Daily Bread for 5.14.24: Absentee Drop Boxes, Reconsidered

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 60. Sunrise is 5:31 and sunset 8:10 for 14h 39m 29s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 40.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1953, approximately 7,100 brewery workers in Milwaukee perform a walkout, marking the start of the 1953 Milwaukee brewery strike.

Henry Redman reports that the Wisconsin Supreme Court reconsiders legality of absentee drop boxes:

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments in a case that could once again allow the use of drop boxes for the return of absentee ballots. 

Drop boxes were prohibited by the Court in 2022 when the body’s then-conservative majority decided in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission that state law only allowed for absentee ballots to be brought directly to municipal clerks, not to unmanned drop boxes.

Ballot drop boxes had been used in Wisconsin for decades, largely with slots or boxes at municipal buildings, however in 2020 they surged in popularity as voters searched for ways to safely vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. A Waukesha County voter sued the elections commission, arguing that it had given unlawful guidance to clerks on the permissibility of the boxes. 

Following the 2020 election, conservatives turned on the use of the boxes, arguing they were vulnerable to fraud and abuse. The boxes had been used all across the state, in both rural and urban areas, but conservatives argued they opened the state’s elections up to the possibility of “ballot harvesting.”

In the Teigen case, the Court found that because state law didn’t explicitly permit drop boxes, they’re not allowed. The decision prompted former President Donald Trump to again claim that he had won Wisconsin in 2020, stating that all ballots that had been dropped into the boxes were illegal and shouldn’t have been counted. 

Earlier this year, the national Democratic group Priorities USA brought a lawsuit challenging the Teigen decision, asking the now-liberal controlled Court to overturn its previous decision. Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul joined the case, arguing for the use of drop boxes, while the Republican-controlled Legislature joined to argue drop boxes should remain outlawed. 

The case now before the court is Priorities USA v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, No. 2024AP000164, L.C.#2023CV1900. Oral argument was yesterday at 9:45 AM. The question before the court now:

Whether to overrule the Court’s holding in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 2022 WI 64, 403 Wis. 2d 607, 976 N.W.2d 519, that Wis. Stat. § 6.87 precludes the use of secure drop boxes for the return of absentee ballots to municipal clerks…

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s prior ruling on ballot drop boxes was in Teigen v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, 2022 WI 64, 403 Wis. 2d 607, 976 N.W.2d 519.

Indonesia’s Mount Ibu spews thick ash cloud:

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