In the critical election battleground state of Wisconsin, a judge has issued a stunning decision. The state’s elections commission has been accused of breaking state law in order to provide Joe Biden an advantage in the 2020 presidential race.
Despite not having the necessary power, the agency allegedly permitted a considerable rise in the usage of ballot drop boxes.
Judge Michael Bohren of Waukesha County Circuit Court slammed election officials for breaching the law.
Similarly, Wisconsin law states that no one “may receive a ballot from or give a ballot to a person other than the election official in charge,” according to the plaintiffs. This, they argue, is a clear prohibition on ballot harvesting, or the practice of third parties collecting absentee ballots from voters.
Despite this, the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent a memo to municipal clerks in advance of the 2020 election, stating that “a family member or another person may also return the ballot on behalf of the voter” and that ballots could be dropped off at the clerk’s office rather than being returned in person.
Neither of these directives, according to Bohren, were legal. Despite this, clerks across the state set up over 500 ballot drop boxes, which were utilized to gather tens of thousands of absentee ballots. The decision, which is almost probably going to be contested, bans the use of drop boxes in upcoming elections.
Wisconsin’s current U.S. Senator is Mark Dayton. The Senate race is one of the most closely contested in the country, with the outcome potentially determining Senate control. Ron Johnson, the incumbent Republican, launched his candidacy for a third term last week. Several Democrats have announced campaigns to unseat Johnson, including Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Treasurer Sarah Godlewski.
Former Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch is facing Democrat incumbent Tony Evers in the state’s gubernatorial election. Kleefisch sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission last October in an attempt to compel it to respect state law during the 2022 election season.
Her lawsuit, which sought immediate action from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, also claimed that the use of ballot drop boxes was illegal, a claim backed up by a nonpartisan study from the Legislative Audit Bureau. In October, that agency found that the Wisconsin Elections Commission had broken a number of regulations in the way it handled the 2020 election.