Judge rules absentee ballot drop boxes illegal in Wisconsin, regulators must retract guidance

Ballot Box by Bryan Alexander is licensed under CC BY 2.0
A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the absentee ballot drop boxes widely deployed during the 2020 election are not allowed under state law, a decision that could dramatically impact voting ahead of the swing state's midterm elections.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren ordered on Thursday the Wisconsin Elections Commission to retract its instructions to election officials on how to use drop boxes. Bohren declared that the WEC had overstepped its authority in issuing the guidance in the first place.

Bohren called the WEC's guidance a "major policy decision that alter[s] how our absentee ballot process operates," that was significant enough that it should have required approval by the Legislature.

The guidance was first issued in March 2020 and again in August 2020 leading up to the November presidential election. A higher-than-usual number of residents were looking to use absentee voting at the time as the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the country.
Ballot Box by Bryan Alexander is licensed under CC BY 2.0