By Ethan Rice
On July 20, the Elias Law Group sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission alleging that a 2022 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision prohibiting the use of drop boxes in the state violates voters’ rights. The Elias Law Group describes itself as a “mission-driven firm committed to helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change.”
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Priorities USA, the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, and a Dane County resident, said that, “By restricting Wisconsin voters’ options for returning their absentee ballots and having those ballots properly counted, the Drop Box Prohibition severely burdens the right to vote. Without the opportunity to drop off their absentee ballots at drop boxes, voters must instead rely on the U.S. Postal Service – and its unsecured mailboxes to deliver their absentee ballot and simply hope that the ballot arrives by election day.”
Some Republicans have said drop boxes could result in fraud, with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R) saying the 2022 decision prohibiting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes was “a big step in the right direction.” This reflects a broader ideological divide on voting methods and the balance between ensuring ballot security and safeguarding voter access.
With Janet Protasiewicz defeating Daniel Kelly for a seat on the state supreme court, the ideological balance of the body has changed from a 4-3 conservative majority to a 4-3 liberal majority. The election determined who would succeed retiring conservative Justice Patience Roggensack, whose term expires this July.
The lawsuit filed by the Elias Law Group against the Wisconsin Elections Commission raises significant implications for voters’ rights and access to the electoral process. The challenge to the 2022 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision prohibiting the use of drop boxes highlights the ongoing debate surrounding voting methods and their impact on the democratic process.
Furthermore, the recent shift in the ideological balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court from a conservative to a liberal majority has added further significance to the debate. Decisions made by the court can have a profound impact on voting rights and election laws in the state.
In conclusion, this legal challenge and the change in the ideological balance of the Wisconsin Supreme Court have far-reaching implications for voting rights and electoral practices in the state. The outcome of the lawsuit could shape the future of drop box usage and absentee ballot procedures, influencing voter access and participation. As the legal battle unfolds, it will be crucial to strike a balance between ensuring election integrity and safeguarding the fundamental right of citizens to cast their ballots and participate in the democratic process.
Produced in association with Ballotpedia
Edited by Suparba Sil