A conservative nonprofit law firm filed a lawsuit that challenges Wisconsin’s law that allows ballot drop boxes, coming just days after the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear a similar suit.
In a suit filed (pdf) Monday in a county circuit court on behalf of two voters in Waukesha County, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty argued that the court should make a declaratory judgment that the only legitimate means to vote in the state is via the U.S. mail or by handing the ballot in-person to a municipal clerk. The firm further argued that state law says that these are only the two options, not ballot drop boxes, and their usage during elections “raises significant concerns.”
Ballot drop boxes, however, were widely used in Wisconsin—which narrowly certified a victory for President Joe Biden—during the Nov. 3 election, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty noted.
That’s because, according to the suit, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) sent memos to elections clerks in March and August of 2020 that encouraged the use of drop boxes. The memos further said that absentee ballots do not need to be mailed by the voter or delivered in-person to the clerk—but they can instead be placed in drop boxes.
But the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty said the WEC memos flout Wisconsin’s election rules, noting that state law says “voting by absentee ballot is a privilege exercised wholly outside the traditional safeguards of the polling place,” according to a press release from the firm. The law additionally says, “The envelope [containing the ballot] shall be mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.”
Several days ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit regarding drop boxes, tossing a case by a GOP donor named Jere Fabick who alleged the WEC triggered “election irregularities” by sending out the guidance documents about drop boxes last year. That lawsuit was among many that stemmed from the November 2020 election after a series of challenges from former President Donald Trump’s team and third-party lawyers.