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Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstates absentee ballot drop boxes


Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstates absentee ballot drop boxes

City of Milwaukee employees, Steven Coleman, left, and Larry Ponder remove ballots from a ballot drop box on the sidewalk outside the Washington Park Library on in Milwaukee October 3, 2020. Voters will now have to put their own ballots in the mail.

MADISON – Wisconsin’s liberal-controlled Supreme Court on Friday restored the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in the swing state ahead of the upcoming elections — a reversal of a past decision from the court that could impact voter participation.

The 4-3 decision was a win for Democrats who argued the longstanding practice of allowing voters to file ballots into the locked, unmanned boxes made voting more accessible. That process, however, was highly criticized in 2020 by former President Donald Trump and Republicans who claimed without evidence that the boxes and absentee voting were rife with fraud.

“Our decision today does not force or require that any municipal clerks use drop boxes. It merely acknowledges what (state law) has always meant: that clerks may lawfully utilize secure drop boxes in an exercise of theirstatutorily-conferred discretion,” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote in the majority opinion.

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