Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that absentee ballot drop boxes may be placed only in election offices and that no one other than the voter can return a ballot in person.
It was the biggest development yet in addressing what Donald Trump and millions of others have called the “Big Steal” of the 2020 election.
Trump touted the historic ruling in Alaska where he stumped for Sarah Palin, who is running for a U.S. House seat, and Kelly Tshibaka, who is challenging RINO Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Republicans have argued that the practice known as ballot harvesting is ripe with fraud – especially with the use of unstaffed drop boxes erected by Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.
The decision sets absentee-ballot rules for the Aug. 9 primary and the fall election; Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers are seeking reelection in key races.
Johnson and other Republicans hailed it as a win for voter integrity.
“This decision is a big step in the right direction,” Johnson said.
Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature have also tried to enact laws limiting the use of absentee ballots, but Evers has vetoed them.
The court’s 4-3 ruling also has critical implications for the 2024 presidential race, in which Wisconsin will again be among a handful of battleground states. But Trump is trying to do more – hoping to win a series of rulings in key states that invalidates the 2020 election and saves the nation from two more years of Joe Biden.
Absentee voting exploded during the “plandemic” in 2020, with more than 40% of all voters casting mail ballots, a record high. At least 500 drop boxes were set up in more than 430 communities for the election that year, including more than a dozen each in Madison and Milwaukee — Wisconsin’s two most heavily Democratic cities.
The movie “2000 Mules” exposed this charade that it said had deprived Trump of victory.
Trump called on Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Saturday to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the swing state after Friday’s rulng.
“It’s now up to Robin Vos to do what everybody knows must be done. We need FAIR and HONEST Elections in our Country,” Trump wrote Saturday. “Speaker Robin Vos has a decision to make! Does Wisconsin RECLAIM the Electors, turn over the Election to the actual winner (by a lot!), or sit back and do nothing as our Country continues to go to HELL?”
Vos praised the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday, but did not mention the possibility of overturning the 2020 election.
“Today’s decision demonstrates that the rule of law prevails and the illegal drop boxes are finally going to stop,” he wrote. “This is a giant step forward in our efforts to ensure election integrity. Our next step has to be electing a new governor who will sign additional election reforms. The legislature has long maintained that the law never allowed these illegal drop boxes, and we’re happy to be vindicated by today’s decision.”
The law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sued in 2021. The state Supreme Court in February barred the use of drop boxes outside election clerk offices in the April election for local offices, such as mayor, city council and school board seats.
State law is silent on drop boxes. The court said the absence of a prohibition in state law does not mean that drop boxes are legal.
“Nothing in the statutory language detailing the procedures by which absentee ballots may be cast mentions drop boxes or anything like them,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote for the majority.
The court said absentee ballots can be returned only to the clerk’s office or a designated alternative site but that site cannot be an unstaffed drop box. The bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission had told local election officials the boxes can be placed at multiple locations and that ballots can be returned by people other than the voter, but put that on hold pending the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Rick Esenberg, president of Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said the ruling “provides substantial clarity on the legal status of absentee ballot drop boxes and ballot harvesting.” He said it also makes clear that state law, not guidance from the Elections Commission, is the final word on how elections are run.
Concerns about the safety of drop boxes expressed by the majority “is downright dangerous to our democracy” Justice Ann Walsh Bradley wrote in dissent.
“But concerns about drop boxes alone don’t fuel the fires questioning election integrity,” she wrote. “Rather, the kindling is primarily provided by voter suppression efforts and the constant drumbeat of unsubstantiated rhetoric in opinions like this one, not actual voter fraud.”
Rebecca Bradley was joined in the majority by Justices Patience Roggensack, Brian Hagedorn and Chief Justice Annette Ziegler. In addition to Ann Walsh Bradley, Justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky dissented.
The decision will bolster Republican efforts to tighten election laws in Wisconsin, as conservative lawmakers have sought to do across the nation. The restrictions could have an impact on the midterm elections in the state in November.
Evers, naturally, condemned the ruling in his own statement.
“Today’s decision is another in a long line of Wisconsin Republicans’ success to make it harder for Wisconsinites to exercise their right to vote, to undermine our free, fair, and secure elections, and to threaten our democracy,” he wrote.
Attorney Christina Bobb, who has supported Trump’s legal challenge to thwart the election results, told Right Side Broadcasting Network earlier this week that if Republicans retake majorities in Congress, they could reinstate Trump as president if three Biden-won states withdraw their electors.
Trump ally Mike Lindell, the boss of MyPillow.com, said the ruling should lead to decertification, while speaking to RSBN on Saturday.
“Pennsylvania, Arizona and Wisconsin should be decertified immediately. There shouldn’t even be a doubt,” he said.
Let us hope for the best!
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