WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wisconsin (LifeSiteNews) – The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) violated state law when it blessed the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in the 2020 elections, highlighting one of the many issues that plagued the presidential race and potentially impacting how future elections will turn out in the Dairy State.
Last summer, the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit against WEC over the issue, arguing that Wisconsin law only allows absentee ballots to be “mailed by the elector, or delivered in person, to the municipal clerk issuing the ballot or ballots.” Yet WEC issued memos to local election administrators advising them that unstaffed and unsupervised drop boxes could be used to collect absentee ballots instead.
NPR reported that on Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren concluded that “in looking at the statutes, there is no specific authorization for drop boxes,” and that WEC’s guidance constituted “a major policy decision that alter[s] how our absentee ballot process operates,” and therefore could not have been validly instituted without legislative approval.
Bohren ordered WEC to rescind the guidance by January 27, effectively ending the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin unless his decision is reversed by a higher court.
“Staff and WEC commissioners plan to review the court’s order and consult with legal counsel in the coming days,” WEC spokesperson Riley Vetterkind told NPR.
“The guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission on absentee ballot drop boxes was unlawful,” said WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg. “There are just two legal methods to cast an absentee ballot in Wisconsin: through the mail or in-person at a clerk’s office. And voters must return their own ballots. We are pleased the court made this clear, providing Wisconsin voters with certainty for forthcoming elections.”
WILL says the comprehensive review it released last month of 2020 election irregularities “found that the widespread adoption of absentee ballot drop boxes, not provided for under Wisconsin law, was correlated with an increase of about 20,000 votes for Joe Biden, while having no significant effect on the vote for [former President Donald] Trump.”
Trump lost Wisconsin by 20,682 votes.
Last October, another report by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau (WLAB) found systemic issues with the reliability of the final results enabled by WEC, casting doubt on the validity of even more of the state’s votes.
Bohren’s ruling comes much too late to undo Biden’s victory but is certain to be cited in 2022 and 2024 as an argument for abandoning the expansion of mail voting and other rule relaxations adopted in 2020 by several states, ostensibly in the name of COVID-19 safety.