A nonprofit conservative law firm is seeking to block the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin.
The story: The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit in Waukesha County Circuit Court on behalf of two voters in the county, Richard Teigen of Hartland and Richard Thom of Menomonee Falls, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
The lawsuit asks Judge Michael Bohren to declare that the only way that voters in the state can cast absentee ballots is by mail or in-person delivery to a municipal clerk. The firm argues that these are the only two options permitted under state law.
“A drop-box is not the ‘municipal clerk.’ It is an unsupervised, inanimate object,” the lawsuit reads. “Allowing ballots to be cast by placing them into an unsupervised, inanimate object invites the fraud and abuse that the Legislature was attempting to prevent by requiring strict compliance with the requirement that absentee ballots could only be cast by the two methods allowed.”
They claim that the usage of ballot drop boxes “raises significant concerns.”
What they’re saying: “Wisconsin voters deserve certainty that elections are conducted fairly and in accordance with state law. But the Wisconsin Elections Commission is giving advice to clerks that is contrary to the law, putting the ballots of countless voters at risk,” the firm’s president and general counsel Rick Esenberg said in a statement, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
How we got here: Community ballot collecting initiatives and absentee ballot boxes were widely used during last year’s election.
The Election Commission in Wisconsin has, so far, allowed voters to return absentee ballots on behalf of others and has given clerks the green light to set up drop boxes. Meanwhile, Democrats held so-called “Democracy in the Park” events where people could drop off their ballots to poll workers there.
Worth noting: The legality of drop boxes has been unsuccessfully challenged in court before. The Supreme Court in Wisconsin rejected such a case as recently as last week.
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