The liberal justices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court want to overturn the ballot drop box ban

Engadget

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Liberal justices who control the Wisconsin Supreme Court showed signs Monday of being willing to overturn a ruling that all but eliminated the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in the swing state.
Conservative justices controlled the court then, but the court flipped to 4-3 liberal control last year, setting the stage to possibly overturn the ruling.
“What if we just got it wrong?” liberal Justice Jill Karofsky said of the earlier absentee ballot ruling during arguments.
Tseytlin said there was no evidence of negative consequences since the 2022 ruling.
But conservative justices questioned the need to revisit their earlier ruling that determined the law does not allow for drop boxes.
Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which administers elections, support allowing drop boxes.
They argue absentee ballot drop boxes have been used for decades without incident as a secure way for voters to return their ballots.
Drop boxes were used in 39 other states during the 2022 election, according to the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project.

NEGATIVE

Madison, Wisconsin. (AP) — The liberal justices who preside over the Wisconsin Supreme Court appeared inclined to reverse a decision made on Monday that virtually outlawed the use of drop boxes for absentee voting in the swing state.

Whether the court should reverse its July 2022 decision, which stated that absentee drop boxes could only be installed in election clerk offices per state law, is the matter at hand. When the court switched to a 4-3 liberal majority last year, the conservative justices on the bench began to lose their majority, potentially leading to an appeal of the decision.

During arguments, liberal Justice Jill Karofsky questioned the previous decision regarding absentee voting, asking, “What if we just got it wrong?”. “What happens if we make a mistake? Should we just keep making the same mistakes going forward?”.

Three months prior to August, the court heard arguments. six months before the November presidential election, there are thirteen primary elections. A reversal might have an impact on Wisconsin’s predicted to be another extremely close presidential contest.

Republican supporters of the earlier decision, through their attorneys, contended on Monday that neither the law nor the facts have changed sufficiently to justify overturning the less than two-year-old ruling.

Misha Tseytlin, an attorney representing the Republican-controlled Legislature, stated that if the court overturns the decision, it will review the matter once more when majority control of the court changes.

Nevertheless, Karofsky questioned the court’s course of action if it found that the previous ruling was “egregiously wrong from the start, that its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and that the decision has had damaging consequences.”. “.

“What are we to do, as I see this as check, check, check here?” she posed to Tseytlin.

Karofksy cited passages from the conservative-run U.S. S. The 2022 ruling of the Supreme Court elucidating the rationale behind the overturning of the 1973 Roe decision. v. Abortion became legal after the Wade decision.

According to Tseytlin, there is no proof that the 2022 decision has had any unfavorable effects.

Democrats contend that the Wisconsin Supreme Court incorrectly interpreted the law in its 2022 decision, holding that absentee ballots could only be returned to a clerk in their office and not to a drop box under their control that is situated elsewhere.

David Fox, an advocate for the organizations bringing the challenge, claimed that the existing law is unworkable because it isn’t clear where ballots can be returned.

However, conservative justices questioned whether they really needed to go back and review their previous decision that said drop boxes are not permitted by law.

The conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley remarked, “You are asking this court to be a super Legislature” and grant “free rein to municipal clerks to conduct elections however they see fit.”.

The Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Voters and the liberal voter mobilization organization Priorities USA filed the lawsuit. Democratic Gov. Allowing drop boxes is supported by Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which oversees election administration.

A brief in favor of overturning the decision was filed by election officials from four counties, including the two largest and most Democratic in the state. They contend that drop boxes for absentee voting have been a safe and secure method for voters to return their ballots for decades.

Democratic attorneys pointed out in their arguments that more than 1,600 absentee ballots arrived at clerks’ offices after Election Day in 2022, when drop boxes were not in use, and were therefore not counted. Only 689 ballots were received after the election in 2020, despite the fact that drop boxes were used and almost three times as many people cast absentee ballots.

The Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project states that drop boxes were utilized in 39 additional states during the 2022 election.

During the pandemic in 2020, absentee voting reached a record high, with over 40% of Wisconsin voters casting mail ballots. The state’s two most Democratic cities, Madison and Milwaukee, each had more than twelve drop boxes set up for the election, out of the more than 500 drop boxes that were placed in more than 430 areas.

Four years after Trump narrowly won the state by a similar margin, President Joe Biden defeated Trump in Wisconsin by less than 21,000 votes in 2020.

scroll to top