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Democrats Celebrate Victory With Wisconsin Supreme Court's Ballot Box Ruling

 July 6, 2024

The Wisconsin Supreme Court delivered a significant win for Democrats on Friday by issuing a ruling allowing ballot drop boxes to be placed in multiple locations across the state.

The state high court's decision overturns a 2022 ruling that limited ballot drop boxes to election offices only, as the Washington Examiner reports.

The panel, in a close 4-3 decision, ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by Priorities USA. This liberal group argued that restrictions on ballot boxes constituted unnecessary barriers to voting. The ruling changes the previous stance from 2022 when a conservative majority restricted ballot boxes.

Historical Restriction and Its Impact

In 2022, conservatives on the bench decreed that state laws only allowed ballot boxes at election offices. They also insisted that absentee ballots could only be returned in person by the voter. This move, they claimed, was to ensure the integrity of the electoral process, preventing any alleged misuse of absentee votes.

The discussion over ballot drop boxes became a prominent issue during and after the 2020 presidential election. Allegations from former President Donald Trump stated that the policy regarding these boxes had led to cheating. Trump asserted that 140,000 mail-in ballots for Biden were "found" between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. on election night, contributing to his loss in the state.

Surge in Absentee Votes

An explanation for the surge in votes for Biden was Milwaukee County’s report of 170,000 absentee ballots, predominantly in favor of the Democratic candidate.

This sudden increase led to further scrutiny and questions regarding the ballot drop box policies in place at the time.

Change in Court Composition

The most recent ruling was enabled by a change in the court's composition.

A retiring conservative justice was replaced by a liberal justice, shifting the balance of the court and leading to the reversal of the 2022 decision. This change prompted concerns and objections from conservatives.

Political Reactions and Concerns

Democrats argue that this new ruling expands voters' constitutional rights by making it easier to vote. On the other hand, Republicans remain wary. Wisconsin GOP Chairman Brian Schimming voiced discontent, stating, “This latest attempt by leftist justices to placate their far-left backers will not go unanswered by voters.”

These sentiments reflect a broader concern within the GOP about the implications of unstaffed ballot drop boxes. They believe this could weaken public trust in the electoral process and be perceived as undermining the separation of powers.

Broader Significance of the Ruling

The ruling underscores a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate over voting accessibility and election integrity in Wisconsin. Advocates for ballot drop boxes see them as an essential tool for ensuring all voters can participate in elections, especially those who find it difficult to vote in person.

Critics, however, worry about potential vulnerabilities that may arise from less oversight at these drop box locations. The issue of ballot drop boxes thus remains a contentious topic with far-reaching implications for future elections in the state.

Historical Context and Future Ramifications

The allegations from the 2020 election continue to influence the current political climate. Claims that unstaffed ballot boxes could lead to electoral fraud remain a central point of contention for conservatives. The current ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects these claims, focusing instead on removing perceived barriers to voting.

This ruling may also encourage similar legal challenges in other states, paving the way for a broader national debate on voting laws and practices. As changes in court compositions and political dynamics evolve, the measures taken by Wisconsin's Supreme Court will likely serve as a precedent in future voting rights discussions.


The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling marks a significant change in the state’s approach to ballot drop boxes, restoring their use in multiple locations as opposed to limiting them to election offices.

The decision, driven by a shift in the court's composition, aims to expand voter access, despite ongoing concerns from the GOP about election security and integrity. This development is expected to have a lasting impact on future electoral processes both within Wisconsin and potentially nationwide.

The debate over this ruling highlights the divergent views on how to balance the ease of voting with ensuring secure and trustworthy elections. As these discussions continue, the implications of the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of American democracy.