “Democracy in the Park,” which Madison staged in 2020 to allow voters to return absentee ballots to poll workers who were stationed in parks.
In late 2020, according to the Journal Sentinel, a Racine County sheriff said his investigators had secured evidence of voter fraud occurring at a local nursing home. The sheriff, Christopher Schmaling, accused the Wisconsin Elections Commission of allowing — and even encouraging — nursing home staffers to fill out ballots on behalf of residents, adding that the state election statute “was in fact not just broken, but shattered.”
Incidentally isn’t it “curious” how Democrats run around like Chicken Little, histrionically wailing about “Voter suppression! Voter suppression!”, when time and time again, voter fraud — and Democrat-forced changes to election laws that make cheating easier — invariably land at the feet of the Democrats themselves vs. the Republicans? Rhetorical question, of course.
Assuming the judge’s ruling remains in place, it’s far from a panacea for all the problems wrought by relaxed absentee ballot laws. As noted by the Journal Sentinel, many of the drop boxes used in Wisconsin are tamper-proof, under 24-hour camera surveillance, and in fire stations, libraries, or other government offices.
While those boxes can no longer be used, voters will still be able to drop ballots into less secure postal boxes on street corners around the state. Also, it’s unclear how Judge Bohren’s ruling would be enforced. How will it be determined who put what ballot(s) in a mailbox? Questions abound.
The bottom line: The judge’s ruling was not only an important step in the right direction; it was also one more highly-publicized instance of Democrat overreach being nipped in the bud. That “nipping” must continue. Bigly.